Necropolis by Harebrained Schemes is both beautiful and punishing: just what you want from the roguelike genre.

Long ago, the archmage Abraxis built an elaborate, shifting structure called the Necropolis to store all of his magical items, treasures, and experiments. Abraxis then vanished, and ever since his structure has drawn treasure hunters from around the world. This is intentional: the Necropolis uses the souls of adventurers to keep the lights on, so to speak. Many go in, none come out.

You play as an adventurer who has decided to throw their hat into the ring, so to speak. The others died, but surely you can make it…

The Necropolis is controlled by a magical intelligence called The Brazen Head. The Brazen Head was invented by Abraxis. “He’s kind of like Jarvis from Iron Man,” explained Christopher Kohnert, Necropolis’s technical director. Like Jarvis, except a little…off. He’s been alone for a long, long time. The Brazen Head narrates your quest with quippy commentary.


As advertised, this game is very hard. Every time you die (and you will die many times), you reappear at the beginning of the Necropolis, and the entire structure has rearranged itself. Get ready to get lost.

I played Necropolis for about 15 minutes and I died at least four times. I learned very quickly that running away is a viable option. As I went along, looking for loot and magical beacons, I encountered tons of different kinds of enemies: some that were missing heads (and so only noticed me when I got very close), some that shot at me from a distance (these ones were very hard to escape), and some that looked…well, they looked a lot like me. Those ones were other explorers who had been “infected.” An ominous fate, for certain.

Right now Necropolis is planned for release only on PC, Mac, and Linux, but Kohnert explained to me that it was really designed with consoles in mind. In fact, it doesn’t even have keyboard controls (for now). No consoles are confirmed as of yet. You can look for it in early 2016.

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Courtney is Pixelkin's Associate Managing Editor. While working with the Girl Scouts of Northern California, she mentored young girls in teamwork, leadership, personal responsibility, and safety. Today, she spends her time studying adolescent development and using literary analysis techniques to examine video games.