Rogue Spirit – Preview
Follow Genre: 3D Action Roguelite
Developer: Kids With Sticks
Publisher: 505 Games
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Rogue Spirit – Preview

Good: Parry mechanic feels fresh and keeps you on your toes
Bad: Boring passives, shallow combat
User Score
6.5
(2 votes)
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Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)

Another roguelite game? Yes, indeed. This time we get another entry in the genre from a small studio out of Wroclaw in Poland. Their team includes several developers that worked on games like The Witcher and Dying Light, so these guys definitely have some talent and experience to bring to the table. Let’s see if they were able to channel this into their latest offering, Rogue Spirit. Which, as the name suggests, is a roguelite game where you play as a spirit. No points for originality there.

This spirit you play as is able to take over the enemies’ bodies after you kill them. Doing so gives you their stats (health, primary and secondary attack values), as well as their attack abilities. So you go around, kill the bad guys and compare every dead enemy’s body to the one you’re currently in to see if they’re worth possessing. You can think of this as the items usually present in other games of the genre. This is a nice touch and differentiates Rogue Spirit from its contemporaries.

This is not the only thing that sets Rogue Spirit apart, as the combat is very reliant on the parry mechanic – perhaps a little too reliant. You need to be absolutely focused at all times, because missing a few parries can spell certain death. Luckily, there is a spirit meter present that refills as you kill enemies and allows for healing when you take over their bodies. This, together with the upgrades that you’re able to buy after each run if you collect enough emeralds from fallen foes, will keep you on your feet. These upgrades include things like a chance for enemies to drop health globes, a wider choice of bodies to possess at the start of a run, and more gold to bring to your next run. As you can imagine, this makes the game gradually easier. This is exactly how a roguelite should be.

Let’s talk about the parry mechanic for a bit, because although this is what sets Rogue Spirit apart from other roguelites, it is also something that causes problems. You see – most of the attacks and skills in the game, aside from the primary attack, have a rather long windup time. Using the parry is instantaneous, which works out great and really makes you feel like a badass ninja when you’re able to parry a bunch of attacks while surrounded by enemies. It also means that parrying cancels out most of your other attacks and abilities. Therefore, the best course of action during your run is to just spam your primary attack while parrying the enemies’ attacks. There are blueprints for skills and familiars you can find during your runs, but none of them felt particularly useful because of this.

Now for the other elephant in the room, we have to take a closer look at the passives, called essences. You collect these throughout your run by smashing Essence Stones. These essences include things like: 3% physical damage reduction, 4% increased crit chance after parrying an attack and 15% increased critical damage. This is not exactly thrilling. Especially compared to games like Hades or Risk of Rain, where picking up passives is gameplay-changing stuff, Rogue Spirit feels a bit bland. Even its most direct competitor, Gunfire Reborn, has a lot more going for it.

There is also a stealth mechanic that feels rather tacked on. While it does allow you to skip towards the end of a stage when you’re in a pinch or grant you the option to get close to certain enemies before they see you, this is where its benefits end.

All of the aforementioned things combined, sadly make Rogue Spirit feel rather dull. This is a shame because the developers have the look and feel nailed down. It has that timeless Blizzard-like art style to it which, while the texture quality isn’t top-notch, makes the game look very appealing. The music is typical for the oriental theme they went with, meaning there will be lots of strings and flutes that loop throughout the level. There is nothing truly dynamic to be found in the game’s sound department.

Conclusion

Rogue Spirit certainly has the potential to become one of the great roguelites on Steam, if Kids With Sticks are able and willing to make the Essences more impactful and the combat more interesting. This could be done by decreasing the windup times for stronger attacks and/or increasing the damage on skills, familiars, and attacks; so that they become more viable. The game is still in Early Access, so let’s hope for the best.

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Rating: 6.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Rogue Spirit - Preview, 6.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

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