Sunday, 28 April 2013

Rogue's Tale Review

Rogue's Tale by is a brutal, addictive and highly punishing rogue-like game. When I say brutal I really mean it. However, it is brutal in a nurturing kind of way. It shows you what to do then throws hordes of monsters at you ask as "Why did you just die, you fool?". I'm not alway sure whether Rogue's Tale thinks I can win against the odds by doing something different, or just enjoys watching me die after moving two spaces and die to what at first seems like a fairly harmless rat. Despite being cruelly treated and dying more than 100 times, why am I compelled to keep trying?

The main reason is that against all the odds I really want to win. Maybe this is just my own stubborn streak, but I really think that the game hold a great deal of content just waiting to be unlocked. If I have to go through several hundred lives, by gosh I am going to see that content.

Initially in Rogue's Tale you choose your starting stats in: strength, agility, stamina and charisma is going to be. These stats can then be upgrade when your character levels up. On top of this, every 3 levels your character gains it learns a trait by using specific objects in the game. These objects range from magic stones (which allows you to advance magically), to a campfire (that makes you more like a warrior). However, choose wisely as you cannot change this decision and can only have a certain number of traits. Once you unlock traits in a specific category such as literacy, you unlock an achievement that allows further characters to "inherit" this ability. This means that even if your hero dies you can (if you managed to progress far enough), retain some of what you battled your way through hordes of deadly enemies to gain. Rogue's Tale interesting way of linking your previous heroes to your current hero is a novel and interesting idea. The only hardship being that it is difficult to progress far enough to gain these benefits. Although, once you do it makes progression easier and enhances the chance you will live long enough to unlock further "heritage" skills.

Rogue's Tale is technically turn based with each decision, movement and attack taking a turn. Your total number of turns and a range of other statistics are provided upon your death, alongside your overall score and a short sentence that basically tells you how good/rubbish you did. When attacking and performing other interactions the game rolls two virtual six sided dice. Everything decision within Rogue's Tale is decided on the roll of a dice. This retro system works great but does mean that early and low levels monster can kill you easily because they were lucky enough to roll a six.

There are so many different types of weapons, skills and abilities in Rogue's Tale that you can play your character however you wish. Although, I have found that I need a shield. Most of my early deaths have been the result of being poorly equipped. This can leave you at the whimsy of a game that may not want to give you any armour at all. In this case you are either very lucky and find enough gold to purchase something from the shop or a merchant, or you die to one thing or another.

The main shop in the game stocks a vast range of items that steadily increase in price and power. You can also enchant, remove curses and identify items in order increase the benefits from equipping them. The main shop is directly up the stairs in which you start the game on. This can mean unless you find a merchant several floors down, you can end up having to run all the way back to make room for new items. However, it can make the whole game feel more like an adventure since dungeons don't, or shouldn't, have conveniently placed shops. On the flip side of this it can be very annoying having to run all the way back. However, I have rarely survived long enough for this to be an issue. Yet I keep playing. Curious, no?

Despite Rogue's Tale and it's rabid difficulty, it is highly addictive and has a "Oh, just one more character" feel that many games lack. This combines well with the heritage of certain traits making further character more powerful and more likely to live longer. A great blend of exploration, item collection and character development makes Rogue's Tale nothing short of brilliant. I must admit that the difficulty will turn off many people. Many people will struggle to progress and will feel it has nothing to offer since the game is so unforgiving. However, the game won't let them actually reach a point where they can see what the game offers, but it has a lot to offer the right person.

Score: 80/100

General Information

Game Name - Rogue's Tale
Developer -
Genre - Action, Adventure, RPG, Rogue-like
Bundle - Indie Bundle - The Hellish Dungeons Bundle