Don’t ever get on the shopkeeper’s bad side. Trust me. That’s a mistake.
Spelunky is a roguelike, which is a fancy way of saying, if you die, you’re done. Also something about the game world being randomly generated, or some such nonsense. So the premise is simple: Get as many levels deep as you can, without dying.
Along the way you’ll find treasures you can grab to increase your available pool of money/score, find damsels who if you bring to the end of the level, shall give you 1 health OR you can sacrifice them at altars for random bonuses. There are also several varieties of creatures lurking in the mines, along with devious traps designed to make you cease existing as quickly as possible. And then there’s the shopkeeper, an old man who will have a random assortment of 4 items up for purchase, or you can just steal them and incur the wrath of the shopkeeper. Also, be very careful about attacking/dropping dynamite near the shopkeeper, cause if he takes any damage, he can lose his shit that way as well.
So what is the core element of Spelunky that people enjoy? It’s the excitement derived from tension, and the self-mutilation that happens when you die after having made it all the way to the end of the game but accidentally stepped on a spike trap. Oops. There’s also co-op, which can be very entertaining, but perhaps for all the wrong reasons. See, you can basically doom your fellow players if you so choose, and if you just wanna get rid of them from the outset, there is also a straight-up deathmatch option to put darwinism to the test.
Top 10 Runner-up: Shadowrun Returns
What is Shadowrun? It’s a cyberpunk/fantasy universe created by Jordan Weissman, having existed as a tabletop game for most of its existence, the exceptions to this being a SNES rpg, a Sega Genesis action game and a Xbox 360/PC multiplayer shooter. Shadowrun Returns borrows mostly from the SNES game, for good reasons.
It’s fair to say there is a lot of fanservice involved in Shadowrun Returns, or at the very least, the first module, which Harebrained Schemes released when the game launched. The game is also very supportive of fan support as evidenced by the ability to create your own modules (a module is essentially a campaign or scenario).
The gameplay seems similar to the system used in the XCOM games. A grid-based battle-map built around turn-based combat, which seems to work pretty well, although the launch module, Dead Man’s Switch seems very linear which I hope can be more varied through the module creator.
Shadowrun Returns is a pretty great game for the fans, although it does seem pretty convoluted and confusing to anyone who doesn’t know much about the Shadowrun universe.