Review #15: KGoldrunner (Linux)

When I stayed at a family member’s house a few months ago, cell phone reception, not to mention internet access, was pretty hard to find, so I’ve brought my laptop and some books to beat boredom. There’s one game that I played regularly during those times: KGoldrunner.

KGoldrunner is a KDE port of Lode Runner, the classic platformer/puzzle game where you can run, climb, and dig holes to collect gold and avoid enemies. An enemy that falls into a hole loses his gold, and if the hole closes before he gets out, he dies and reappears on another side of the level.

(Note: The screenshots in this review uses KGoldrunner’s ‘Nostalgia’ theme, which more resembles the original Lode Runner, instead of the default ‘The Treasure of Egypt’ theme. You can change the theme on Settings->Change Theme)

The game helpfully guides you the rules through an introductory level set. The default control is by mouse – the hero follows the cursor’s movement. Since I’m a laptop user, I found this annoying, but fortunately, I can also use arrow keys. Digging is done by Z (left) and C (right). If the game is a little too fast/slow for you, or if you found the controls uncomfortable, you can change it from the Settings menu.

I’ve never played the original Lode Runner, only this web version and XScavenger (an older Linux clone), but I noticed one thing that those versions doesn’t have, and I’m pretty sure the original doesn’t as well: you can dig while running. When I’m running from enemies, I can leave a line of holes for them to fall into over and over again until they die without slowing my pace. This can make the game a little too easy for you (or annoying when the enemy reappears right above/on the same spot as your hero).

Once you’ve understood how the game works, you can play by selecting one of the many level sets. There are two kinds of them; traditional and championship. The championship levels usually have more complicated layouts, more enemies, and faster level speed. Some level sets also work according to KGoldrunner’s own rules, which has a slightly smarter AI (which made the enemies able to track you both horizontally and vertically, instead of only the latter). It also allows you to ‘dig while falling’ which is exactly what it sounds like.

You can save your game, although it doesn’t always restore it to the exact level where you left the game. Most of the time, it restores your game to a level or two behind your actual level. When you save your game, your previous games are not removed.

As fitting one of the first video games to have a level editor, KGoldrunner allows you to create your own levels and level sets, although you can’t export them.

nochka2

Conclusion

Lode Runner is an awesome game, and I think that KGoldrunner is the best Lode Runner clone available. It’s simple and smooth, the controls are convenient and customizable, there are lots of levels available (you can also make your own), and it’s open source. It’s pretty disappointing that I don’t see many mentions of this game. The only thing I found annoying is that Kgoldrunner sometimes restores my game on the wrong level.

KGoldrunner is not an exact clone of Lode Runner. The play area is a little bigger, the AI is different, and being able to dig while running/falling might make the game easier to beat. If you’re a purist, you might like XScavenger better, or maybe play the original game using an emulator or some other means.

Kgoldrunner can be installed from Ubuntu’s app repository:

sudo apt install kgoldrunner

P.S: Is there anyone who think that an action/fantasy/thriller movie based on Lode Runner would be pretty good? I still can’t imagine how could one create a movie about Tetris.

Pros:

  • Many level sets
  • Customizable controls, themes, and speed
  • Level editor
  • Challenging AI

Cons:

  • Saved game resumes on the wrong level

Suggestions:

  • Ability to import and export custom levels

 

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