Ah, roguelikes, easily one of my favourite genres! In Voyage to Farland, you play as… well, HERO. As your name would indicate, you’ll embark on a grand adventure, one filled to the brim with danger and excitement!
Unless you’re either quite skilled, lucky (random being random) or both, your journey may be over not long after it’s begun. You see, like most in this particular genre, Voyage to Farland is more than a little challenging, and in an odd twist, you don’t even get to pick a class! Whether this was intentional, so HERO could, in theory, be anyone – including you or me – is unknown. It did make me feel somewhat detached from the protagonist though, which is a shame.
From what I could decipher, he’s searching for his sister, and what better reason to kick ass, take names, loot (corpses), become ever more powerful and explore creepy dungeons? This one’s got all that and more. Oh, it’s also noticeably more difficult than other genre entries I’ve experienced, as the developer clearly states on its Desura page, “Voyage to Farland is a tough-as-nails graphical roguelike game.”.
In spite of that, I still had fun with it. Once I got the hang of the controls, that is. Where other turn-based 2D RPGs use the movement keys for everything from moving to attacking, opening doors and talking to NPCs, Voyage to Farland is a bit different. In order to attack or get all chatty, you have to press ‘A’, while the directional keys are strictly for moving around. ‘R’ and ‘D’ are used to change your facing direction, and since you can only interact with whatever you’re staring at… well, you get the gist of it. Also, if you don’t like the default keys, feel free to change them.
Throughout your journey, you’ll come across more than a few rather odd-looking creatures and unfortunately for you, they’re not exactly the friendly sort. Going through the training dungeon first, which I would highly recommend, increases your odds exponentially. Although even with that boost in terms of both equipment and stats, you’ll still be in constant danger. Enemies can be disposed of with a sharp blade or by reading the proper scroll, but without proper sustenance, you’re not going to get far… and believe me when I say that supplies are limited.
Each encounter is likely going to decrease your health, and while this does regenerate automatically, your hunger meter doesn’t. The only way to bring that back up is by way of food (glorious food!). Wormwood, Mugwort and other less-than-appetizing items make up today’s menu, but hey, beats starving. The better your equipment, the faster you’ll be able to lay waste to those who’d come between you and the search for your sister, though. As such, picking up everything in sight and upgrading as needed, is vital to your survival.
This being a turn-based affair, strategy also comes into play – especially once you start engaging foes with ranged attacks! Going into battle unprepared is a recipe for disaster, so be sure to heal up if possible and save your scrolls for the tougher fights. Being able to keep someone at a distance or put them to sleep will most certainly be a lifesaver at some point. These tiny pieces of paper aren’t all strictly for combat purposes though, as some will reveal the layout of the current dungeon floor when read, and others teleport you out of harm’s way.
Had I found just one more snack or a lovely ‘take me somewhere else right now’ scroll, my adventure may have lasted longer than it did. Might even have completed my journey and unlocked one of the four bonus dungeons! But, alas, it seems not every HERO is meant to succeed. His sister is still out there, though… maybe you’ll have better luck? If you’re up for it, Voyage to Farland is available for Windows, Linux and Android.