Increpare’s magnum opus, Stephen’s Sausage Roll, finally got released yesterday. He started it way back when we lived together in Cambridge, and it’s actually kinda surreal to see it finished, at last. I got to see it grow and change over the years, and see the incredible thought and attention to detail that went into it first hand as he painstakingly iterated over every level and somehow brought this enormous thing together as a cohesive whole.

People are calling it the Dark Souls of puzzle games, which is fitting for lots of reasons – it’s bloody hard, for one – but mostly because, like the original Dark Souls, every part of this thing is deliberate and meticulously designed. It’s a masterpiece.

Stephen’s chosen to be pretty succinct with talking about the game to avoid spoiling its secrets, prefering to let people find out about it through word of mouth. So let me tell you about it. This is one of the best games, of all the games. Go play it right now.

24 thoughts on “Stephen’s Sausage Roll”
  1. People are calling it the Dark Souls of X because people resort to calling literally goddamned anything the Dark Souls of X when they have nothing original or interesting to say about either Dark Souls or X and lack the decency to simply say nothing. It is the cheapest, laziest comparison, and any reasons that follow are inevitably hackwork.

    In your case: “[in Dark Souls]: every part of this thing is deliberately and meticulously designed”

    Bullshit. Lost Izalith is not “deliberately and meticulously designed”. Miyazaki regrets it even getting into the game and insists it was not his fault. Numerous systems were extensively reworked in patches (including an overall DOUBLING of soul gain), so how could they be considered ever “deliberate” or “meticulous”? Everyone knows that everything after Ornstein & Smough is phoned-in and demands creative apologetics.

    Dark Souls was not the last masterpiece in gaming. Dark Souls does not need to be compared to an indie puzzle game that happens to be challenging and also good. Please stop.

  2. You seriously wanna argue that Dark Souls wasn’t meticulously designed just because some details changed after launch? Good luck, dude

  3. Just look at the version history. Actually look at it. Learn something. Click the links to expand the details.


    How “deliberate” and “meticulous” could it have been when EVERY SINGLE MECHANICAL ASPECT OF THE GAME was drastically altered since launch? Oh, and a whole fucking expansion dropped, but let’s forget about that. And forget about the areas that definitely are not well-designed, as mentioned.

    How much does “deliberate” and “meticulous” really mean nowadays, qualitatively? Not very much.

    How “deliberate” or “meticulous” could it have been when they later on decided to double soul gain? To double the rate of progression? That their game was altogether too slow, too sloggy, too punishing, perhaps even unnecessarily grindy (!) and so as to more than DOUBLE the experience gained from everything? But no, just a detail, everything is just details, surely nothing “meticulous” and “deliberate” to be found in details.

  4. And of course Dark Souls was “meticulously designed”, but not “every part of it”. Not even most parts of it. By far the most effort went into the world design, which is the only area where it clearly stands above the sequels. Nobody pretends the mechanics of DaS2 aren’t even MORE “meticulously” tuned, refined, balanced than DaS1, but that’s not what people truly care about in the context of discussion. “Meticulous” is not a universal good.

    Stephen’s Sausage Roll is actually properly meticulous, in that the placement of each tile and object is significant, and any minor modification could render it unwinnable. There will likely not be any design patches for SSR. You can only solve certain puzzles in certain exact ways, whereas Dark Souls is designed so that you can win any fight by ignoring 95% of the game’s systems and tools and simply rolling in any direction and pressing R1 within wide timing and distance windows. The comparison is not only insultingly lazy, it is nonsense.

    You are not the first or five thousandth person to say “the Dark Souls of” carelessly, but someday I hope there will be someone everywhere to ridicule everyone who does it.

  5. The entire meaning of the word “meticulous” is that the details are exact, perfect, intentional. How can it then be “meticulous” when they CHANGE THOSE DETAILS?

    Please stop raping English. She doesn’t want to be abused this way.

  6. If I make you the slightest bit more conscientious the next time you feel tempted to describe anything as “the Dark Souls of”, I have succeeded. It does not matter how impossible or insufferable I am in the process. The phrase must be expunged and the only way to do that is not by reason, but by intensely negative connotation.

    Carry on.

  7. Must be very cool to see a project through like that (and kind of surreal). Great to see how indie devs support each other (yes, I enjoyed the credits), and of course it’s even better when the finished product turns out as good as SSR. Congrats to Stephen and everyone involved 🙂

  8. Oh wow, I’ve had my eye on this game for about 5 years – feels pretty surreal that it’s finally out. Congrats to Stephen for getting it released, looking forward to finding out what it is 🙂

    “I have succeeded. It does not matter how impossible or insufferable I am in the process.”

    This is a pretty interesting insight into why people act like they do on the internet tbh

  9. @Tom

    Before the Internet, it used to be called “by any means necessary”.

    It was the Dark Souls of slogans.

  10. Reading through this was a slog, but I enjoyed it as it felt meticulously planned out. It was the Dark Souls of comment threads.

  11. Pretty sad that even the personal devlogs of one man indie devs aren’t even safe from pedantic trolls…

    But Stephan’s Sausage Roll is certainly a masterpiece among puzzle games. Every puzzle is a struggle, but with each solution I find the process becomes more Natural. If I could personally buy Stephan a beer, I would.

  12. So, to be more constructive here, the game looks pretty cool. But I’m not dropping $30 on a game with no description and zero gameplay shown.

    How many levels? What’s the core mechanic? (yes, rolling sausages, but the video trailer doesn’t show even one example? And what’s the goal?) These bare minimums of explanation would not detract from the experience, and the whole comic sans midi music 1995 website seems to be completely unrelated to the game itself. I find myself asking “What is this?”, and not in a good way.

    My favorite puzzle game to date is Hanano Puzzle, by Qrostar. It has a simple elevator pitch of mechanics and a beautiful visual simplicity of concepts, while simultaneously offering rich complexity and some of the hardest puzzles I have ever experienced in a game. I’m hoping SSR is similar, but the vagueness is a huge put-off. It might be a great game, but the advertisement is really, really bad.

  13. I barely read any games journalism, and I’m already burnt out on every next difficult game being “the Dark Souls of [genre]”. Thanks, stranger, for being willing to criticize lazy and meaningless comparisons for what they are.

  14. Hey peoples, if you are jaded of reading “Dark Souls of…” everywhere, you have to blame the (ridiculous) mainstream game journalism who doesn’t do his job, not a game dev who use the expression one only time, in an actually appropriate case.

  15. I actually agree that a comparison to another well-known thing is often a lazy way out for journalists. And can even make it seem like the new thing isn’t as good as the comparison, because it doesn’t stand on its own legs.

    But the way that was conveyed in this thread was beyond awful, and makes me want to compare that guy to Hitler ironically.

  16. There’s a lot of harsh competitivity between authors, in the face of the apparent mutual compliments.

    This is why I really appreciated the perceivably sincere joy you spoke of Sausage Roll with (and there’s the link to it at the bottom of every page of your site!).

  17. To continue feeding (linking? (sausage link?)) the Dark Souls fire:

    In a way, this game is more like DaS2. Those who’ve horribly failed in the early game of DaS2 like me and reached the 5th world of SSR can probably tell what I mean. Yeah, this isn’t a compliment to DaS2, but it is a compliment to SSR.

    Also, the storytelling mechanics and the story itself have some similarities to DaS and DaS3.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.