100 Steps by Endorth Studio
100 Steps is a hex-based tactical adventure game built around a rogue-like system of upgrades and retries.
Such Great heights
Describing itself as a tower-crawler, 100 Steps tasks its protagonists with ascending up the many floors of a vast tower in order to join a pantheon of gods at its peak. Each run is limited to the titular 100 steps; run out of steps or health, and the hero is done for this attempt, but another try is always around the corner.
In the beginning, the only character available to play is “the adventurer,” a typically well-rounded option designed to combine durability with the ability to level up from getting kills.
Getting higher in the tower and achieving various feats leads to more character unlocks; I found the assassin quite enjoyable with his focus on chain-kills to gain short bursts of power. There are plenty of characters to unlock – ten in total – through an assortment of fun challenges.
Each floor plays host to a selection of enemies, treasure chests, obstacles, and friendly creatures.
Chests are a staple of the tower, providing equipment and weapons to help with progression. Many chests have a timer that ticks down with each turn taken; they’ll disappear when their timer runs out, adding a bit of urgency to the looting game. Creatures patrol areas and will close in should a hero wander too near.
Time Keeps on Ticking
The turn system is an ever-present feature of 100 Steps. Every time a hero moves, drinks a potion, attacks, or performs almost any action beyond examining an object, the timer will tick down a step.
There are ways to restore steps, but this constant sense of time ticking away pervades each run. This could be a divisive feature, appealing to some while adding stress for others. The turn-based nature of the timer does at least allow you to explore at your own pace.
Beyond weapons (which all have a limited number of uses) and other expendable items, 100 Steps also features a collection of trinkets that provide perpetual boons such as additional movement speed, higher damage, and improved health. Each hero also has a way of improving their own stats as they ascend, providing another way to prepare for the tougher, higher levels.
Every few floors a boss will be waiting, the door to the next floor locked until they are vanquished. These prevent players from avoiding combat in favor of dashing for the next door; it’s important to get stronger as you ascend.
100 Steps is backed with catchy piano ditties, and the aesthetics are appealing enough, if a little rough around the edges. It is sometimes difficult to parse the source of incoming damage when a floor is cluttered with objects and foes.
That said, the environments are appealing and the sound design can be good fun; I’m sure the chest-opening sound effect was inspired by the little “bop” of destroyed enemies in Sonic the Hedgehog.
100 Steps is a fun take on the Rogue-like genre; the relaxed turn-based system coupled with the pressure of limited steps makes for an interesting combination.
The visuals can be a little busy at times, and it’s easy to overlook a ranged enemy attacking when there’s a lot going on, but overall this is a tidy little adventure experience that offers a fair bit of replay value through its unlockable items and characters.
100 Steps is available via Steam.
Check out the official trailer for 100 Steps below: