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  Skills = Thrills 03:34 PM -- Tue January 10, 2023  

(For me anyway!) The 3rd in-game progression system in Broken Build Simulator is a classic, but not generally present in Roguelite games: a skill tree!

You will select your Hero and Ability before you begin the game (or choose Random for a good time!), and your Hero provides you with the 15 skills in blue here, while your Ability gives you the 5 green skills on the right. I've been showing you The Bug Queen for months now, and it's time we spiced that up, so here is the first new hero (and the one that belongs to 20 Minutes 'Til Lunch, which I am trying to properly fill out), Condiment!



This is actually a character from what I sort of consider to be my first real game, Mucho Kombat, which I made in high school. In case you can't tell, that was a fighting game, and Condiment was just a big green blob with Hamumu eyes. Back in those days, I could create a game and eventually break it in such a way that it was just gone. I couldn't make it work anymore and the game no longer existed, except for any earlier executables I had. Such was the case for Mucho Kombat, which had a roster of probably around 10 characters, with a huge assortment of moves, and massive sprays of blood all across the screen (one of the key selling points to differentiate from Mortal Kombat was that the blood in my game didn't disappear, it stayed for the entire fight!). Also the characters were around 20 pixels tall. It was a tiny game.

But enough nostalgia, Condiment is being reborn in Broken Build Simulator (and he is even less than 20 pixels tall this time...)! Each Hero begins with a unique feature, before you even get to the skill tree. Condiment's feature is that every enemy he kills drops a Pepper on the ground. When you press a certain button, all the Peppers explode at once, so it's like mines you can decide when to detonate.

Heroes effectively have 3 'skill lines', which you can mix and match as you wish. Condiment's 3 lines are Melty Cheese, Nutrients, and Peppers. Like probably every hero, that last skill line is all upgrades to his unique feature. In this case, the peppers can do more damage, ripen over time for increased damage and radius, get picked up by your bullets and carried to detonate on impact, heal you when you touch them, and deal increased damage when you explode more at once. The Nutrients line is a little strange, in that it makes the game harder in some ways. It makes enemies that hit you ("eat you") become Champion enemies, which we haven't discussed, but you've played Diablo, you know how it works! Then it gives you a lot of bonuses when fighting Champions and rewards for beating Champions. The Melty Cheese line is all about a timed buff - every so often, nacho cheese will fall from the sky at a random location and you need to get under it before it hits the ground so it lands on you and makes you stronger for a while. Like real life.

Then of course there is the 4th skill line, which is brought in by whichever ability you equip. I haven't made Condiment his own ability yet, so right now he has Shell equipped, which is The Bug Queen's. It simply makes you invulnerable for a little while, which is always nice. The upgrades for it make it last longer, be usable more often, reflect bullets that hit you, heal you when used, and most fun of all, run over enemies for massive damage while it's active.

So all in all, skill trees are good fun, but you'll certainly explore all they have to offer fairly quickly, unlike the more randomized elements. But you'll still have different options to focus on - do you want to make a cheesy Condiment, or ramp your Peppers up to maximum power? So even once the tree doesn't feel new anymore, it still has a nice purpose - it takes the selection of heroes and multiplies it because you can make variations on the hero.
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