REVIEW | "Roving Rogue" Cannot Rise Amongst Its Bugs
The concept of Padaone Games' Roving Rogue is a nice change of pace. Starting at the end of one's journey and working their way back to the start gives you the chance to see how things came to be, and why some tales are not as straightforward as they appear to be. It's just a shame that a premise this good is stuck in messy title such as this.
Roving Rogue has you take control of Kurt, a rogue who has just thwarted the final boss. His memory is all but gone, and his adventure-filled diary is nothing but gibberish. To find out how he got there Kurt must retrace his steps, collecting objects that will reawaken his memories, and take out knights & goblins whist avoiding the crumbling castles and rising lava.
Kurt's main ability is teleportation, which can help him evade enemies, reach higher areas, and warp through walls and platforms to reach objects and checkpoints. At first this ability comes in rather handy, especially when the lava starts flowing faster the more a level progresses. Grabbing some extra air also gives you the advantage of reaching higher points and collecting the objects needed to revive your past. Sadly it's the teleportation ability's aiming system that keeps the power unreliable, especially in the stickiest of situations.
As speed is key to escaping from the lava and rocks it can get rather difficult getting out of a jam. Case in point: in an early point I had to warp down to collect one of the three objects in each level to reawaken my memory. I had aimed my teleport to the above ledge, with the cross-aim perfectly set atop of the area. Upon activating my power Kurt instead decided to warp next to the wall, plummeting to his hot death. This happened every time I got to this (and other similar) areas, to the point where I was forced to give up and leave that memory forever forgotten.
When playing the vertical levels Roving Rogue has a sort of Kid Icarus vibe to it, as Kurt leaps onto ledges and defeats enemies from behind (the only way he can, as he lacks any other weaponry). Horizontal levels, meanwhile, call upon the boss levels of the first Super Mario Bros. game, albeit with more boulders falls from behind. Its NES-inspired visuals also help with the comparisons, sometimes feeling like a game that belongs nicely in the past.
However despite its cool visuals it doesn't mask the amount of bugs and glitches that I came across while playing. On a few occasions Kurt would find himself stuck on the edge of a platform, taking a few seconds to get him moving again and sometimes leading the hero to an abysmal demise. Controls don't seem to react in the way they should, outside of the teleporting problems. I've found that if I wanted to move Kurt even the tiniest in a certain direction I would have to quickly push my joystick to near-breaking strengths. A couple times I attempted to use just the D-Pad, which acted much worse when I needed to move diagonally.
Roving Rogue isn't all bad, though. As mentioned its story is told rather uniquely from finish to start. Other characters in your world use Twitter to talk to you directly, hinting at heroic deeds and possible betrayal on your behalf. Unlocking your past memories in Kurt's journal also helps to see what hardships your journey has taken you on, showing that your deeds aren't what they seem to be. Unfortunately to find out all that happened you'll have to soldier on in a game that is more frustrating than fun. (The game also sports an offline four-player co-op mode, which due to the lack of people in my area interested in playing Roving Rogue I wasn't able to give a go.)
- Love the premise
- Old-school visuals fitting of its gameplay style
- Character Tweets be humorous at times
- Teleportation is unreliable
- Bad glitches result in unfair deaths
- Controls sometimes unresponsive
Roving Rogue has the misfortune of having a great premise stuck inside of a bad game. With the amount of bugs that you'll come across, the odds of your shouts being of the obscene variation will outweigh the ones that'd be of the victorious kind. In short: a game like 1001 Spikes or The Binding of Isaac may probably be a better fit for those looking for some old-school visuals with that classic difficulty intact, instead of dealing with something as irksome as Roving Rogue.
FINAL GRADE: 4.5 (out of ten)
Wii U review code provided by Gail Salamanca of Strangely Compelling Media
Originally posted on the ESH EGMNOW Page