Streets of Rogue Early Access Review
Streets of Rogue is a rogue-lite game from developer Matt Dabrowski and publisher tinyBuild. The game throws you into the seat of one of a huge cast of characters and tasks you with venturing into a procedurally generated world to complete whatever task is put in front of you. Think of it like Binding of Issac with more RPG elements incorporated.
While Streets of Rogue provides quite a lot of content for the asking price, it still has a bit of an identity crisis when it comes to the gameplay. Streets of Rogue swings for the fences and doesn’t miss entirely but falls just slightly short of the classic games that inspired it.
When beginning the game, you are greeted by a resistance leader who challenges you to complete an obstacle course in order to join the group, boasting about the difficulty of it all. Of course, these tasks are mundane like using the WASD keys and opening doors, but this brief tutorial and introduction to the story is witty and cunning, making these necessary precursors a joy to breeze through.
This resistance was built underground to fight the tyrannical rule of the Mayor of the city where the game takes place. Beyond that, it’s all just about taking down the Mayor who allegedly raised taxes and bought himself a bunch of booze (sounds familiar).
While story isn’t the strong suit of most rogue-lite games, it was disappointing to not see a little context for the story. With the off-the-wall nature of the game, the story misses on a big opportunity to ground the title and make things like gorilla roaming around the streets and masked executioners hanging out in the slums a bit more believable.
This isn’t to say that Streets of Rogue needs extended story and lots of dialogue, but the world that the game sets up doesn’t fit what comes out of it later. Comparing it to Binding of Issac, where each of the wild things within the world make sense because of the context, Streets of Rogue ends up looking like a lot of ideas thrown together and a story slapped on.
Streets of Rogue certainly isn’t the first game with a retro aesthetic and it certainly won’t be the last. While the stereotype is even more solidified with Street of Rogue, the visuals are enough to satisfy. Much like many other “retro-inspired” titles, the game’s visuals are pixelated with a little extra glam around the edges to make sure you know the game is still modern.
Overall, I just kind of responded to the visuals as”meh”. They aren’t bad, but they certainly aren’t something new. While the visuals don’t hurt the experience, they don’t drive the game forward either, a trait that is critical for minimalist design.
The music within Streets of Rogue is one of the most attractive features. The music hits you in the face from the title screen and doesn’t let up for the duration of the game.
The music, much like the visuals, is retro inspired and while it doesn’t induce much nostalgia for me personally, it is enough to make the experience overall better. As far as visuals and sound go, it’s always important to look if they enhance the overall experience. In the case of the soundtrack of Streets of Rogue, this seems to be the case.
The core of Streets of Rogue, however, lies in the gameplay. The game attempts to throw together rogue-lite elements from The Binding of Issac, and RPG elements from games like Deus Ex. Thankfully, this isn;t just marketing mumbo-jumbo. The game does blend rogue-lite and RPG genres well, offering procedurally generated levels with a common task, and enough exploration and item gathering to be closer to an RPG.
Throughout my playtime, I often found myself fighting to get through my main task just so I could explore more. This is largely just attributed to how I play games, so there is a promise that Streets of Rogue can offer enough for multiple different kinds of gamers.
With that being said, the single-player experience can be a bit lonely. While it certainly isn’t bad, Street of Rogue is truly experienced when playing with other people. With Co-op support online or locally with up to four players, the game offers plenty of options to take on the city with a group of friends, which is the true experience of Streets of Rogue.
For the Aficionado
Street of Rogue is a solid new entry from Matt Dabrowski and tinyBuild. The core gameplay wins out in the end and is ultimately the strongh point of the game. However, outside of this core gameplay, the game feels more thrown together rather than well thought out. The story suffers from it’s lack on integration in the game, and the graphics end up just coming off as something that gamers have seen a million times before. While Streets of Rogue wouldn’t be my first choice for a rogue-lite game, it’s enough to make the game an enjoyable experience. I would buy Streets of Rogue, but would probably wait until it goes on sale.
- Great Soundtrack
- Lackluster Story