Roving Rogue

5.25 Overall Score
Gameplay: 5/10
Graphics: 6/10
Sound: 6/10

Warping CAN be fun | Characters are animated nicely

Warping can ALSO be a pain | Bugs hinder gameplay significantly

Game Info

GAME NAME: Roving Rogue

DEVELOPER(S): PadaOne Games

PUBLISHER(S): PadaOne Games

PLATFORM(S): Wii U

GENRE(S): Action, Adventure

RELEASE DATE(S): July 2, 2015

Roving Rogue is one of many retro-inspired Wii U platformers hoping to stand out from the crowd. It sets itself apart with a warping mechanic and a dash of stealth gameplay, but it’s how well those work that determines its fate.

Kurt the Righteous (@rovingrogue) finds himself at the end of an adventure with no knowledge of how he got there. It’s up to you, the player, to take control of his warping ability and see the story through to the beginning.

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The “backwards” story concept never really delivers in Roving Rogue, as it still just feels like going from start to finish, but the game’s humor does deliver. There are a handful of characters in the game, each with a social media-esque “handle” that is somehow right at home being juxtaposed against the medieval setting. Every level in the game starts with a brief message from one of the characters, complete with hashtags. Roving Rogue never takes itself too seriously in terms of writing.

The same isn’t always true for the gameplay, which is a mixed bag. Like I mentioned above, warping is the name of the game. Kurt can perform normal jumps that are a platforming staple, of course, but he can also warp in almost any direction to clear larger gaps or propel himself even higher into the air. To do so, you need only hold the Y button, input a direction on the D-pad, and release the Y button. Warping also allows Kurt to go through walls or floors with gold inlays.

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The possibilities warping opens up are numerous, and some of the levels in Roving Rogue showcase those possibilities to great effect. However, many levels are just so-so, and even more bring out the worst in warping. Sometimes the mechanic doesn’t work like you expect it to, and sometimes it requires a degree of precision that it doesn’t lend itself to, if that makes any sense. It doesn’t help that there’s a constant threat chasing you at all times, whether it’s rising lava in the upward-bound levels or falling debris in the side-scrolling levels.

Speaking of the lava/debris, the idea isn’t a bad one; it’s just way overused in this game. I would have liked to see the occasional level that allowed me to take it slow and explore a little.

There are other dangers in Roving Rogue that take the form of smaller enemies. There’s a pretty good variety of enemies in the game, from arrow-shooting goblins to knights that rush to push you off a ledge to wizards that spew fire, ice, or anti-warping zones. Kurt can take out enemies by simply making contact from above or behind them. This is how stealth comes into play, and using a well-placed warp to take out an enemy can be satisfying. However, there are two glaring problems with enemies in the game: 1) enemy placement and quantity is often random and senseless, especially later in the game, and 2) the action frequently comes to a complete halt when contact has been made with an enemy; the game doesn’t freeze for good, but the 3-5 second pause can easily get you killed. You can imagine how frustrating that is.

WiiU_RovingRogue_03

The visuals in Roving Rogue get the job done and nothing more. Just like the gameplay, they don’t really stand out. However, I can definitely appreciate the sprite animations in Roving Rogue. The way Kurt and his enemies move looks fluid as long as the game is running properly, and the animation is never overdone or distracting, two problems I have seen elsewhere.

The Recommendation

Roving Rogue has a couple of promising ideas that, unfortunately, never deliver or even drag the game down sometimes. The warping mechanic shines at times but becomes a frustration more often than not with its unpredictable nature. The story could have done more to make it feel like a “backwards” adventure, and the game’s presentation is only slightly above average, if that. The humor and solid animation in the game win points, but it’s not quite enough to cover its shortcomings.

Summary

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Author: Holly Fellmeth View all posts by
Site Manager/Editor - Holly's favorite hobby is playing new or different games. She believes there is no other medium that can offer such weird and wacky things as the gaming industry can. Her Nintendo Network ID is Aeroweth.