There is no shortage of roguelikes in the indie scene. Procedural generation makes it easier for teams to produce big amounts of content for a comparatively small amount of effort. The hitch is that a roguelike needs to be able to capture the eye and the imagination quickly; Seemingly endless content is nothing without compelling gameplay and a strong overarching narrative. stellarNull, an indie dev based out of Indonesia, looks to deliver on those with their upcoming game Anuchard.
Taking inspiration from classic action adventure games and RPGs from the NES and SNES era, Anuchard puts you in the shoes of "The Bellweilder," bearer of the mystical weapon known as the Audros Bell. It's a relic from a time when the eponymous island was a thriving and highly advanced utopia. The island was protected by five Ancient Guardians who, for reasons you'll have to discover, abandoned their duties and caused Anuchard's civilization to collapse, trapping the souls of its inhabitants in the Dungeon, an everchanging void where time and space have no consistency. It's up to you as the Bellweilder to descend into the Dungeon and rescue those inhabitants, hopefully bringing the island back to its former glory.
Each trip into the Dungeon is procedurally generated, naturally, but there are certain objectives you'll need to accomplish when you go in. The primary objectives will be rescuing a villager's soul to restore them to life, but resource gathering and other secondary objectives may present themselves depending on the configuration of the Dungeon. Of course, you can't go dungeon delving on an empty stomach. You'll be able to cook certain dishes with resources you gather, which will in turn grant different abilities to the Audros Bell. The dishes themselves are inspired by Indonesian cuisine, but you're not going to need a long list of ingredients to make them. More interestingly, the order of the ingredients matters, so putting in cabbage and potatoes might yield you one effect, while potatoes and cabbage gives you a completely different one.
As you move through the Dungeon, you will inevitably encounter enemies who will try to smash you, shoot you, and otherwise end your run as prematurely as possible. You'll have to wallop them with the Audros Bell while being mindful about their modifiers. Some enemies will have small indicators above them, showing a special effect or ability, and are layered like armor. These effects could be passive (such as a resistance to a certain damage type) or active (such as a trap-like effect that sends projectiles out when you break the armor). Hopefully, you'll avoid putting effects on your weapon which the enemies will be particularly resistant to, but there's no telling until you go down and find out.
Of course, enemies aren't the only challenges you'll find down in the Dungeon. Secret areas and puzzle doors abound, leading to special resources, secondary objectives, and hidden lore about the game world. When faced with a puzzle area, your Audros Bell is just as useful batting around balls of energy as it is crushing strange looking creatures into a pulp. But it's not nearly as easy. Puzzle doors require switches to be activated by destroying red crystals. You'll tee off from smaller green crystals to get the blob of energy flying, but from there, it mixes the mechanics of billiards and golf, hitting the blob at just the right angle to hit the switch before it dissipates.
Once you've rescued a soul from the dungeon, you'll return to the village and ring the big bell in the temple of the Guardians, restoring them to life. This, in turn, opens up new options for the player. New food recipes, new shops, and more lore will become available, allowing the player to delve deeper into the Dungeon. Each run of the Dungeon, assuming you do everything right, is expected to only take half an hour or so, and each chapter of the game will center around key figures who need to be brought out. It's a nice compact gameplay loop.
Anuchard is being helped out by the Xbox Diversity Fund, and they're currently shooting for a Q1 2022 release. It'll be interesting to see how it stacks up in a crowded space, but it certainly seems to have all the right ingredients of a potential hit.