Elventales: The Arcanery
Deep in the heart of the labyrinth, something waits. One by one, the men and women of the elven militia have gone in, and all of them have failed to return. You are all that's left of their once-proud army. But you have a mighty sword and indominable will to survive... Oh, and mastery over arcane magics. That helps too. Elventales: The Arcanery, from Elven Games, puts you in the greaves of this lone adventurer as you plumb the depths of the savage dungeon that has already taken so many lives. Which will probably include yours. Several times. This action RPG has a hefty amount of roguelike in its ancestry, which means the challenge level gets fairly high. But if you have no patience for the stat-building and micromanaging of most roguelikes, don't worry... Elventales is a simplified and streamlined experience that removes turn-based battles and cuts you free from the grid for a more open and active experience. You can walk anywhere you like with [WASD] or the [arrow] keys, interact with anything nearby with [E], and attack anything in front of you with [R] or a left mouse click! You can spend the currency monsters drop on unlocking new spells, which you can then bind to the number keys. It's more accessible to be sure, but it's still got plenty of teeth!
Unlike most RPGs, which base their progression on experience points and level grinding, Elventales revolves entirely around loot and achievements. Killing a certain number of monsters or finding a certain number of items will give you small stat gains, but most of your character-building will be done by collecting new equipment or spending money on new spells. Every equipment piece and spell has its own distinct advantages and weaknesses, and the higher-tier ones aren't necessarily "stronger". This makes the system surprisingly deep despite being minimalized, and allows for an excellent degree of character customization, especially since you can craft new items out of the old.
The game's real-time combat has an almost puzzle-like aspect to it, as most monsters have weaknesses to specific spells that you'll need to exploit before finishing them off with melee attacks. But rather than being based on some elemental circle you'll need to memorize, these weaknesses arise naturally from the monsters' other attributes; for example, monsters that dodge frequently are weak to spells that lower their evasion. This makes learning about new monsters far more intuitive. However, for all its user-friendly features, it's still a roguelike, and that means it can still be brutally difficult. You can only save at certain, infrequent points. Random traps and powerful monsters mean your death can be very swift and very unexpected, and dying sends you all the way back to your last save. There is an element of luck in what kind of monsters you'll face and where you'll find traps, which can be frustrating if you get unlucky. However, you can always develop a strategy, no matter what you face, and the game provides ample places to heal. If you're looking for a challenge, Elventales: The Arcanery is a game that proves "simple" doesn't have to mean "shallow."