I am getting older and should be looking for easier games with more reasonable learning curves that better suit my play times. Instead I am continuing on the self destructive path of games like Dark Souls, and more recently, The Legend of Grimrock. Many others have deemed Grimrock, the first true successor (in genre and playstyle) to the 1986 Dungeon Master. Dungeon Master was a realtime, first person, grid style, puzzle filled dungeon crawl with minimal hero customization where you raised your stats and skills through use and actions, rather than a traditional experience based levelling system. Grimrock uses the latter, but everything else still feels like a polished portal to the old school.
I am very close to the end of the game (though Diablo III and a new house are really slowing my progress) but I hope to wrap it up soon. The learning curve is not too steep and the tutorial is about 4 postage stamp sized pictures, but the game makes up for gameplay simplicity with clever puzzles, hidden areas and challenging monsters. Not to mention a hardcore mode which removes your in game map in favor of you getting out some graph paper and a pencil I assume this means you will have to go a local Staples or Office Depot cause.... I certainly don't have these archaic devices in my abode).
All that being said, I love the simple old-timey feel. I enjoy the tense feelings of being super limited in my options, having to outrun enemies or trick them into traps or even corral them in locked rooms. Plus the story and dream sequences are interesting enough to keep me engaged and wondering what the end of my journey will actually be. Apparently some other people played this and they have opinions about what they experienced:
Patrick Hancock at Destructoid is crawling dungeons (9.5/10): “ Whether this brings back fond memories of Dungeon Master or is completely new to you, I can easily say that this title delivers.”
Nathan Grayson at Joystiq hacks and slashes ( ): “Much like those 8-bit bites of role-playing bliss, Grimrock leaves nearly everything to the imagination. Who are these four prisoners, what did they do to deserve this frequently fatal, square-by-square dungeon crawl, and why is one of them a minotaur? “
Eric Neigher at Gamespot is busting out the graph paper( ): ”Grimrock is decidedly old-school, right down to including a PDF of graph paper for drawing your own maps.”
Grimrock can be obtained via download on Steam or at Good Old Games ( www.gog.com ). And the price is right at around $15 USD at the time of this writing.