Tales of Maj’Eyal, developed by DarkGod and Netcore Games, is a procedurally generated, roguelike role playing game. Developed and produced by DarkGod as an almost solo project based on other roguelikes such as the Angband series, ToME can be played with a customized tileset or in traditional ASCii mode for those wanting a more authentic roguelike feel.
One thousand years have passed since the Spellblaze scorched the continent of Eyal and burned the fear of magic into all with memory enough to remember. The Orcish invasions that sparked the cataclysm ended in blood and fire, the Orcs are nearly extinct as a result. Wizards and mages are seen as a thing to be feared and monsters to be slain by the populace. One thousand years of recovery and still the world is not safe as old, long forgotten powers move beyond the veil of reality. Orcs appear for the first time in a thousand years on the continent of Eyal, dark cults abduct women, vampire lords amass legions of undead, mad archmages unleash ruinous thunderstorms for fun, and you start your journey as a lone warrior amongst a torment that threatens to tear the fabric of the universe apart.
Tales of Maj’Eyal’s gameplay is turn based giving you time to observe the situation and make informed decisions before performing an action, whether it is to cleave a skeleton or launch a deadly spell at a distant foe. ToME is a roguelike, meaning there are elements of permanent death within its gameplay. This means that if you die, your progress is over and you start at the beginning again. Permanent death is not absolute, however, as you can choose settings before starting the game to set how many lives you have before permanent death triggers. There are also items within the game that have the ability to save you from an inevitable demise as well. The options are: explorer, which lets you die as many times as necessary in order to finish; adventurer, which gives you a set amount of lives at the start plus extra lives as you level up and roguelike, which is the titular one death allowed mode. These death options tie into the experience of ToME along with the actual difficulty settings. Tales of Maj’Eyal has five difficulty settings starting with easy and normal with nightmare, madness, and insane being unlockable as you beat the game.
Gameplay options for ToME are many and varied. At the start you are given few options for a starting character in race and class to play as. Human, Elf, Halfling, and Dwarf are racial options with variants of each being available for different styles of play. Warrior, Mage, and Rogue are class menus available at the start which give options like Berserker, Archmage, and Rogue as starter options among other things. Once you are in the game and exploring the world of Maj’Eyal variability keeps growing with hundreds of thousands of randomized items to pick up and use.
Despite the constant threat of death ending a run in Tales of Maj’Eyal, there is a large pool of replayability options in the form of class, race, and birth. Simply by playing the game you can unlock more content and experience new things. Unlock the chance to play as an Ogre, Skeleton, or the secretive Yeek; play as a Wyrmic harnessing the powers of dragons, command undead legions as a Necromancer, bring the power of the sun to your enemies as a Sun Paladin or even purposefully create time paradoxes as a Paradox Mage. The possibilities are nearly endless.
ToME has two expansions that add another layer to the gameplay. Ashes of Urh’Rok adds the demon inspired class of Doombringer and addition unlocks along with a side-quest storyline for characters created as Doombringer. Embers of Rage is a full expansion that adds a campaign the length and breadth of the original and lets the player play as an Orc on the eastern continent in the aftermath of the Scourge of the West. The base game of Tales of Maj’Eyal is free to play and available to download at te4.org, but in order to be able to buy the expansions, ToME needs to be purchased either by donation on the website or through Steam.
– Isaac Dymock