A year ago ChronoSoft brought us the dungeon crawler Rogue Touch [App Store], included in our Best Games of 2009 roundup and my personal favorite iPhone roguelike. The game has been well-supported by the developer and has gathered quite a following in our forums. Over the past few months, however, developer Kevin Hill has been fairly quiet, leading us to wonder just what he's been up to.

As it turns out, with the roguelike formula held firmly in mind, Kevin's been busy at work on a new iPhone game. Yesterday, in our forums, Kevin announced his forthcoming title Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demon's Reach.

Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demon's Reach is a roguelike / dungeon crawler with a bit of a backstory. The game centers around Mineko, an average teenage girl who enjoys exploration, spelunking, and sparring with tough monsters. Stubborn, short-tempered, and rebellious, Mineko lives with her family in a secluded mountaintop village. She is a Spirit Hunter, trained from a young age in the art of channeling her spirit to perform magical feats. And while she demonstrates great skill, she is still treated like a child by her village. However, Mineko's chance to prove herself has just arrived.

One dark night a vicious storm kicks up, tearing through the valley below and whistling through the peaks that she calls home. Upon waking the next day, Mineko and every last member of the village are amazed to see that this was no ordinary storm! Down in the valley that previously contained nothing but dense forest, a huge castle has materialized... apparently from thin air! Its sinister appearance, as though an enormous evil hand was stretching out of the earth towards some unseen desire, immediately earns it the name "Demons Reach".

The village council decides to send a scout into the valley to investigate and, in a move that infuriates Mineko, her brother is chosen for the task. Not one to mope about the house, Mineko grabs up her dagger and crossbow, opens the hidden door in the floor of her bedroom, and it's off to high adventure she goes.

Spirit Hunter Mineko, while a dungeon crawler like Rogue Touch, is rather more similar to some of the iconic SNES and Gameboy Advance adventures of the past. It features a unique world with monsters, gameplay mechanics, and graphics not inspired by any existing roguelike. Unlike the much more graphically simple Rogue Touch, the new title is an OpenGL ES-based affair featuring smooth-scrolling travel through the game's various levels. As the development of the title progresses, detailed animations and particle effects will come into play, as well. The developer likens his vision of the completed title to Shiren the Wanderer for the DS.

Kevin has just posted an early video of the game that serves as more of a "tech demo" of the game system as it stands currently than a demonstration of any meaningful gameplay.

The developer tells us that, while the early video demonstrates his line-of-sight algorithm, he plans to finesse the system with a smooth-shadow effect before release. He also indicates that the onscreen mini-map, in the final game, will start small and slowly fill out as you explore the randomly-generated levels. And, while the video shows only the game's dungeon environments, there are currently four different environments / tilesets planned for the release version.

We're told that there's much left to do in this title before it's ready for the App Store, but, remembering Rogue Touch, we're rather confident that the end result will be worth the wait. Stay tuned for more on ChronoSoft's Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demon's Reach down the road.

  • Lord Gek

    It should be awesome!

    Freed from the shackles of "staying true to the original" as he was in Rogue Touch, he now can borrow ideas from all of the cool roguelikes as well as a huge heaping of his own original concepts to make something truly unique!

    • MrMuesli

      Agreed. Whilst I enjoyed RT (and continue to), I found one thing unnecessary to continue to 'stay true to'. Why collect gold if for no reason except to accrue stats? It always bugs me, and I do hope CD has taken all the liberties he needs to bring us a truely 21st century Roguelike. Looking forward to it:)

  • Lord Gek

    It should be awesome!

    Freed from the shackles of "staying true to the original" as he was in Rogue Touch, he now can borrow ideas from all of the cool roguelikes as well as a huge heaping of his own original concepts to make something truly unique!

    • MrMuesli

      Agreed. Whilst I enjoyed RT (and continue to), I found one thing unnecessary to continue to 'stay true to'. Why collect gold if for no reason except to accrue stats? It always bugs me, and I do hope CD has taken all the liberties he needs to bring us a truely 21st century Roguelike. Looking forward to it:)

  • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

    I can never really get into rogue-likes for some reason. I need graphics and a goal beyond "stay alive" and "get this amulet." I could never take random levels, either, except in Diablo II, where it's excellent. This looks good, though. If there's a story-mode with random levels and some sort of progression, this could be good for me. I fear perma-death, though. If it's got that, I'll stick with Rogue Touch, probably.

    Also, Frist!11!

  • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

    I can never really get into rogue-likes for some reason. I need graphics and a goal beyond "stay alive" and "get this amulet." I could never take random levels, either, except in Diablo II, where it's excellent. This looks good, though. If there's a story-mode with random levels and some sort of progression, this could be good for me. I fear perma-death, though. If it's got that, I'll stick with Rogue Touch, probably.

    Also, Frist!11!

  • GodSon

    Looks pretty polished for a rouge-like and with a good(from what's posted) backstory for added depth. I hope when it's done she doesn't always look to the right when she stops. Yeah I know thats a small detail but it became a quick eye-sore. I do look forward to it other than that.

  • David

    Between this and 100 Rogues the (near?) future looks bright. I love roguelikes, can't wait to see what the iPad means for the increased real estate roguelikes will enjoy.

  • GodSon

    Looks pretty polished for a rouge-like and with a good(from what's posted) backstory for added depth. I hope when it's done she doesn't always look to the right when she stops. Yeah I know thats a small detail but it became a quick eye-sore. I do look forward to it other than that.

  • David

    Between this and 100 Rogues the (near?) future looks bright. I love roguelikes, can't wait to see what the iPad means for the increased real estate roguelikes will enjoy.

  • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

    Hello everyone, thanks for the interest!

    To clarify some concepts behind Spirit Hunter Mineko:

    It is still a roguelike, turn based gameplay is the core, even if it looks almost real-time from the tech-demo. Dungeons of all types will be randomly generated, but each type of environment you explore will have different rules: caves are twisty natural formations, where a castle will have more uniform room layouts. Permadeath is there, but its tempered with a "secret sauce", sort of like the Item Storehouse in Shiren the Wanderer. There will be a way to occasionally cheat death as well, but I may only allow that on the easier modes of play.

    There is a storyline as noted, which will unfold naturally as you play and of course die occasionally! I have enough roughed out for a trilogy if everyone enjoys Mineko's first adventure :)

    Godson- re:sprite looking right... This is of course just a tech demo. You'll be glad to know there are idle poses for all directions but I did not include them in this test. Actually she'll likely stay facing the direction you last moved, and not go into idle at all unless you don't touch the screen for 5-10 seconds. Sort of like the classic Sonic the Hedgehog foot-tapping glare you would get on the Sega Genesis.

    David- re:iPad and roguelikes... I agree that the future looks good for all the new roguelikes appearing this year. Anticipate having iPad optimized versions of Rogue Touch and Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach to play with not long after the initial release!

    Ask away right here or in the upcoming games thread (or my own forums of course) if you want to learn more...

    • GodSon

      Thanks for the clarification. Result: Insta buy. xD

  • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

    Hello everyone, thanks for the interest!

    To clarify some concepts behind Spirit Hunter Mineko:

    It is still a roguelike, turn based gameplay is the core, even if it looks almost real-time from the tech-demo. Dungeons of all types will be randomly generated, but each type of environment you explore will have different rules: caves are twisty natural formations, where a castle will have more uniform room layouts. Permadeath is there, but its tempered with a "secret sauce", sort of like the Item Storehouse in Shiren the Wanderer. There will be a way to occasionally cheat death as well, but I may only allow that on the easier modes of play.

    There is a storyline as noted, which will unfold naturally as you play and of course die occasionally! I have enough roughed out for a trilogy if everyone enjoys Mineko's first adventure :)

    Godson- re:sprite looking right... This is of course just a tech demo. You'll be glad to know there are idle poses for all directions but I did not include them in this test. Actually she'll likely stay facing the direction you last moved, and not go into idle at all unless you don't touch the screen for 5-10 seconds. Sort of like the classic Sonic the Hedgehog foot-tapping glare you would get on the Sega Genesis.

    David- re:iPad and roguelikes... I agree that the future looks good for all the new roguelikes appearing this year. Anticipate having iPad optimized versions of Rogue Touch and Spirit Hunter Mineko: Demons Reach to play with not long after the initial release!

    Ask away right here or in the upcoming games thread (or my own forums of course) if you want to learn more...

    • GodSon

      Thanks for the clarification. Result: Insta buy. xD

  • jason

    I saw your post a few weeks ago in the forums and was looking forward to more information...

    I know u have a long way to go, but I almost laughed at the video, but the epic music on a character walking around an empty dungeon was ridiculous

    • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

      Yes, the epic music is way over the top! I figured it'd make a dull tech demo a bit more amusing than walking around silently... That track is actually a rough cut I'm hoping to include in game.

      • jason

        yea its good boss music, looking forward to more of this game...

        definitely chuckled at that juxtaposition

      • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

        I say: more metal in games! Haha, this was a good track. I agree it would suit a boss battle. I hope bosses are in??

  • jason

    I saw your post a few weeks ago in the forums and was looking forward to more information...

    I know u have a long way to go, but I almost laughed at the video, but the epic music on a character walking around an empty dungeon was ridiculous

    • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

      Yes, the epic music is way over the top! I figured it'd make a dull tech demo a bit more amusing than walking around silently... That track is actually a rough cut I'm hoping to include in game.

      • jason

        yea its good boss music, looking forward to more of this game...

        definitely chuckled at that juxtaposition

      • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

        I say: more metal in games! Haha, this was a good track. I agree it would suit a boss battle. I hope bosses are in??

  • http://bassoonhero.deviantart.com/ Solid Snake Man

    I always get excited for a good rogue, music sounds awesome, and I'm really liking the graphics a lot. The "shadow" changes while walking in the video is a little distracting though, I'm interested to see how that gets refined. Screenshots look great and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one, can't wait for more news!

    • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

      Probably the biggest issue with the line-of-sight / shadow casting is that it only updates when you fully occupy a new square in the grid. Others have noted in the forum thread that it's definitely a nostalgic feel reaching back all the way to the early Ultima series.

      The ultimate goal would be to provide the retro shadowcasting you see here for longer battery life, and an advanced optional one that draws smooth shadows which update for every pixel of motion in-between two grid squares. The algorithm for something like this is way beyond my knowledge at the moment, but then again I couldn't shadowcast at all before last week :)

  • http://bassoonhero.deviantart.com/ Solid Snake Man

    I always get excited for a good rogue, music sounds awesome, and I'm really liking the graphics a lot. The "shadow" changes while walking in the video is a little distracting though, I'm interested to see how that gets refined. Screenshots look great and I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one, can't wait for more news!

    • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

      Probably the biggest issue with the line-of-sight / shadow casting is that it only updates when you fully occupy a new square in the grid. Others have noted in the forum thread that it's definitely a nostalgic feel reaching back all the way to the early Ultima series.

      The ultimate goal would be to provide the retro shadowcasting you see here for longer battery life, and an advanced optional one that draws smooth shadows which update for every pixel of motion in-between two grid squares. The algorithm for something like this is way beyond my knowledge at the moment, but then again I couldn't shadowcast at all before last week :)

  • spiffyone

    Looking forward to this one. Looks really good, and the last rogue-like from the dev was very fun.

    BTW, at the danger of being lambasted as I was in the past for such a thing: the genre to which you were referring is "action/adventure", Blake, NOT "adventure". Pet peeve. This game may remind one of classic SNES action/adventure games, but adventure doesn't come to mind unless you don't recognize the distinction between the two.

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      Agreed, also a pet peeve of mine. Dimishes the memory of true adventure games! :)

  • spiffyone

    Looking forward to this one. Looks really good, and the last rogue-like from the dev was very fun.

    BTW, at the danger of being lambasted as I was in the past for such a thing: the genre to which you were referring is "action/adventure", Blake, NOT "adventure". Pet peeve. This game may remind one of classic SNES action/adventure games, but adventure doesn't come to mind unless you don't recognize the distinction between the two.

    • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

      Agreed, also a pet peeve of mine. Dimishes the memory of true adventure games! :)

  • wizard

    Sold.

  • wizard

    Sold.

  • Pete Jones

    I will be picking this up on day 1.

  • Pete Jones

    I will be picking this up on day 1.

  • Lions

    NICE! I loved RogueTouch and I think i'm going to really enjoy this.

    I remember reading that you were working on something hush hush. Glad to actually get to see it. I can't wait to give it a spin. Need a beta tester :D

    Also any time line on release or is it still to early in development?

  • Lions

    NICE! I loved RogueTouch and I think i'm going to really enjoy this.

    I remember reading that you were working on something hush hush. Glad to actually get to see it. I can't wait to give it a spin. Need a beta tester :D

    Also any time line on release or is it still to early in development?

  • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

    I just want to say thanks to everyone who's already sold on Mineko. Your support and goodwill is greatly appreciated, I'll do my best to make this another game you'll keep coming back to for "just one more run"!

    Spirit Hunter Mineko started out as a pet project I thought about while on the road consulting last summer and fall. Probably spent way too much time thinking about the storyline and different ways to make the gameplay fresh and fun :)

    My release schedule is not set in stone, ultimately the answer will be "when it's ready", but I will be trying very hard to finish this spring. It is still too early to tell, but now that everyone will be watching I am highly motivated!

    • David

      I know there may be slightly different pressures to get "everything right" because of the pay model vs. freeware, but I hope the releases of Spirit Hunter lean more towards iterative development and updates, and less towards the castles in the air fanfare search for perfection approach of another roguelike, some two years in the hyping with nothing to show for the common man 100 rogues. I guess what I'm saying is, perfect is the enemy of "good enough", which is to say, 'git er done, in the parlance of our times.

  • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

    I just want to say thanks to everyone who's already sold on Mineko. Your support and goodwill is greatly appreciated, I'll do my best to make this another game you'll keep coming back to for "just one more run"!

    Spirit Hunter Mineko started out as a pet project I thought about while on the road consulting last summer and fall. Probably spent way too much time thinking about the storyline and different ways to make the gameplay fresh and fun :)

    My release schedule is not set in stone, ultimately the answer will be "when it's ready", but I will be trying very hard to finish this spring. It is still too early to tell, but now that everyone will be watching I am highly motivated!

    • David

      I know there may be slightly different pressures to get "everything right" because of the pay model vs. freeware, but I hope the releases of Spirit Hunter lean more towards iterative development and updates, and less towards the castles in the air fanfare search for perfection approach of another roguelike, some two years in the hyping with nothing to show for the common man 100 rogues. I guess what I'm saying is, perfect is the enemy of "good enough", which is to say, 'git er done, in the parlance of our times.

  • kennfusion

    who is this "Kevin" person you refer to. Everyone knows Rogue Touch and SHM are created by Commander Data. duh.

  • kennfusion

    who is this "Kevin" person you refer to. Everyone knows Rogue Touch and SHM are created by Commander Data. duh.

  • wizard

    The more Shiren-like you can make this, the better. Since I know Sega will never port it!

  • wizard

    The more Shiren-like you can make this, the better. Since I know Sega will never port it!

  • RobutMike

    Commander Data! You are such a []D [] []v[] []D !

    Seriously, loved rogue touch, I'm a huge fan of the roguelike genre. Can't wait for this, will buy as soon as it hits the app store.

  • RobutMike

    Commander Data! You are such a []D [] []v[] []D !

    Seriously, loved rogue touch, I'm a huge fan of the roguelike genre. Can't wait for this, will buy as soon as it hits the app store.

  • tibia

    looks like tibia

  • tibia

    looks like tibia

  • Gates

    I love how the phone just says Carrier

  • Gates

    I love how the phone just says Carrier

  • David

    Any Spirit Hunter Mineko updates forthcoming?

  • David

    Any Spirit Hunter Mineko updates forthcoming?

  • http://www.travestiilan.com travesti

    thanks a lot admins

  • http://www.travestiilan.com travesti

    thanks a lot admins