May 6, 2014
If there was an award for the best, simplest roguelike there is, Retro Rogue would have won it. Let me rephrase that. If Retro Rogue was any simpler, you’d only require a couple of dice to play it. I’m not against coffee-break roguelikes, but this is a bit too much, even though the game is really well done.
The player, as usual, needs to descend down an incredibly deep dungeon and fight some ancient evil â€“ the usual business. There are lots of monsters to beat and lots of loot to uncover, but it’s all very railroaded. The dungeon is randomly generated, but in the end, the question is whether you will have enough health potions to heal yourself before someone kills you. The player has only three stats: health, defense, and attack. There is also differing speed, but I didn’t see any item that changes that. The player has an inventory and an array of equippable items like shields or boots, but they all go towards improving those three basic stats. Although there are lots of weapons, they also don’t change anything.
There’s no ranged weaponry, no magic, no buffs or debuffs â€“ there’s simply no tactical part in Retro Rogue, apart from the old â€œstand in the doorway and kick the enemy in frontâ€ strategy. The only potions are health potions that immediately refill some health, and the enemies are all the same, as well. They have different speed, health and attack, but they don’t freeze or poison or anything â€“ they just tick you until you or they die. Speaking of which, the only time I died was when I forgot to drink a health potion â€“ that’s right, the monster-bashing got so repetitive that I actually forgot to stay alive.
Retro Rogue isn’t bad â€“ it’s a great small time-killer that has a variety of different monsters and items, and it definitely feels like a roguelike. But exactly because the game is so well done, it’s apparent that it lacks any depth and very few mechanics. I still suggest it if you’d like some simple roguelike RPG action, and it’s perfect for people who are new to roguelikes, but I really wish there was a more varied sequel in the works.
P.S. Totally forgot to mention. The â€œretroâ€ part comes in the form of a slider that makes the game look like it’s played on a very old TV. The effect is neat, but holds no changes to the gameplay.