Game Reviews, Gaming, Indie Games

Retroid II: The Return of the Rogue-Like – Star Rogue


First let me spoil the score and explain myself.

Score: 5/10
Now.. Before I get strung up by indie-diehards let me say this is a perfectly acceptable score.
A passing grade.
Little Timmy gets promoted with his classmates.
Stay tuned for the full explanation.

A Meta-goal wrapped in an accomplishment-vania and served with a scoop of nostalgia:
Remember the Nintendo-hard era? When a blue robot had to ride platforms that could drop him mid air? When a sure-footed plumber might meet his end on a slippery landing? Where a young man could pop his name into a code dialog and find out the most badass bounty hunter in the galaxy was also a lady? You ‘membah? If you don’t that’s just fine too. Because you’ve had a glimpse into that world via online game shops on all major platforms that resell these classics and a few similar offerings from indies. Star Rogue is of the latter bunch. An indie game that manages to put the fear of Nintendo-hard back into gamers.

Take it easy like Sunday morning:
Earlier versions of this game were not as tough. On normal difficulty you might have trouble getting out of the first room. To get used to the controls I would suggest setting your first play through to the “Easy” setting. The characters movements can be difficult to gauge properly without experience. Remap controls if you must. Navigating with your little hero is going to be a learning process and the curve on Normal mode is steep enough to make a veteran gamer reconsider their settings. Rooms change and so do the mobs in them. With time and effort you’ll see how rooms get reused and how the monsters interact with those rooms. By the time you’ve met two bosses you’ll feel like you are on familiar territory 90% of the time.

If it’s not an improvement it’s not an upgrade:
After you defeat a room of baddies you’ll be offered a nice freebie. Prioritize anything that extends your life. In this way Star Rogue is reliant on RNG like another well loved indie that rhymes with Winding My Last Sock. The right goodies applied at the right time could make the game as easy or difficult as you like once you switch back to Normal mode. But you gotta learn what they do and how to use them. Once properly upgraded your hero will be like a golf cart of death careening through a busy airport filled with people made of gelatin dessert mix. This is true at the harder settings as well. All that really changes is what you need to avoid and how many times you gotta hit the baddie before they pop.

Please see me after class:
Considering this is the effort of a one man dev team the game is pretty solid. That said the¬†game could use some help on a few things. The platforms tend to be slippery. Trying to land on a narrow one could end in disaster. Or it could end in a very funny clip of your hero bunny hopping off both sides repeatedly before finally coming to a rest somewhere off center. The wall jump has no prelude. There’s no way to tell if your hero is close enough to perform a wall jump sometimes resulting in a bad jump and death. The heros pass on without much ceremony. Losing a hero is no where near as frustrating if you find a unique and entertaining way to show the player their goof. It could be any short death animation. Depending on context. Being vaporized by a plume of fire. Swelling like a balloon as a monster punctures your environmental suit. Your circuits being fried from exposure to lava. A floor saw mangling a soldier’s legs. Make those entertaining enough and players will try to find all the possible ways to meet their maker.

Alfa Lima Papa Hotel Alfa
The game’s version is still in the 0.3x stages. The game is in an alpha state. The dev might pull up stakes after losing interest. So I must insist; ¬†caveat emptor. Be very aware of what you are buying. If you decide to spend only 30min playing in normal mode you are doing yourself and the game a disservice. Before you run back to Valve and try to get a refund spend an hour using the Easy setting and a character that suits your play style. When you beat that setting a few times you’ll have better timing with your jumps. Also having a friend along will help. The game supports couch multiplayer so you can have a buddy take a few shots for the team while you get your bearings.

And the Survey said!

At the current price:
If you want a real challenge you are in for a good time. Take the opportunity to prepare.
If you just want a game you can jump into and enjoy then look at other indies. Rogue likes are notoriously hard.

On sale:
Same applies. If you want it you’re just getting a better deal on it.

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