Red Robin isn't exactly Little Red Riding Hood. This Dragon Fin Soup protagonist is more Drunken Master than Damsel in Distress, something developer Grimm Bros has no problem emphasizing.
After asking for $24,000 on Kickstarter, the fledgling Grimm Bros games studio found that it more than quadrupled its ask, ending up successfully funding with nearly $120,000. I hadn't heard much at all about it prior to meeting with the Grimm Bros team at PAX 2014, but I was duly impressed with the lengthy demo I played, as well as the other features that I didn't get hands on with, but saw in action.
Approaching the booth, I took a few minutes to watch the Labyrinth mode being shown off, which takes your character and drops you into an endless, procedurally generated maze to see how long you can survive. You'll slash your way through enemies, meander through an infinite labyrinth, and rack up points along the way. You only get one life to live, though, so you better play it safe when you encounter the baddies. The gameplay is a blend of roguelike and RPG. Every action you take is basically a turn, so swinging your weapon, moving one space, or firing your shotgun all give the enemies a chance to act.
I'm not personally experienced with roguelikes, so this was a fairly new experience for me, but I am quite experienced with classic-styled RPGs, and the character progression and customization is expansive, as you might hope. You've got numerous stats to tinker with, seemingly allowing some very crazy min/maxed builds. Your stats increase as your character levels up, and you'll collect weapons and items along your journey.
There's additionally a detailed crafting system, which will let you craft everything from a delicious meal to equippable items. I only saw the intro, so I'm not sure how deep it goes, but you are able to experiment with mixing reagents to see what concoction you come up with.
The demo I played was basically the first 30-45 minutes of the game. It begins in a dream sequence, and basically ends with an undead invasion of Red Robin's town, where she is forced to fend off a slew of shambling zombies. Red Robin doesn't particularly fit any of the preconceptions you might have for game protagonists. She's not a loner, enjoying the company and conversation with her townsfolk. She's not angsty, she's just looking for her next job so she can get a little coin. She's also an unrepenting alcoholic.
I played on a touch screen - it'll be launching on PC and PS4 before it makes its way to mobile - and it controlled fairly well, though the touch-interface is still a work in progress, since it's not always intuitive where exactly you need to touch for certain actions. I'll almost certainly be playing with a controller on release, though, since it lends itself to slightly better control for more tactical choices during combat.
Despite being a classic isometric view, the graphics are gorgeous, and I'm told will be full HD. Taking a dark twist on fairy tale tropes, Dragon Fin Soup is looking like a grim story in oddly cheerful trappings. The game's website has a Beta tab labeled "coming soon," so keep an eye out if a roguelike JRPG sounds like it might be up your alley.
Dragon Fin Soup is targeting either holiday 2014 or Spring 2015 for release across PS3, PS4, PS Vita, PC, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android.