This Early Access title is the first Commercial Indie project by the developer Matt Dabrowski. An ambitious creation that aims to essentially give the player free reign in how they can tackle any situation or mission while also providing a randomly generated set of levels upon each run through, Streets of Rogue attempts and achieves things that others possibly haven’t even thought to try.
Upon loading up the game you are taken through the tutorial during which you are told the basic premise of the game. There’s a big bad guy organisation that runs the city and you are being recruited into the resistance. Your job will be to make your way up through the different levels of the city and cause plenty of damage, havoc and sabotage along the way. With a rogue lite layout you do start over when you die but with a gradual increase in upgrades as you complete missions and objectives during each playthrough. As you complete certain tasks within the game new player characters will also unlock. An extremely enjoyable level of comedy is present throughout the game, with great dialogue quips as well as in game items and scenarios that serve to bring out a chuckle.
There are also a decent number of starting characters, allowing for a range of playstyles to be tried right off the bat. You can do everything from running in all guns blazing, to hacking and lockpicking your way through everything, to taking out anyone in your way with poison and traps. The scope for replayability is extremely high because of this. The randomly generated city that you make your way through each time allows you to encounter different scenarios and mission layouts, as well as throwing the odd disaster at you when you least expect. With so many different, but extremely well implemented elements there’s very little chance of becoming bored of Streets of Rogue, especially if you particularly enjoy games in the rogue like/ rogue lite set of sub genres.
Solid gameplay with smooth combat and a not wholly un-intelligent AI makes for a game that flows between being slow, tense and having fast paced action with ease and without jolting the player out of their experience. The variety of scenarios encourages the player to think outside the box and approach things in interesting ways since different characters have different loadouts and methods of achieving their goals. The constantly changing environment of course aids in keeping the player on their toes even without the added challenge of the missions. The destructible terrain also adds to the potential hilarity of any given scenario.
Visually, Streets of Rogue nails it with it’s colourful pixel style enhancing the gore and overtly humorous nature of the game in general. This playful graphical approach certainly fits perfectly with the flow and feel of the game. Characters splurge into bright red blocks when they meet their demise and the vibrancy that exists across the game as a whole really aids it’s already strong ability to entertain.
An excellent soundtrack accompanies you through the city levels. Full of energy and life it fuels the generally hectic gameplay, adding additional pace and urgency to your missions. Catchy and well constructed, it’s certainly a worthy accompaniment for this game.
Streets of Rogue certainly doesn’t feel like an early access game and even at full price it’s definitely worth the investment for anyone interested in this genre. It’s a creation that can only possibly get better from here on in and certainly offers something extremely promising to be a part of on the road to it’s full release.