TINY KEEP : Begin Your Daring Escape
is a Delightful Dungeon Delve in reverse. Designed by Phi of PhiGames and Published by Digital Tribes Games.
The object of the game is to escape from the Pershdal Dungeon, following in the footsteps of Maggie, the girl that
left you to sleep while she took off to safety, leaving you to traverse through the perilous passages all on your own.
On your own, except for the hundreds of Monsters and Nasties.
As you awake you stumble on tired feet to find a message left from Maggie. She has opened the door of the cell
and has began her journey to freedom without you. Burning in the cell is an open brazier, one kick and over it goes
which can cause you problems getting through the door, but if kicked over when a guard arrives it may burn and kill
him. Best not to wait for the guard though. The key to success in Tiny Keep is to keep moving.
Back to the start: Okay once the game is ready you need to create a character. This is simple. You decide on a name,
what type of head - hairy, bald, with beard, without beard, with or without moustache and with orr without headgear.
In other words: Hooded, bearded, Arab style turban and wrap, clean shaven or with facial hair.
Then you choose the head colour (this is actually only for the colour of the headgear - bald heads do not change colour).
After Head colour it is Skin colour, then Jacket and finally Trouser colour. Now you are ready. Each time you begin, as
in when your character dies, you return here to this screen. You can create a new character or simply a new game - the
dungeon is different every time whatevr your selection.
If you select OPTIONS you can adjust brightness and volume etc but there are no control settings. I didn't find out what
the control keys were until the second level up when a notice appeared telling me to Press H for controls. By then of course
I had already worked out that WASD moved the character and that running over items picked them up or used them. Food
gives some health back, potions give lots of health back, find a sword and it automatically appears in your right hand and
the shield will put itself in your left hand - use the opposite mouse buttons for these items (ie Left button for Attack and the
Right button for Defence).
The game is played in real time so when you press TAB to bring the map up - this will cover the central view of the dungeon
and prevent you seeing your character - the game continues to run, there is no pause.
As you kill monsters and guards they drop Donuts which are the currency of the game. You will need these for important actions
so donut waste them (sorry for bad pun but I just had to do it). From the lower level you can go up one level simply by going
around the teleport light. On other levels you need to pay the required number of Donuts (100 from level 1 to level 2 etc. ).
Destroying barrels and boxes, jars and other debris may also knock out some Donuts. Speaking of the dungeon debris, the boxes
and other bits and bobs that lay on the floor can get in the way when an archer is firing at you, mainly making it harder for you
to get to the Archer and hit him with your sword.
The Artificial Intelligence is reasonably good, in fact for a game of this genre, it is very good. Archers back away to fire at you,
Barbarians run towards you, both run away from you if you hit them a couple of times - you have to pursue and destroy them if
they are injured. It should be noted that until you have a weapon you cannot fight. There is no punching or kicking which is a bit
weird if you think about it,
If you die you go right back to the beginning and start aghain - any Donuts or equipment you had is gone. This hurts after an
hour of play when you find yourself low on health and facing a Big Boss Monster.
There are numerous other prisoners in the dungeon, these are either in cells or cages. You can release them but don't be surprised
if they then turn on you and you have to kill them. Once you get to a gateway to the next level DO NOT (not DONUT !!!) take it
unless you have full health. Run round till you find a flask or plate of food but heal up first as there is generally an end of level
style opponent ready to prevent you continuing. End of level Monsters or Bosses are a lot stronger than you and very much faster;
you cannot run away from them so don't try (unless you are hurt and running to a health bonus) as they will continue to thump you
from behind as they keep up with you with ease. For example: There is a gate on Level One where Maggie has left you a note telling
you that there is a big guard who holds the key to the note. Until you read this note you will not trigger the big guard, so make sure
you are fully fit and, if possible, know the route to a healing potion, before you read the note.
The graphics and entertainment value of this KICKSTARTED game (apparently Phi got £26000 which was more than enough for
him to finish the game and also shell out on special items for higher backers) are phenominal. The walls look solid, the debris moves
when knocked into, fire continues to burn, bodies stay where they fall. Monsters will fight guards if you lead them into each other
and all adversaries that run away are likely to run into the spinning spiked hammers, often falling and jamming the movement of
these dangerous crossroad blockers.
Overall this is a super fun game that will have you on the edge of your seat and screaming at the monitor when you make the all
important error that puts you back to the beginning. I will admit to it being frustratingly addictive, but that I have managed to just
about control my addiction and play it in small sessions, mainly because I keep dying and get all Grrrr'd at the game and want to
throw things at it.