Wonderquest: The Millionaire’s Collection

And now I’m caught up to and slightly past where I left off last time. Level 9 introduces a new playable character: Rick Gates, an axe-wielding English telecommunications millionaire. His primary special ability is that he can turn 180 degrees instantly. I suppose this is a useful skill in the tech world, but on the face of it, it seems like a downgrade from Chen, who’s already facing both directions all the time. I have seen one or two situations where you actually want to leave the space behind you free, but it’s unusual, especially in the sorts of roach-horde-heavy puzzles this level throws at you.

Rick’s secondary ability, the first secondary ability to be seen, is that he can string ziplines between towers to create an above-ground version of DROD‘s tunnels: instant travel between separated points, breaking the plane’s natural connectivity and potentially making for confusing navigation. The level’s finale involves ziplining all around little islands throughout the rooms of the level, recontextualizing their content like it’s Myst 3.

Before he can connect a pair of towers, though, he has to gather enough rope. This is the game’s first use of the resource system that’s been sitting in the bottom of the UI all this time displaying a bunch of zeroes. I was wondering how this would work into the game as a whole. Would the game track resources from room to room, turning it into a big optimization puzzle like DROD RPG? No, it turns out that they’re specific to rooms. If you pick up a pile of rope and then leave the room, it all just goes away, or rather, returns to its initial location as the room resets.

The UI makes me think of the timer in DROD. There, counting turns isn’t relevant until you start encountering roach queens some ways into the game, and so in rooms without timed events, the timer isn’t displayed. (Indeed, it goes away when the last timed element in the room is eliminated.) Addlemoth takes a similar approach. But here, we get the resource counts all the time, even when it serves no purpose. Or does it? Really, it serves the purpose of letting the first-time player know that limited resources are going to be a thing. The early parts of the game are such a throwback to King Dugan’s Dungeon, covering the basics of roach and orb mechanics, that a promise of something novel later on is kind of important to keep the experienced player interested. But that’s a problem probably better solved by starting off with the novel stuff.

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