Fortunately we’re talking about a parasite dimension inside a game, and the only thing it’ll probably leech from you is your time. A House of Many Doors is a 2D exploration game inspired by the likes of Sunless Sea, FTL, Planescape: Torment and Lovecraft – regardless of how the game turns out, at least the developer is tapping into the correct sources of inspiration.
Taking a look at their page I couldn’t help but feel that it really drew inspiration from Sunless Sea, but that’s clarified by the author:
AHoMD is a top-down, vehicle-based exploration RPG with interactive text. It would be silly to deny that Sunless Sea was one of the things that inspired me to make it! (I’ve been clear about that from the start – see my dev log here: http://www.pixeltrickerygames.com/2015/06/23/devlog-tuesday-part-1-5-credit-where-credits-due/)
I think the UI is one of the things that most leaps out to people and makes them think of Sunless Sea a little too strongly. So please bear in mind that this game is pre-alpha! The current UI is clearly far from ideal and I will be making a lot of changes to it before release.
With that in mind, though, I do think AHoMD plays very differently to Sunless Sea. It’s not a roguelike, for example! It has real-time-with-pause combat where crew placement and damage to vehicle components are very important. It is also extremely focused on procedural generation – almost all of the House consists of procedurally-generated architecture, and half of the crew are also procedurally-generated. The player character is a poet, and writing proc-gen poetry is one of the core loops of the game.
If that doesn’t suffice in making you comfortable, Failbetter games themselves have pledged £12,000 and the Kickstarter is just to get funds to add extra stuff.
Your character is both a poet and a journalist, seeking to uncover the mysteries behind the House – the game’s titular parasite dimension – and escape it. As you play, procedural generated poems with names like “The Troglodyte Vomiting of the Mirrors”, which sounds exactly like something I’d write, will be written by your character and are your route to both fame and fortune. You’ll traverse the dimension on a train-with-legs, taking care of your crew and dealing with your enemies in a real-time-with-pause combat system.
I’m a sucker for narrative-driven games in interesting settings, and will be keeping my eye on this as the developer works on it. I greatly enjoyed Sunless Sea despite some design choices I’m not sure I wholeheartedly agreed with, and another game that taps into a similar pool of inspiration, has a fleshed out, interesting setting and many things to discover sounds right up my alley. Let’s hope the developer manages to make a game that stands shoulder to shoulder with Failbetter’s own production.