When Your Lights Go Out in the Dungeon
By Brett Wolfe
Reviewed on Xbox One
Released on October 7th, 2016 on Xbox One and PS4, also available on PC
Developer: Black Forest Games Publisher: Black Forest Games
With remakes and remastering being all the rage nowadays, it is no surprise to see developers bringing back older genres as well. Rogue Stormers is one of those titles that have brought an older genre back from the dead to bring forward a fun and unique experience. This title is a rogue-like action run ‘n gun game that was developed and published by Black Forest Games.
The campaign consists of six different levels and features three main bosses. Some of the other levels will consist of mini-bosses that you will fight at the end of each in order to reach the next level. Besides the bosses at the end, each level is randomly generated and, from my experiences, change substantially between playthroughs. The map is grid based on assisting which helps when it comes to finding the boss arena and any other secret areas that may be scattered around the map. While Rogue Stormers is similar gameplay wise to Metroid or Castlevania due to mechanics and difficulty curve that it throws at you. The map layout reminds me more of original Doom or Wolfenstein games due to a large amount of secret areas littered around them. The secret areas contain a variety of perks or abilities that can be purchased but come at a price. For one, there is no way of knowing if you can afford any of the bonuses that are here and in addition, most of the time there is a large group of enemies that block the entrance to the area. There are five playable characters to play as: Brecht, Presto, Camille, Stabbygale, and El Cazador. When starting out, the only character that you are able to play as is Brecht and the other characters are unlocked by beating parts of the game. Each character has their own special ability that enhances their use in combat that changes the gameplay for a limited amount of time. For example, Brecht’s ability allows him to fire his weapon with increased attack speed.
By killing the enemies in this game, your character levels up as many as 60 times. Each time the character levels up, a slot machine appears and you choose which side of the wheel you would like to stop. The gives you a random perk that is permanent to that character throughout every playthrough after it is unlocked. They vary from more starting health to a larger grace period to avoid attacks. In addition, there are various vending machines, prisoners that you can free, and secret areas that will provide you with perks; however they only stay with you until you die or finish that run.
The visuals of Rogue Stormers are quite average. The visuals are appealing to a degree and the massive amount of enemies that can be displayed on the screen at the same time is impressive. The cartoon style of the graphics looks cool, but I don’t feel that they were anything spectacular. The character design has the same appeal as they look cool; however they would not stand out in a crowd. The soundtrack I feel lacks more than graphics do. The music in the background did not seem to change much and the sound effects just do not do the game justice.
In spite of not enjoying the graphics and sound too much, I really did enjoy this game. I will say, the game is frustrating and you will die a lot playing it. Rogue Stormers gave me the feeling that there would need to be a large amount of grinding to have a decent run and that is partially correct. You will want to play and learn the area, learn the bosses moves, and level your character up to fully flesh out the experience. But in the end I think that it is worth it, the game is fun to play and you can get through some of the levels in a short amount of time. Nothing felt better than learning the layout and attacks of the first boss so that I could beat his realm almost perfectly (Ok, I got hit once, but it wasn’t my fault). Or the time that I overcame the one enemy type that kept killing me over and over and over again and preventing me from beating the area. Yes, I got frustrated that I had to restart the game, but it wasn’t a huge setback and I found myself reaching those areas over and over again with ease. I am not the biggest fan of games with this style. I do not like being punished over and over again to beat a fight, but the feeling that I get once I am able to beat that one boss that I feel is mocking me, is a feeling that compares to no other. That is why I liked this title. It was a fun short experience that I could try again and again until I got it right.
This game definitely has its up and down and the price point is a little high. The game is priced at $20 USD, but it is still a phenomenal experience. It is just so much fun to sit down with a couple friends and run through as much of the dungeon as you can and I feel that alone would sell this game to me again. However, in my opinion, if you are thinking to pick this game up, wait for it to go on sale and then it would be the perfect experience for you and your friends. Get ready to kill some goblins!!
Note: A copy of the game was provided for the purpose of this review.
Final Score: 7/10
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