In a post on the PlayStation Blog, Spry Fox chief creative officer Daniel Cook detailed his company’s approach to making a roguelike starring “a thinker and explorer” over a warrior with Road Not Taken.
As Cook describes, Road Not Taken is equal parts puzzler and roguelike. Players navigate and move objects around a grid-latticed environment, trying to unlock exits by organizing chaotic environment pieces, avoiding creatures and obstacles to collect trees together and open the way out. More often than not, combining environmental pieces produces solutions, such as using moles, which can burrow under things, to shift stones the player could not otherwise move. The cost to all these actions, of course, is that players don’t have an unlimited of supply of stamina. Using too much to move things on their own will result in death, and typical of roguelikes, death means back to square one.
“Here’s the other thing about Road Not Taken: like any good roguelike, its playfields are procedurally generated. You can’t memorize a solution,” Cook wrote in the post. “You need to learn the behaviors of each animal or object in the environment and be clever about using those in each new context. Playing Road Not Taken is more like improv jazz than repetitive practice.”
Road Not Taken is coming to Windows PC, PS4, and Vita. Spry Fox has yet to announce a release window.