I’m laying down to recover health by bathing my photosynthetic skin in the sun when my evil twin leaps from a portal and starts firing a laser pistol at me. I’m about to conjure a couple of fireballs before my narcolepsy kicks in at the worst time. Just another day in Caves of Qud. It’s this week’s Indie Pick.

Caves of Qud is one of the best roguelikes in years, packed with evocative prose and featuring a captivating world of arcane secrets to explore. Roguelikes are often hard to parse. They have a ton of rules and interactions to keep track of. That level of intricacy can make for memorable moments but also turns a lot of people away from exciting exploration and dungeon delving.

The thing I love most about Caves of Qud is how accessible it is. You’ll die a lot but you also have a lot of tools to work with that make the journey exciting. Every playthrough is a new opportunity to grow and learn more.

This is best expressed in the game’s outstanding character creator. Players can select from a host of traits and abilities. They take the form of either physical or mental mutations. If you’ve ever wanted to play as a four-armed turtle person with poison gas gland and the ability to walk through walls, look no further. Eager to play as a psychic gunslinger who can casually rend spacetime? This game has you covered. You can even pick negative traits like spontaneous combustion if you’re looking to add some more risk to the adventure.

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Caves of Qud reminds me of Morrowind in a lot of ways. The world is both alien and familiar. It captures the feeling of RPG adventure before expanding to wild heights. Small quests to recover the simplest trinkets can build into interdimensional battle with kobolds. Doors have a random chance of being sentient. Every time you think you know what’s up, there’s a new surprise.

If I’m ever looking to pass some time on a plane or am not sure what game I might want to play to relax, Caves of Qud is always on the short list of games that I can return to while always enjoying myself. It’s nice to know that a fun and mystical adventure is only a few clicks away.


Each week, I show off a new, affordable indie game using the tag “Heather’s Indie Pick.”

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If you’ve found a cool game or made something you’re proud of, reach out to me at heather.alexandra@kotaku.com or on Twitter @transgamerthink.