Roving Rogue Review: A Rogue Rogue’s Roving Rules
Greg Johnson / Jul 8th, 2015 No Comments
Do you ever wish you knew the end of a story while you were halfway through? Do you peak at the end of a book before you finished reading the beginning? Wii U-exclusive Roving Rogue is a platformer where the story is told backwards.
The game takes on the premise of beginning at the end. Players take control of a rogue attempting to escape the castle while uncovering how he got there to begin with. It boasts difficult challenges, but the story is convoluted to say the least.
A Storybook in Gibberish
Kurt, the protagonist, recently defeated an all-powerful mage. The game begins with players simply moving to the boss and killing him with a touch, which is rather anticlimactic. The credits roll, but this isn’t where the game ends. Players can skip the credits and then must quickly escape upwards.
Players collect relics that contain Kurt’s stored memories as the main villain has a habit of causing memory loss in the heroes who face him. As more relics are collected, more of Kurt’s story is uncovered. A storybook, which is written entirely in gibberish at the beginning of the game, is slowly translated as relics are acquired.
The frustrating part of this mechanic is that players can beat the entire game and never really understand what happened. Enough of the relics are easy to grab and each new level begins with a note from Kurt or another character, giving insight into the game’s story — novel notes are like medieval tweets complete with hashtags on parchments. However, having plot elements revealed almost exclusively via optional objectives is a gamble that often leaves players wondering what is going on.
Don’t Go Back
Each level has the same rhythm, with players quickly traveling in one direction to escape through a door at the end. Players are chased by rising lava or some other catastrophe as the dungeon falls apart.
Roving Rogue is intensely challenging. Some of the jumps required are tough enough alone, but players will also have to compete with enemies scattered throughout levels and a timer of sorts in the form of rising lava. This amps the difficulty up to high.
For the most part, enemies are dispatched with a touch or a jump. As a rogue, Kurt is able to backstab any enemy unaware of his presence. Should an enemy spot the roving rogue, a jump on the head will kill them. The protagonist is also able to teleport varying distances. This ability allows players to avoid most enemies and save valuable time. Teleporting can also be utilized to pass through oddly colored architecture, which is crucial when grabbing relics or just surviving.
The 8-bit style graphics fit the platforming gameplay that harkens back to older times in gaming. Enemies and multiple Kurts in multiplayer are easily recognizable. Sadly, the music is boring. The novel chase music quickly becomes repetitive. It serves its purpose of heightening tension with dramatic flair, but turns into white noise amidst players trying to escape. Luckily, the sounds of various enemies spotting and attacking Kurt breaks up the monotony.
Multiplayer is an option in Roving Rogue. Taking on the challenges with friends makes it easier to collect relics and survive levels. Players that are downed can be revived by others, and this adds another layer to gameplay. It can be a dangerous endeavor as taking time to revive a fallen teammate can be fatal to players in the crumbling castle.
A Winner is You
Roving Rogue is an incredibly challenging, unique experience. The backwards storytelling had the potential to be interesting, but the plot doesn’t offer much other than a reason for the game’s setting. Despite its obvious shortcomings, the fast-paced platforming and multiplayer capabilities make the game worth playing, especially amongst friends.
Roving Rogue is currently available for Wii U.
Roving Rogue was reviewed on Wii U using a code for the game provided by the publisher.
tags: review , Roving Rogue , Roving Rogue Review , wii-u