7DRL 2011 Reviews - Mad Mage

Mad Mage is a fun concept. I was curious to try it out after reading the initially summary. Here’s the gist: you (the wizard) are slowly (or rather quickly in some cases) going mad. This means the reverse of the standard roguelike identification system. All of your items (scrolls, potions) are identified to begin with, but become unidentified over time.

The great thing about this is that it sort of becomes a meta-game outside of the game. You start thinking to yourself: did I put that scroll of murder in my sash or in my robe. Was it slot a or slot b? Oh well, I’ll just toss this random potion and see what happens!

It’s a mad world

Mad World has a nice old-school look to it. I personally like my roguelikes to look like roguelikes. I didn’t have any problems running the game on Windows XP. It also does a nice job of mixing up the scenery, which is strangely not done very often in roguelikes. Your mad mage travels through grassy plains, caves, dungeons, deserts, and swamps on his quest to find the… something? In particularly mad fashion, I never was able to end the game by finding the ossuary.

Scroll of Mass Death. Why don’t more games have that?
Deserts look like deserts

The various potion/scroll effects are great. The randomized enemy names are very charming. As is the inventory system. When I first looked at it I was annoyed: WTF… I have to put stuff into 9 different slots?? After playing the game for a while I figured out why. It’s a great way to organize your items and help you remember things. Like I said, it’s charming too. It’s fun to think about a wizard wandering around with random scrolls in his hat and potions in his boots.

I put on my wizard hat and robe. And boots.

The charm comes out in the random messages your wizard says as well: now where did I put that…? What did I have for breakfast this morning? Excellent stuff.

I’ve seen other reviews of the game talking about the map generation. Personally, I found it to be a little annoying. I ran into way too many dead ends. But hey… maybe it is just part of going mad right? The levels are also huge; I never really got that feeling of “everything is explored” that you do in other roguelikes. I always felt like I was missing something, but really there was nothing leading me in any particular direction, so it was a little frustrating to me, personally. Now, I am the kind of guy who has a label on his label maker so it could just be me. 🙂

Mad Mage has a lot of charm and I am hoping to have time to go back and beat it once I’ve played the rest of the games. Great job!

You can find a list of all 7DR L2011 finishers on roguebasin or temple of the roguelike.