If the free to play-ness of last week’s Diablo Immortal has you down, but you’re craving some hacking and slashing and looting fun, then boy do I have the game for you. It’s Almora Darkosen RPG, and this is the passion project of just one single person who has been working away on it for more than 9 years. 9 years! Let me be clear that if it’s fancy schmancy graphics that you crave, and the kind of high end production values that a big company like Blizzard can pull off, you won’t really find that stuff here. What you will find, however, is plenty of heart and soul, a retro-style art style with a shocking amount of detail, and some seriously good old-fashioned story and gameplay.
As mentioned this isn’t a flashy game visually, but it does have plenty of charm. I can’t help but feel like I’m playing a PC game in the mid-90s, and I mean that as a compliment. It also reminds me a lot of the types of games we would see in the early years of the iPhone. Some indie dev toiling away on a project in their spare time, releasing it to the App Store, and then blowing people away with how gosh darn good (and cheap!) the game was despite having the types of rough edges something homemade has. Almora Darkosen RPG has those rough edges, but also has that heart and soul. It’s filled with all sorts of mechanics like tons of loot, a merc-for-hire system, and even a full-blown crafting system, that make you marvel that this was made by a single person.
Almora Darkosen RPG features a large world to explore with plenty of NPCs to talk to that offer up bits of lore or quests to complete. It’s a finite game, that can take anywhere from 20 to 40 hours to complete depending on your play style, but there is already an expansion in the works that will come… whenever it’s ready. I mean, it’s just one person. The point being that no you won’t get hundreds of hours of gameplay here, and no you won’t be able to grind endlessly to max out the game. In fact this isn’t so much a hack away at enemies and constantly chug potions type of game, there is a lot more strategy and depth to the combat here, which I think is a good thing.
As somebody who has already churned out of Diablo Immortal, I’m finding my respite in Almora Darkosen RPG. Shockingly, you can play through the whole game for free with ads. If you drop $5 on a premium unlock you’ll permanently disable those ads as well as add a few non-essential but nice-to-have features to the game like an item and monster encyclopedia and a crafting recipe book to make crafting items easier. Also, if you play through the first few quests and don’t immediately feel the need to throw five dollars at this developer then I’m not sure what to tell you. This is the type of project that should be celebrated and supported, since it’s not so often we get gems like this nowadays.