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A False Saint, An Honest Rogue


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Rating: 3.4/5 (137 votes)
| Comments (24) | Views (48)

A False Saint, An Honest Rogue

JohnBA False Saint, An Honest Rogue, and one very cold adventurer. Created by Jeremiah Reid for the Seven Day Roguelike (7DRL) competition, this unusual game mixes survival and roguelike elements in a strange and often confusing way. But that's why we like it! You're out in the cold, you're freezing, you're starving, and you have to survive. Sounds fairly ordinary until you factor in the fact that you're going a bit mad from the chill, and many things you think you see don't make much sense at all. There's just one thing on your mind: go west.

A False Saint, An Honest RogueMove around the screen using the [arrow] keys (note that [left] and [right] turn you instead of sliding you to the side) and click menu/inventory elements to investigate or use them. You know you're supposed to be going west, but it's not like you've got a GPS handy. Instead, use the sun and shadows to pick your way through the landscape as best you can. When you see an item simply step across it to pick it up. You have to stay warm and stay fed, and you can also sleep when it's nighttime, which can be useful for prolonging your life. Whatever you do, don't freeze before the in-game week is up. And be prepared for some strange events!

A False Saint, An Honest Rogue is confusing at first. It's also confusing at second and third, too. But there's a good experience there for those who sit with it for more than a few minutes. It strikes a fantastic balance between roguelike and survival sim, forcing you to manage item weights, keys and the like along with constantly focusing on staying alive and warm. No more spoilers in this review, go check the game out and see how delightfully disorienting it can be!

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24 Comments

Twinkie23 Author Profile Page March 31, 2013 12:36 PM

How do you know when you're actually using an item? I picked up a blanket and clicked on it in my inventory, but I'm not sure if that means I'm using it or not...

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page March 31, 2013 1:26 PM

Twinkie23, clicking on an item will select it. Click on it again to use or equip it; it will turn green if equipped. Sleeping items (e.g. blankets) can be used to sleep, but they don't stack.

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The game is unbalanced in terms of accessing resources, but in that way it's more realistic.

Fixed perspective takes some getting used to.

Not the greatest, yet I find myself addicted.

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I like how the alternate units use Celsius and km/hr but still use pounds instead of kilograms. Very useful.

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Strangelander Author Profile Page April 1, 2013 4:08 AM

It seems several times I've gone west for a long time, then run into water with no way across. Anyone else? I can't stay alive long enough to make it around the water (if such a thing is possible).

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Strangelander Author Profile Page April 1, 2013 5:17 AM

Oooohh, it's not always west you're supposed to go. Ouch.

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Finally won it! I'm confused as to what this end-game is, though.

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silent george Author Profile Page April 1, 2013 5:58 PM

Bleak game! But fun and addictive. How does one use the transponder? I'm assuming you need the compass, too.

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page April 1, 2013 6:21 PM

silent george, transponders use a fairly simple hotter/colder mechanic. They tell you the distance from a cache (and what items are in it) in the description. You'll need a key for each cache though and cabins require keys too, so there is a tradeoff there.

Shudog, glad you beat it. The ending was kind of thrown in at the last minute... only really there so you know you beat the game; I had to make it in 7 days after all :) I'm also curious: what did you mean by "The game is unbalanced in terms of accessing resources"? Not disputing, just not sure what you meant.

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Hello Jeremiah! Congrats on a cool game.

The item drops turned out to be all right, but there aren't enough keys for all the caches. More than once I'd be starving or cold and what I needed was inside, but if I wasted precious time looking for a key, that would endanger me further. Besides, I found that to be the least realistic part of the game -- people lock up their cabins from bears, not other people trying to survive in the wild. The securing mechanism would be rudimentary at best. Actually, it's the *weapons* they'd lock up, because those are valuable tools.

Not having any fire-making path confused me as well. I understand all the trees are there to enable direction-finding, but that means there's at least a little fuel available. Lack of shelter-making didn't bother me as much as lacking a means to make fire, especially overnight. (It would be sweet if the cute wildlife was not so cute at night... just sayin'.)

Long story short, inaccessible caches meant I just had to hoof it, making every attempt a speed-round.

What I liked most was the variety, and thus replay value, but that one element forces the player to win in only one way, which is the one I employed. Anyway, it's quite addictive once you get the hang of it (and by the way, kudos on having different colors of sprites -- nice touch.)

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page April 1, 2013 8:46 PM

Wow, thanks. All fair points you raise, here's some of the reasoning:

Fire was definitely on my todo list, but with the remaining time I decided to add other things that I thought had more gameplay value (I thought hunting was a better choice).

You're kind of right. It turned out that avoiding caches is a reliable strategy. The intent was for there NOT to be enough keys and you had to choose between and caches and cabins and which ones. Caches have better items (and the transponders let you know ahead of time what they are), but the cabins offer shelter. There's supposed to be an interesting choice created by keys, but it's probably not balanced well.... balancing in so little time is extremely hard, which was compounded by a lack of testers.

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throwawayx3t Author Profile Page April 2, 2013 4:32 AM

I really enjoyed this game very much. Making it in a time-limit competition is impressive. I would love to see an expanded version someday. I think the things I would like to see added are

1) A fatigue energy resource so you have to sleep, and have to rest after exertion.
2) Limited battery on the flashlight.
3) Fire making resources
4) Dangerous animals - wolves, bears, maybe hostile people.
5) More visibility on the interaction between wind and heat loss, to make the clothing stats more meaningful.
6) A chance to choose between staying in a relatively benign location and gathering resources versus faster movement. If the weather gets progressively colder over time, this would be very interesting.
7) A FPS style play and detailed environment. Okay, maybe not a realistic suggestion, but it would be fantastic.

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silent george Author Profile Page April 3, 2013 1:44 PM

If you have a tent, can you drop a sleeping bag? (Etc., same question for blanket/parachute, sleeping bag/blanket). They don't compound effects, right?

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page April 3, 2013 2:43 PM

That's absolutely right, silent george. Sleeping items do not stack with each other. Also, make sure you are using the item and not just hitting the "sleep" button.

You can use a sleeping item within a cabin, however, and that is quite effective. I would drop all but the one item you think is best... unless of course you want to have the extra weight (more weight -> more warmth + more hunger).

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Helga von Lichtenstein Author Profile Page April 3, 2013 8:47 PM

I haven't been able to finish the game yet, though I made it to 70 m of finishing. I was quite loopy by then though.

Any advice strategy-wise?

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page April 4, 2013 9:17 AM

Honestly, it sounds like you are doing just fine. If you got within 70m, you're literally 90% there!

I wrote up some tips on the site that might help. If you're getting loopy, that indicates you probably need to focus on getting better clothes and layering them as much as possible. If need be, carry more weight. Obviously, avoid ice and water as much as possible. If you find large ice fields, you can usually go around them.

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silent george Author Profile Page April 4, 2013 7:59 PM

Jeremiah, thanks for following the thread. It's great getting actual developer bandwidth. Here are a couple things I've thought of.

It is very tough. One way to lighten it up some and also get a little more realistic is to make more clothing stackable. I mean, I'm lost in the arctic and I can't figure out how to put a boot over a sock? I'm bloody well going to put that ushanka over the balaclava, no matter how second-rate the latter is.

Would love a body map that shows what clothing you have on. It's kinda hard to see what you've got and how it could layer.

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I was curious if anyone else was having the issue of it will glitch and my poor guy will disappear forcing me to have to kill him... Its only happened once or twice so I dont mind too much, but it is kind of irritating when I think I'm doing really well and it happens... on a slightly off topic note, I wish there was a way to change what we have voted on :/ I was trying to click on something in my inventory and accidently clicked a rating.

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page April 11, 2013 9:27 AM

Sorry, that must have been frustrating. This is the first time I've heard of that happening. A few questions:

  • What do you mean by disappear/glitch exactly?

  • Do you remember what you were doing right before that happened?

  • What browser are you using?

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It might be nice to see some sort of post-death sketch of the path you took. Not something that necessarily gives away the shape or size of the world, but something that shows how far you wandered off-course or how often you tromped in circles.

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page April 17, 2013 4:07 PM

Bleargh, that's quite a good idea! I'll add it if I can get time for another release.

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jeremiah.reid Author Profile Page April 21, 2013 10:00 AM

So I did end up deciding to do one last release.

I added the post-game map, in addition to a few other features and several bug fixes. Thanks for the idea, Bleargh.

[With thanks to Jeremiah, the game has also been updated here on Jayisgames: http://jayisgames.com/games/a-false-saint-an-honest-rogue/ -Jay]

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Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you. what I mean by disappear is my guy will no longer be there, I can still move like he is, but I cant see him. I honestly cant remember what the heck I was doing though sorry! At the time I was using google chrome.

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The main thing that frustrates me is how easy it is to starve to death. Quite unrealistic in that regard. But it is a good way to add in the urgency that would really exist from trying to find safe water without adding in another mechanic.

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