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Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos Preview

Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos by Assemble Entertainment is the sequel to the well regarded and long-standing rogue-like Ancient Domains of Mystery (ADOM). Ultimate ADOM is more focused than ADOM, being entirely about dungeon crawling and exploration, while also having a much greater variety of build and character options. 

Ultimate ADOM currently features four different predefined characters as well as the ability to build your own custom characters. The character options for customs are pretty wide. You pick a faction, a gender (from six options), one of four races, and one of five classes, and then have a number of points that varies by class across several categories and twenty six different skill trees. Each class has different access to the different categories, with wizards having the most access to arcane magic, priests to divine magic, warriors to weapons, etc. On level up, characters get access to skill points that they can use for skills in different categories defined by the class. These are mostly obvious based on the character’s role but there are at least a few levels where you have the ability to customize with skills that aren’t normally available, and thus create a unique build. 

The dungeon map screen is where you will spend most of your time. A summary of your character’s stats are provided on one side of the screen and on the other are quick navigation options. At the bottom is game information and special actions. Most interface is handled with simple mouse clicks, with the menu allowing for more specialized actions like spells. 

Most of your time is spent exploring and fighting monsters. You are given access to more loot than you will be able to reasonably do anything with, but you eventually unlock the ability to sacrifice said loot for XP, healing or power points. Which leaves you with an interesting multi-faceted decision about what you want to actually do with the treasure you find in the dungeon. 

There is also a variety of random terrain features that have an equal impact on both allies and enemies. Mushrooms create large AOE effects, traps have the ability to persistently hurt individuals who walk across them, and various furniture impact how you and the enemy engage each other. Certain optional parts of the dungeon have more specific, but very unique features and are frequently quite challenging without having prior knowledge of the threats you will face. 

Equipment and gear is handled in a unique way, with bulk accounted for in the overall amount of stuff you can carry, and overall gear size impacting how you can use equipment. For example, if you are a medium sized character wearing a goblin or kobold’s armor is out of the question but using one of their weapons is a possibility, with a bit of a penalty to attack thanks to how unbalanced it is. Currently the interface for the equipment screen is a bit difficult to work with, but right clicking an item will frequently get you where you need to be even if actual mouse clicks are unsuccessful. 

Currently the game features twenty levels of content with a boss at the end, but the developer’s expect to be rolling out a lot more classes, skill trees, and dungeon levels, with an intended release date before the end of 2021.

Written by
doubt specialized in tactical turn based role playing games, with his particular interest starting with Final Fantasy Tactics and extending from there. He is very opinionated about the subject, and will talk to you endlessly about them on the turnbasedlover's discord.

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