By Jason Quinn / April 11th, 2017
Streets of Rogue is an interesting addition to the roguelite genre. The game unabashedly takes after Deus Ex. As such, rather than running through levels, mowing down enemies along the way, this game takes a calmer approach. Streets of Rogue takes place in a city run by a corrupt mayor, and you play as a member of the local resistance to overthrow him. Fortunately, the city in question is made up of stacked layers, making it perfect for a roguelite.
Each floor of Streets of Rogue is populated with various NPCs, buildings, and items to collect. Stuff isn’t just ripe for the taking though, you will likely make some people angry in the process. You can either embrace this and gun down anyone that gets in your way, or find some alternative methods. Unlike most roguelites, you can’t just go down to the next floor, you have to complete certain objectives first. As of now, the objectives are either killing someone, retrieving some item, or blowing something up. In addition, random events like prison riots can happen, which makes things more interesting.
Starting off, you select a class, each one having different starting items and special abilities. The best one to start with is the soldier, as it gives you plenty of firepower. An interesting class is the hacker class, which allows you to hack into electronic things and control them. The hacker can do things like blow up TVs or control security systems. This allows you to approach things more indirectly. While there is a lot of shooting in this game, the challenge isn’t weaving around bullets, but rather managing a limited supply of ammunition. You really need to think about how to approach each situation. Firing off a machine gun might be less effective than some carefully planted explosives. You can also hire goons to help out in your objectives.
The graphics consist of simple pixel art. It’s not a very graphically demanding game, so lower end machines can run this just fine. Everything is just detailed enough to be able to recognize what they are. There are some nice lighting effects that come from gunfire and explosions, which makes things more energetic. The music is nice and sets the tone very well. Most songs are upbeat techno music which suits both the cyberpunk setting and fast-paced nature of the game. Some of the music has reminded me of Streets of Rage, which this game gets its title from, and that’s hardly a bad thing.
My biggest issue with Streets of Rogue so far is that sometimes it feels like the best way to handle objectives is to try to find a gun and shoot your way out. Shops allow you to purchase things, but they have limited inventories. Deus Ex has carefully designed levels so that there are a variety of methods you can use, each of which has its pros and cons. I think the level generation needs some more fine tuning so that non-violence and stealth is more viable. Streets of Rogue shines when you have a lot of creative solutions at your disposal, but I think those are a bit too few for now.
I don’t think I’d recommend the game in its current state. After several runs, it starts to feel like going through the motions, as you tend to come up with reliable strategies. With some polish and more content though, I can see this being a unique entry in the genre.
Early AccessMatt DabrowskiPCroguelitetinybuild