It’s pretty difficult not to notice how pervasive the “everything is a run” school of roguelike design is right now and I want to be clear, I’m not complaining about that. Each to their own and whatever. Go for your life etc…
I’ve picked up and tried quite a few of the more arcadey ones when time and cash allows, stuff like Dead Cells and more recently the this needs some work of Atomicrops. If I’m looking for arcadey stuff on a console then right now, it’s the in vogue design fad and there’s not many other options.
Just, I’m kinda knackered, right? The amount of brain power I have for games right now could politely be described as “not a lot” even though I’m punting in more hours than usual. Far from finding these games pick up and play, it’s the other one. I’m finding them absolutely exhausting.
I can’t work out precisely why either. It’s perhaps the compulsion loops, which likely isn’t the fault of one singular game but more all of them doing this stuff, each asking me to give them my time more and more, to dedicate myself to them. Perhaps it’s an accumulation of that?
It’s definitely something to do with how, unlike a traditional arcade game, I’m often not thinking just in terms of what’s in front of me now, I’m often having to think of the consequences of the previous round and what the consequences of the this round will be on the next one.
And then, there’s the randomness. Obviously something I’m not a stranger to but I find games where I can predict what’s next easier on myself. Maybe it’s the autism/routine thing but everything being juggled up every time makes the roguelike structure harder for me to deal with. It doesn’t give me a sense of freshness each turn, instead it’s like a reset switch in my brain, a little voice going “oh great, now I have to learn this all over again”.
It’s easier for me to contend with in something like Geometry Wars where I’m just thrown into an arena and I’m just dodging and shooting my way round. It’s another thing entirely when it’s loadouts, inventory twiddling, map structure, all of that takes its toll. Pick from three power ups! Argh, choice. All that, you know?
I find I’m okay with slower paced stuff. I’ve been enjoying Loot Rascals again – yep, it has a lot of this stuff I’m muttering about but the pace is mine to set, nothing is urgent – if I want to sod off and grab a drink, read a bit of something in-between moves, I can. That seems to make a huge and vital difference in how exhausted it makes me.
I don’t know if any of this is weird or not, it’s intensely me stuff. Just you know, it’s a thing for me and at a point where pick up, play, discard isn’t in vogue, maybe I’m not alone in finding it all so very exhausting.