Sproggiwood is one of those games that continues to uphold that adorable games are brutal to play. Don’t let the cute forest sprites, squishable slimes, and downright huggable mushrooms think this game is just for kids. It has a lot going on under the hood and provides a challenge that will satiate even roguelike veterans. Let’s dive into what the devs at Freecell have created.
The Realm of Sproggi
The story begins with you meeting a talking sheep that appeared on your home, the island of Clog. After being lured into this portal you encounter Sproggi, a mischievous forest sprite that has taken you as his prisoner.
His realm is under siege by wild creatures that he needs you to tame. However, as you complete his missions you see his plans fall apart at the rise of another civilization: the Mushrooms. This direct competition becomes your new goal. Take them out and build a new civilization for all the Clogheads to rule.
The story is inspired by Finnish folklore and is full of funny and interesting characters. While the story is slowly presented and is short it adds a lot to the game. Sproggi and his shenanigans and dealings with the Mushroom civilization are humorous and whimsical which adds a lot to the game. Roguelikes can be light on story, so I enjoyed having one here and felt it was the right length.
What a Wonderful World
The environments of Sproggiwood are beautiful. Each map is unique and procedurally generated. In these maps, there are three levels to traverse and a boss at the end. I love that each world is its own environment. You will set off to explore grassy plains, an autumn forest, caves, spider-infested swamps, floating islands, and icy glaciers.
Outside these maps are where you will find the area you are building your new civilization. This stretch of land is pretty bare when you first begin your quest as you continue to advance the story though you will gain new buildings and residents. You’re free to move buildings, farms, and plants however you would like to make your world your own. While none of this is required, it’s interesting and I can see how people could get sucked into this aspect of the game.
Roguelike but Not Quite?
Sproggiwood is close to a traditional roguelike but it does have a few creative choices that seek to make the genre more accessible. The very first change is that death is only semi-permanent with regard to the genre. Death does not signal the end of the game for you. Just the level you’re on. This feature allows for you to truly have a beatable experience and death is not the end of your chances to see what unfolds with your journey.
The next diversion is a little bit of meta progression. I will say this progression is entirely optional, so if you’re a purist at heart don’t worry! The town you rebuild that we covered above has places to use earned gold. You can buy any item you’ve found in-game. This allows you to change your starting loadout for each class. You can also purchase things like increased XP, more loot, extra shrines, and more.
A Handful of Classes
Now any RPG needs to have interesting classes, or at the least unique skillsets, and Sproggiwood has definitely done this. The game has some basic RPG staples for classes but their skills are where things get interesting.
Each of the 6 classes has 4 skills in addition to their basic attack. You get these as you level up and can place 1 point into them per level with each skill having 3 ranks to level. All classes have an “ultimate skill” that you can unlock at level 5.
There are some fun skills that add some unique gameplay to Sproggiwood. Things like the thief’s skillset. This class is about leaving traps, stealth, and swapping places with those you’re attacking. The vampire has you draining blood and changing into clouds of bats to dazzle your enemies. And of course, the wizard will hurl his magic missile at its enemy.
One of my favorite things to get early in a run is an item called “Potion of Identity Crisis.” This scrambles your entire loadout among all skill sets from every class. You could have the farmer’s pitchfork and the thief backstab for example. It even gives you skills to classes you’ve yet to unlock so early game it can give you a glimpse of those locked classes. Of course, this is all random so sometimes it can seriously destroy a run so quaff potions are your own risk.
Lots of ways to play
At first glance, Sproggiwood looks like it has a mobile interface. however, it was released onto PC first and then sent over to iOS and Android devices. What’s great is this game plays amazing on everything it is on. I personally love it on my phone and it’s consistently one of the few games that actually get me to play games on my phone. It’s perfect for short little sessions and the controls and UI just work.
Sproggiwood is a game that fans of traditional roguelikes and newcomers can find hours of entertainment in. The low entry bar makes a historically challenging genre accessible but has plenty of challenges if you want. The classes are fun and bring unique gameplay to each run. The art is adorable and the story had me laughing. This is truly a gem and one you should definitely take a closer look at.