DROD RPG: Tendry’s Tale

By: Terry

On: September 20th, 2008

If you’re wondering why this is only going up now rather than last week when the game was released, it’s because every time I go to write about it I decide to play just one more quick game and soon an hour’s gone by. Take that as a hell of a recommendation – DROD RPG is good. Really, really good.

Perhaps I’m a little biased, though. I’m a huge fan of the DROD series – for me it’s a pinnacle of good level design; as many people have said, it probably is the best puzzle series ever made. (At the very least, it’s the best series of puzzle games that I’ve ever played). There’s a strange word caravel games use an awful lot that I think explains it: “lynchpin”. The idea is that a good puzzle should have a lynchpin solution; that it only seems difficult until you step back and look at it the right way – at which point the solution becomes obvious and you feel brilliant for having thought of it. It’s that feeling that repeats itself so often in their puzzle games that makes them so satisfying to play: and that approach to game design, essentially, is why DROD RPG is so good too.

DROD RPG is a big departure for Caravel Games – actually it’s the first game they’ve released that isn’t another puzzle game – but it manages to bring the same design approach to a new genre in a really interesting way. You frequently feel like you’re up against insurmountable odds, but if you plan your approach and think things through, you always just manage to pull through. And it’s so satisfying when you do.

(One last thing: If you’re already a DROD fan, then you might be interested in knowing that there’s a new smitemaster selection out – Devilishly Dangerous Dungeons of Doom. I’ve played it, and… well, it’s hard. Really hard. Even by DROD standards. But worth a look!)

  • Chinook

    First to comment on DROD: RPG.

    I can’t wait to pick this game up. It looks like a lot of fun.

    I wonder what the general consensus of DROD fans is on this title.

  • http://chaoseed.com/garden John Evans

    Your “linchpin” idea reminds me of the insights described by Martin Gardner in his book of puzzles, “Aha! Insight”.

  • Benzido

    I played the demo, which I loved until I realised that I had taken a one-way platform to the east and then taken a one-way door to the west, that I could never use the platform again and hence that I would never be able to finish the level without reverting to a previous save.

  • cougarten

    I need 100 HP more for the goblin boss and there is no Potion Nowhere, this sux…

  • cougarten

    there should be a HP reset between the lvls, because I killed some monsters just for GR (money) in early lvls and now I’m missing 100 HP which I can find nowhere

  • cougarten

    like this it seems to be better to not collect anything that you can only reach by lossing HP and return for it once you got enouph free Bonusses to kill whatever really easyly

  • Malefact

    Cougarten: Your last comment was right on the money! Essentially, the trick with DROD RPG is to make sure you have the best stats possible before doing any fighting. If you’re finding it hard, getting the ‘hidden’ shield should make things a lot easier for you. You know that guy who asks you if you have a shield? You can get one before you meet him.

    I absolutely love this game. It is a must-buy. Interesting bit of trivia; it’s based on the classic and awesome “Tower of the Sorcerer”, a free PC game from the late 90s. Check it out if you want some more DRODRPGesque action. In what is a shameless bit of self-promotion, I’ve started LPing the whole thing here:


    Ho ho ho.

  • SurplusGamer

    Hehe. I don’t mean to pimp my blog too much, but I spoke about exactly the same thing in this thing ‘5 Features of Good Puzzle Design’ I wrote. I’d love to know what people think:


  • permanent

    The old DROD puzzlers were fantastic but I was disappointed with the DROD 3.0 demo as it didn’t seem to offer anything new. This RPG concept sounds very interesting.

  • Onymous

    any one know if this is ‘safe’ to play for those of us who haven’t played city beneath?

  • FoxBlitzz

    The voice-acting in that trailer is almost unbearable.

    Nonetheless, I might try it. I like puzzle games (in particular, maze games) as long as they aren’t too complicated in terms of mechanics (I’m under the impression that simple game design is often the best).

  • permanent

    DROD RPG is strange! I guess they’ve made a new genre but what is it? I don’t get it, not sure if I’m going to either.

  • Moldar

    Onymous – yes, it is safe and a completely separate story-line.

  • Dusty Spur

    Demo is surprisingly fun (never played a DROD game before so I wasn’t sure what to expect). Too bad I don’t have monies.

    Somewhat related: Sweet LP, Malefact. I subscribed to you to be hip and cool.

  • Zaratus

    Wow! Surprised I’m not the only one who thought of “Tower of the Sorceror” just looking at the trailer.

    That was a pretty fun game, tough as nails to figure it out right.

  • Pyabo

    Maybe the voice acting just sounds really bad due to the poor audio quality of the trailer?

    I love the original DROD… one of the best and hardest PC puzzle games every produced.

  • Cougarten

    @malefact: got that shield and now I also got the 2nd one and the goblin biter

  • Chris

    (Posting to this site is irritating, sometimes it works, sometimes it shows the entire front page in a frame where the message box used to be. Fix your AJAX, guys!)

    On my first time through, I had 1937 life for my “end of demo” autosave. I killed most of the monsters, but certainly not all of them.

    I held off on hard monsters until I had to kill them to proceed. That let me get more sword upgrades first. Especially important for the goblins–the goblin sword does double damage.

    I also found all of the secret rooms, that might have helped.

    It’s pretty awesome. I might have to buy it. The voice acting is pretty terrible, though. The tongue in cheek writing almost makes the bad voice acting seem intentional, but I’m not sure I believe that.

  • http://www.blueskied.com Blueskied

    Quote: “The old DROD puzzlers were fantastic but I was disappointed with the DROD 3.0 demo as it didn’t seem to offer anything new.”

    I think the DROD demos are not doing a good job showing off the game’s quality, especially 3.0. In fact TCB had quite a lot new elements like enemies and stuff. I liked it.

  • Leak

    The nice thing about the DROD demos though is that while they’re stripped down graphically and official level-wise you can still play (and even build) user-made holds (i.e. DROD level sets) which in turn can contain every gameplay element of the full game…

    So if you have the TCB demo installed take a look at the hold download page

  • Anon

    Benzido, that’s the ‘brilliant’ level design for you.

  • none

    the actual game has the bad voice acting as well

  • Toom

    I’ve definitely heard worse voice acting, but it sounds a lot more terrible than it really is because of the actors’ atrocious mic technique. YOU DON’T NEED TO FELLATE THE DAMN THING, GUY.

  • http://del_duio.sitesled.com Del_Duio

    Is it just my crap speakers or does it sound like Astronauts are commenting on this game?

  • q

    That would be your crap speakers. God, talk about hyperbole! Caravel doesn’t have the resources to hire professional voice actors or a recording studio to record them in, so the speech quality isn’t perfect, but it’s far from as bad as everyone here makes it out to be (and the trailer makes it sound worse). The voice acting can actually be pretty good at times, and made me laugh more than once. I specially like the way Tendry says some things.