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Cart #cotlk-0 | 2019-05-04 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Curse of the Lich King

The evil Lich King, Raq'zul, has cast a life draining spell on the world - in hopes to become immortal. Many heroes try to find him deep in his lair, but all have fallen to his army of monsters and devious traps. Now it is your turn!

Curse of the Lich King gives you tactical grid based combat in a roguelike dungeon crawling setting. A cast of monsters will try to stop you, all in their own way as you descend towards the Lich King's crypt. Loot everything you see to make sure you find food and weapons to help you on your journey. But beware, not everything is what it seems...

Are you ready to solve the tricky battles and master the Lich King's lair? Can you save the world? Good luck!

Use the arrow keys to move and navigate menus.
X opens your backpack and select items.
C closes the current window.

As it is not possible to skip turns, make sure you use the environment to get monsters near so you get the first strike! Spend a turn by hitting pots/shelves/doors or other interactive things, and monsters will move while you stand still.

There is a lot of stuff to discover, have fun!

Design/Art/Code: Johan Peitz (@johanpeitz)
Music/Sound: Chris Donnelly (@gruber_music)

Special thanks to the good people at my discord for testing the game!
Why not join? https://discord.gg/pF76upS

P#64171 2019-05-04 05:09 ( Edited 2019-05-04 05:12)


Gonna fire this one up on the CRT/Retropi and forget what year it is for a while.

Sidenote: I'm so bad at it. It's me, not you. Amazing work as always.

P#64173 2019-05-04 13:17

Stellar roguelike! Love the quality of play, the room items, the great graphics, lovely job on all sound magic by Gruber.

Amazed how much you can pack into a cart. Great job!

P#64177 2019-05-04 19:01

Very nicely done! The position-based strategy component works very well and gives interesting importance to the act of opening a door or searching a interactable or even eating food. Enemies being able to see you diagonally through doors is a fun touch, too. I also quite like the requirement of using cursed food to upgrade weapons, as it makes even risky items useful to carry. And of course, the visuals and audio are also quite nice and fit very well.

My result (after about 6ish attempts):

My one bit of constructive criticism would be to put a cap on the number of turns of dizziness you can get (or lower the current one if it exists). Eyeball spam seems like it can leave you wandering aimlessly for like 10+ turns if the RNG hits right. Dizziness might also be less annoying if you could force it to take a step (instead of waiting for the timer) by hitting a button.

Oh, and if you have the tokens/space, 2 feature requests:

  1. Being able to throw weapons as an action would be awesome and fit with the inventory management and timing mechanics (also would be very handy against ranged foes). Throw direction could just be the previous one you stepped in.
  2. Some type of floor tile that makes everything stunned for a turn when they step on it could be neat strategically.
P#64181 2019-05-05 06:14

this game is awesome, the quality is superb and the gameplay is so amazing I love this game and you really nailed it (hoping for a sci-fi sequel)

P#64250 2019-05-09 03:04

I really, really like this a lot. I also made a video for it lat night which I've shared below:


Looking forward to spending more time with this!

P#64263 2019-05-09 15:57

Thanks for the kind words all!

@Jusiv - congrats on completing it! And good feedback, capping confusion is a really good idea. Sometimes you just bounce around forever. Still want it to be annoying though. Gotta learn to hate it. :)
And I'm out of tokens for anything more - sorry! :D

@inphanta - thanks for spreading the work. It's a huge learning experience watching others play your games.

P#64540 2019-05-18 05:36

This is not real rough criticism. But is there any room to add an outside area to enter the dungeon?
I like the end, but kind of want to see the guy emerge out. Otherwise, this is incredibly fun and I lost most of last night to this game.

P#65150 2019-06-11 07:32

I actually had outdoor areas in my prototype level. It added a lot to the atmosphere. Sadly I couldn’t make them work to satisfaction when I made the level generator so I skipped them in favour for other features.

Glad you put the game to good use!

P#65154 2019-06-11 17:37

just dropping in to say i finally checked this out and am thoroughly impressed. Its one of the best light roguelikes i've ever had the pleasure of playing. (am not a hardcore roguelike player to be fair)It's incredible what you managed to squeeze in here.

I havent made it past floor 3 yet (damn spike pits get me every time) but Ive only played it four times so far. I'll be spending the rest of the evening with it for sure!

P#67335 2019-09-06 15:59

Thanks a lot Domu! A light (but challenging) experience was very much what I was going for. I did have a struggle getting everything I wanted into place, so good to hear it was worth it!

Good luck past level 3 and watch out for the eye! :)

P#67434 2019-09-09 16:12

I have played this game four times in a row, and all four I died on the second level to spikes. I am good! Great game BTW. Character animation is outstanding!

P#69060 2019-10-19 12:20

Great game. Beat it once I figured how to deal with spikes. Was a fun challenge. About the right length, it was beginning to feel a bit tedious, but then I beat it.
I love the feel and theme in this game. I like how it all fits together. Just moving around is satisfying in this game. Music is cool dungeon funk and the graphics really fit with the adventurer not being a over-used knight in armor, but just an explorer who starts out with a leather pack and a stick. Reminds me of Bram Stoker's Dracula on NES for some reason.

I remember this "turns matter" mechanic from demos and Lazy Devs Porklike game. The way it works here is that it turns combat and approaching monsters into a kind of mini-puzzle. It's fun as it is, but because the monsters are usually packed into a room the strategy is usually to back off to deal with them one by one. One thing I noticed though is one time a zombie attacked one of its pals when they were lined up and trying to get to me.
Probably pretty hard in a pico-8 roguelike to get the whole "systems interacting roguelike-thing" going.
I think the general game design problem here is that it's hard to make it non-grindy. What I did was that I always left everything untouched until I needed it in a fight. It's optimal, but grindy and boring. Maybe with a time limit it would be more interesting... Anyway, it's good enough for a small game like this.
It's funny though, imagining this brave explorer running to a bookcase to time his strikes against a rat.

Another small thing was that I'm not sure what the different weapon types and enchantments did. I guess blight causes lingering poison damage, leech heals the player and confusion confuses monsters when hit. But it didn't seem to work on all monsters. Never so basilisk weapon do anything except regular damage. So I ended up using a holy long sword of leech.

The eye thing was the most interesting of the monsters. One of the best surprises was when that thing zapped me through a line of monsters. Could have ended badly, haha.

There is of course only so much that can be packed into a pico cart and in many ways the game felt larger than that. Some of the later levels were expansive. Really got that lair feel. Lots of cool features like blessing weapons. 5/5, didn't just like, but admired. Something to play and then study.

P#69384 2019-10-28 00:51

Absolutely amazing! I'm in the process of creating a roguelike as well!

P#69723 2019-11-07 17:48

Finally beat it. Yes.

Okay, I discovered that I can compare the effect of different weapons and enchantments my looking at my attack stat, which is updated in real time. Good to know. But what I was surprised to discover that, in my limited testing, enchanted a weapon gave it a -1 to ATK. In a game where one hit can mean the difference between taking 3 points of troll damage to the face or not, why would I care that my Simitar now does a little bit of persistant damage as well? That hardly seems worth keeping a slot of my inventory filled with that cursed bread just in case. I'd say remove the -1 to ATK stat of enchanted weapons.

I was surprised to discover that potions and vials should always be drunk, even when cursed. At worst you're going to be frozen in place for a few turns, so do it when you're not being actively attacked. But even cursed vials sometimes have overall positive effects, just less positive than a uncursed or holy one. I'm glad I decided to try the experiment. Cursed food stuff always seems to be bad, and since I don't see the reason to enchant, there's no reason to keep it around once identified as cursed.

Amazing game. Made me very happy and obsessed for a weekend.

P#69849 2019-11-12 17:54

Eye monster confused me, I stumbled into two spike traps and got finished by skeleton this time around.

@joealarson: Leeching weapons heal on hit (doesn't work on all monsters though), which is worth the -1 ATK, IMO. And Holy weapons give + ATK. Seemed to me that enemies that die from blight don't give XP, so blight is bad.

P#70977 2019-12-13 09:19

Super cool and good game!I got super good luck once and got an item from a chest called a holy battleaxe of the basilisk,and it had all of that already on it,unfortunately I died the floor after I got it.(basilisk enchantment sometime stops enemies from moving for a turn)

P#71634 2020-01-01 17:59 ( Edited 2020-01-01 18:00)

Died to a poisonous apple XD lol good game you made here bro!

P#74250 2020-03-27 18:36

Awesome game! But one thing I'm curious about is why the player is unable to wait a turn like in say Nethack to allowonsters to progress. Without this is seems as if constantly in situations where I have to make the move to be in front of a mob and wind up taking damage. Perhaps the omission of this was a design choice and I'm just not getting it.

Still awesome cart, good work thanks for making this!

P#80193 2020-08-01 00:52

Nooooooo! My game crashed towards the end of level 6 ='(

IN UF LINE 134 (TAB 0)

Was having a blast until then! I'll probably come back later and try again! If it helps: I'm using Windows on Chrome and BBS decided to use PICO-8 0.2.1C DEV2 (not sure why - that could be the issue). I left fullscreen to look through comments to better understand enchanted weapons and when I clicked back in the audio glitched and the error popped up.

P#80214 2020-08-01 20:28

Hey, sorry for late replies. Super stoked that the game keeps getting praise. Thanks for playing!

Here’s some short answers…

@hwd2002 - Given how many people die on spikes I should probably made them more noticeable. Even the Lich King steps on them. Glad you like the animation, I spent quite some time trying to make the motions fluid.

@pobop - Thanks the the extensive feedback. The basilisk weapons have a chance to cause paralysis for a number of turns. In general the enchanted weapons didn’t really pan out the way I wanted. First they were to powerful, but when I nerfed them they became too random instead of an play style choice. The eye is pretty much the only chaos agent in the game - anything can happen. It’s my favourite. :D

@WamblingGnat844 - Thanks! Looking forward to trying out your game!

@joealarson - Thanks for the feedback. Tbh I kind of like the enchanted weapons being slightly worse, makes it more of a choice to use them in a clinch (at the price of taking up an inventory slot).

@PixzoLo33 - Thanks! Good find - can’t beat the feeling of a good random roll. :D

@ricencurie - Our, tough luck. Glad you enjoyed it nonetheless.

@84d93r - Glad you enjoyed it! The main reason for not being able to wait is to make the gameplay more tactical. Since the numbers (health, damage, etc) in the game are so small there is no room for lengthy battles. Having the player plan the approach and how to use the environments mitigates that and puts the emphasis on positioning instead of high stats.

@MaxBize - Whoops! :o No idea what’s going on there. Too long since I worked on it so unlikely I’ll go back and investigate…

P#80272 2020-08-02 19:41

@johanp that makes sense. I thought it was something like that. I'll have to replay it some more with that in mind and see if I can get further :)


P#80275 2020-08-02 19:49

So, I like to rate games usually on how much i really want to finish them and also how annoying imps are because i don't think it can be a good game experience unless the imps are unbearably irritating to deal with. Youve done well with both, I really am trying to finish this too, i wanna kick the lich king's ass!

I got to floor eight before i got done in by some trolls:/

P#80933 2020-08-18 21:57

i finally beat the lich king! this roguelike is awesome, my favorite and probably my favorite cart


P#82986 2020-10-16 01:26

There's certain aspects I don't care for,
Bad items,
Bashing through guys.
But I do like it and like the art style, love it when someone comments on a old game and then I play it because I've never seen it before, thanks @meatpopsicle!

P#82987 2020-10-16 01:54

I loved the game! The idea was amazing! My Inv was filled with holy steak and I had a holy spear for the Lich King. (I was overprepared)

P#83253 2020-10-23 17:56

FINALLY! I enjoyed this game so much. It's actually mildly addicting because you get so hooked on exploring and finding the Lich King.
So awesome!

P#88865 2021-03-11 20:30

One of my top 5 carts

P#92998 2021-06-04 02:20

oh now this is nice

P#93018 2021-06-04 16:39

Love this! Is it the most up to date one? Or is that on the itch website? Either way, super addicting!

P#106192 2022-02-02 07:47

Thanks, glad to hear you like it! I think they're both the same version - haven't touched it in ages.

I am working on a spiritual sequel that might be of interest :)

P#106193 2022-02-02 08:00

has anyone gotten to level 10? ive made it to level nine before but always kill the lich before 10

P#124064 2023-01-10 19:50

this reminds me a lot of fatal labyrinth on the genesis, you've certainly refined that system and created quite the amazing game. cheers!

P#137505 2023-11-16 04:59

Could you add a save game feature?

P#137939 2023-11-27 17:23

Agree that it would be nice to save, at least between levels. Not possible I'm afraid due to the cart using up all the available tokens already.

P#137959 2023-11-28 07:12

This game was excellent and I wanted to heap praise on it as well as point out a bug -- I killed the lich by luring it onto spikes for the final hit, and it didn't tell me that the game was over. I was very confused because I had never gotten that far; I thought it was just a new enemy type. I scoured the entire level many times trying to figure out what to do.

P#137985 2023-11-28 19:03

excellent game! however, i am confused... i reached level 8 and killed a bunch of monsters there, and saw a wizard-looking guy too. however the wizard-looking guy died on some spikes and all the other monsters were defeated too, but i couldn't go back up the stairs. is there something else i have to do? must i deal the final blow rather than allowing him to die on spikes?

P#138216 2023-12-04 07:02

There's unfortunately a rather annoying bug (as you have noticed) that if Raq'zul dies from spikes, the game doesn't recognise it. Hance you must deal the final blow yourself

P#138218 2023-12-04 09:33

Thanks! The second time I made sure to finish off Raq'zul myself and things went as expected. Again, good work making an excellent game in PICO-8!

P#138317 2023-12-05 23:19 ( Edited 2023-12-15 19:47)

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