Asymmetrical multiplayer is something that's really going to take off in the near future from the look of things, with titles like Turtle Rock's Evolve leading the charge.
But smaller developers -- outfits like the two-person Melbourne-based indie setup Powerhoof -- are getting in on the action, too, and as ever the indie space's charmingly lo-fi take on the idea has the potential to be just as enjoyable, if not more so, than the most polished triple-A experience.
Enter Crawl, then, from the aforementioned Powerhoof. Crawl is a four-player game in which one player controls a hero character, while up to three others control ghostly figures that can possess the monsters and traps of the dungeon. Should the hero character be killed, they'll become one of the ghosts, and the one who killed them will be reincarnated as the next hero. The process then repeats until someone wins by reaching at least level 10, passing through a portal and surviving a boss fight.
This rather brilliant trailer explains it all quite nicely:
It's not quite a full-on roguelike; when you die, your character stats and equipment are saved, so the next time you manage to defeat the current hero you'll be able to pick up where you left off. In other words, if you were level 6 and equipped with a crossbow when you died, you'll be level 6 and equipped with a crossbow when you come back.
The game is designed to be highly replayable and quick to play, with rounds taking only about half an hour or so -- levelling is a very quick process -- and environments, items and monsters being randomly generated each time. At present, the game is only guaranteed to have local multiplayer; the developer is hoping to incorporate online play, but isn't making promises yet. Likewise, the game is only confirmed for PC at present, but Powerhoof is looking into publishing on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U.
The game launched a Steam Greenlight page yesterday, and the game has already made it through the process. Expect an Early Access build for PC, Mac and Linux "soon" with a full release coming in the first half of this year.