The Wratch’s Den is a rogue-like dungeon builder from the depths of the PUNKCAKE Délicieux inventory on Itch.IO. The gameplay involves building a pixel art style base by mining the surrounding layers of cave rock. The core of the base is a simple brick square structure that houses a minotaur villain on a throne that oversees a group of minions. Progress is measured by how quickly you respond to crusading do-gooders and the retrieval of three magic orbs. When enough progress is made the arch-villain minotaur can research new areas in the base or even revive slain minions. This entire experience is procedurally generated and leads to casual replay value that is pretty dang fun. So, let me take you into the depths of The Wratch’s Den, and tell you what I see.
I received a sponsored copy from PUNCAKE Délicieux through my community at Indie Game Collective. Thanks!
Dive Into The Wratch’s Den
I definitely fell in love with the art style of The Wratch’s Den immediately. It is so potently the thing I love about games on itch.io, which is an essence of crisp pixel art with such perfect color selections that they lift the 90’s over their head and extract their creative source into a neatly bottled 2021 content juicer. There’s really not an overload of character art, but I like what I see. And the orange brick bases with minimalist features are actually pretty darn good.
Yeah, I didn’t totally know what I was doing initially, but picked it up real fast, and so can you. Just, basically, walk around and mine automatically. You can even use a controller. It doesn’t sound spectacular, but it’s actually really fun. The animations remind me of something, I don’t know what. Like punching bricks in Super Mario Minecraft, which is a game that doesn’t exist, but could. The more you mine, the more you can add new buildings. It’s overloading at first, I’ll give you a heads up there, because the minotaur villain lord gives many options, and you only have moments to decide before the next raid. As I labeled this post arcade, that is exactly what it is. You do your best until the game is over, then play again when you want.
Features of The Wratch’s Den
From the Itch.IO page:
- build your own villainous hide-out
- hire monsters, buy traps, research techs
- defend from heroes come to slay The Wratch
- 4 difficulty modes
- a separate scoring/survival mode
- 20-40 minutes sessions on average
- randomized gameplay for considerable replayability
- soundtrack by the amazing Pentadrangle
- heroes throw objects in the fountains
What I Feel Here
I feel this game raises the bar on indie arcade games. Sure, you can construct a labyrinth to punch blocks forever. For a minimalist scenario-based experience, however, I only need a little of that, or as long as will hold my attention. This is comfortable, and there are a lot of neat little touches in the game that provide immersion and amusement. In a manner of seconds, I approved a tavern into existence without much thought at first. A little later my minion went in, had a beer, drained the glass of beer pixels, then threw the glass back over the counter. It truly made me chuckle because I didn’t even know there was room for that kind of detail in this fast-paced environment. Don’t fret the “fast-paced” analogy though, because you actually have quite a bit of time to get to work, and it gets easier each game, with an adequate amount of challenge.
There are actually so many features here, some maybe even being arbitrary but still entertaining. There is a lot to do though. Everything is balanced just right too. There’s so much capacity for strategy as well as straight-up play, that you won’t go wrong with it. Take a look at the screens in the gallery up above, watch the gameplay video, form your own opinion and definitely consider trying it out! I approve of this one.
I’ve got the itch.io link below, and you can definitely head there if you want to learn more about the game or purchase it. You can even subscribe to a Patreon subscription of games there if you like it!
Thank you so much for reading Mr. Dave Pizza. I love helping out indies with my blog, so this has been a real treat. There are plenty of games and topics on the site, which I’m always working to improve. So have a look around. And if you like what you see, please come back!