comScore Weekend Getaway: Famaze | The Mary Sue
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Weekend Getaway: Famaze

Featuring games you can finish in one weekend!

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Famaze

Availability On: PC and Mac

Length: As little as half an hour

There are few things more satisfying than exploring a dungeon. There’s just something about delving into musty and mysterious caves, smashing goblin faces and looting treasure chests that has been putting smiles on our faces for decades. Hell, even before games had video we were doing it on table tops with classic RPGs like D&D and Traveller. As you might expect though, those kinds of experiences are usually found only in the longest of RPGs.

Well, what if I told you that I knew of a game that condensed the genre into tiny bite-sized experience that can easily be played in under an hour? And what if I told you that the very same game is completely free to play in your browser? That’s exactly what I’m telling you.

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Famaze is a retro-inspired puzzle adventure game, with simple SNES-like graphics and a fantastic soundtrack by chiptune artist Disasterpeace. It was produced by Oryx Design Lab, a company that primarily designs and sells assets for other people to use in their own games, presumably as a showcase for one of their sprite sets.

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At the beginning of the game you choose one of three classes – the Knight with its charged smite attack, the thief with the ability to disarm traps, and the wizard who can transform items. Your quest is simple; The Mad King has captured all of the land’s happy rutabagas and turned them into monsters so that they can patrol his kingdom while he searches for the perfect recipe for rutabaga pudding. It is your job as the hero to rescue the rutabagas, find the gem of truth and put a stop the the Evil King’s epicurian conquest.

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The oblong game screen is separated into two segments, with a map taking up the the top half and your chosen character and the game world on the bottom. Gaming instinct will probably tell you that the bottom half is where it’s at and that the map is secondary, but in actuality the top half is where most of the game takes place. The bottom half of the screen is little more than an indication of your health and that of your enemy, albeit an adorable 16-bit one. As you explore the randomly generated maze, more of the map and its contents are revealed, with enemies, traps and treasures represented by colored squares. Magical orbs can be found throughout the world that send out a circle of light, revealing more of the map and transforming enemies within its beam back into rutabagas.

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Combat in Famaze is much more about strategy than skill. Enemies have a number above their head indicating their remaining health points just like your character does. You and your enemy both do one damage when you push toward it, so as long as you you have a higher number you’re going to win. The challenge is to find either a potion, a rutabaga or a magical orb to heal yourself before running into an enemy with a higher number than you. If you die – let me rephrase that, when you die, the map starts over. Don’t worry though; you keep all of the experience from your previous attempt so you never stop levelling up.

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Famaze is super fast-paced, with battles happening almost instantly and lives lasting only minutes or even seconds. Once you find the key in each level, all you have to do is make it back to one of the secret doors without dying or letting it get stolen by a ghost.

While you can play through the game in less than an hour without much trouble, Famaze has a ton of replayability. Playing through the randomly generated levels as the different characters can provide hours of entertainment, and there is a side-quest of sorts to find 7 ancient artifacts hidden sneakily in the mazes. Truth be told, I sent in this article a day later than originally planned because I stayed up until 2 AM playing it instead of finishing it. Whoops.

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Famaze isn’t deep, it isn’t long and it certainly isn’t complicated – it’s just really damn fun. If you have that itch for some dungeon-exploring goodness and a few hours to spare, then you should be all over this one. You candownload Famaze directly from Steam, or play it in your browser on one of many sites including Kongregate, y8 and Oryx Design Lab’s own site.

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