Dev Blog




Mmmmm, Synergies.

Getting an individually interesting mutation might be fun, but there are only so many we can make. Now when they combine with each other - THAT’S the gift that keeps on giving.

Crazy combos that that you’ve never seen before can make a run radically different even when you’ve played a million times before. Cause there are like a billion of ‘em in a good game - if you pick up 20 different mutations/armor/weapon elements on a given run out of a pool of 100, that’s a metric butt-ton of combos (in technical terms*).

If you’ve played roguelikes/roguelites before, you know that these synergies are a key part of what makes the combinatorial games genre so compelling. Whether it’s Nethack’s The Dev Team Thinks of Everything mentality, Binding of Isaac’s Mom’s Knife/Brimstone/Tiny Planet/Soy Milk insanity, or Dead Branch/Corruption letting you lay waste in Slay the Spire, there’s something entrancing about finding near-broken combos that make your run super OP… or that make you die in an insane but new way.

These unexpected combinations of things that mean you can see new stuff even after playing a game for years. So let’s look at what can happen on the first level of a normal run!

Orbit alone

In the first vault room, you might find the Orbit mutation.

Your shots and walloped enemies circle around you, making it a bit tougher to aim. In return, your shots and enemies travel for longer, and you have more “IT” factor - helping with audience reactions, luck, and carnage generation. Also, hitting multiple enemies in one swing can wallop them into each other. Nice!

On its lonesome, Orbit often hurts as much as helps, but in some combos it rocks!

Orbit + Telekinetic Weapon

Next, the fans send a new mutation - Telekinetic Weapon!

Now we can move our sword around separately from our body, letting us cause melee destruction from a distance. We have to learn how to control the game in a new way for the first time though!

And, of course, the things we hit are still affected by Orbit! Tricky - but we’re getting some options…

Orbit, Telekinetic Weapon, and Bubblewand

Oh, the shop had a new weapon - the mighty Bubblewand!

This weapon isn’t very powerful in melee, but holy crap does it pump out a barrage of lightweight laser balls.

Our ability to stay out of the fray and wreak havoc from a distance just went up a bunch, as now we can seek out distant enemies and spam them with a tornado of laser-death.

Orbit, Telekinetic Weapon, Bubblewand, and Spikeball

Finally, the boss dropped Spikeballs!

The Bubblewand still shoots tons of shots, but those have been upgraded to spikeballs which roll around causing damage and can be moved around by melee swings as well.

Our laser whorl is now a spinning spiky death vortex! And of course, that’s just the first level!

We already have very different gameplay than where we stuck with our initial Sword and Harpoons or found a Rocket Launcher, got Multishot, started moving slowly and hitting harder via Brute, or found any of the other synergistic mutations in our current Friends and Family build!

Of course we might find any of those and more on the next level to add to or change our current loadout - that’s the joy of synergies!

Thanks for reading - we’re workin’ hard and enjoying ourselves!

Witness the power of this fully armed and operational battlestation!

* (100!/(20!*80!) if I remember correctly)