Some mobile games play psychological tricks with you to get you to keep playing. Others hook you the much better way, simply by being great. So it is with the new iOS port of the stellar Fidel: Dungeon Rescue, which is billed as “the roguelike where you can rewind.”
My colleague Heather highlighted the game when it was released on PC last year. I’ve been waiting for a more portable option and am always ready for a good mobile game that’ll let me pay once (just $3) in order to have fun.
The gist is that you need to move a dog from one staircase in a room to the other, keeping him alive as you do. Rooms are laid out in grids and filled with enemies and traps, all operating under their own, often-hidden rulesets. Each move is a chance to proceed toward the stairs or toward death. The dog can’t cross his own path, but you can undo a step without penalty. Die too many times as you try and a ghost will come after you, so you can’t play too recklessly.
Let’s take a tour of a run I just made through the game on my phone this morning.
I started out with this:
My first moves were bad. Each spider-kill cost me a heart and I was almost immediately dead.
I could have moved down the left side, grabbed the health and killed the red spider, but I wanted to instead exploit a rule I’d discovered: after three straight kills, red spiders flip over and die without costing you a heart. I’d also figured out that killing tiny spiders doesn’t cost you hearts, either.
So I went up, stomped three kills and got the red spider to flip:
I took out the red spider and moved down the room:
You may notice that the staircase had chains on it and a number. I wouldn’t be able to go through this staircase without gaining the requisite amount of points for my kills. Tougher enemies, of course, net you more points.
I zipped through the rest of the floor and moved on. What to do here?
I initially didn’t understand what to do with the Nosferatu-looking enemies. I noticed that they sometimes seemed to fall asleep, but I wasn’t sure what was triggering that.
I poked around and then...a-ha!
Lose all your health and they lose their aggression. Makes sense, given that they’re vampires. They also give you five XP for a kill when they’re like this, with no health penalty. A good deal.
As you gain points, your dog levels up, gaining more health hearts. As you pick up coins, you gain items, including bombs and health potions. They’re handy.
The next room had plants I could kill. The attack pattern on them is pretty obvious.
Then I had a room with these spear guys who you can stealth kill if you’re crafty:
Here’s a room with a robot dog that mirrored my actions:
Here’s one with gnomes that I thought I was supposed to corner into spike traps:
And here’s the room that finally killed me no matter how many times I tried:
The game is great. It’s the kind of thing I feel good about playing on my phone. Highly recommended.