Roundguard – Review
Follow Genre: Casual, Arcade, Dungeon Crawler
Developer: Wonderbelly Games
Publisher: Wonderbelly Games, The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, Xbox One, iOS, tvOS, Mac
Tested on: Switch

Roundguard – Review

Site Score
8.0
Good: Great fun vibe, how to turn something simple into something cool
Bad: Lacks variety in the long run
User Score
9.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Games derive from each other constantly, but every now and then, there’s a game that completely reinvents a much older title. As an example, we’ve seen Tetris turn into Tricky Towers. Some of these games with unique concepts and adaptations definitely deliver something new and cool to the gaming world. Roundguard is one of those new, cool games that uses a simple blueprint of an old game concept and reinvents it by mixing it up. 

Story

Roundguard uses the classic setting of a dungeon crawler for its story. There are rooms filled with enemies, loot, and potions, but this setting is mixed up with a silly game/theatre show. This means that while you play and crawl through the dungeon, you occasionally get a game show host who is giving commentary on your abilities or on how well you are currently doing. This even comes with a spin-the-wheel mechanic that allows you to win prizes that will help you during the game. Aside from the game being narrated by this show host at times, there are also enemies that sometimes have something to say (i.e. introducing themselves as enemies in the current level), and your character will communicate with others from time to time in a goofy fashion. That being said, there’s no real story present in the game. You pick a character, go in a dungeon, and try to get as many points as you can while trying to complete the dungeon. Complete three dungeons in a row (multiple levels) and this could be seen as completing the “campaign”.

Graphics

Graphically, the game feels smart. While extra themes, such as a game show, sometimes feel gimmicky, in this case, it doesn’t. The game is cute with cartoon-like character designs, and an overlay that permanently locks your ball-like character in the upper left corner. There are some elaborate idle animations present which indicate some of the effort that went into the style, and with the wide array of special effects, the game feels complete. Without all this effort, the game would feel a lot more hollow and less engaging. There’s simply nothing bad to be said about the graphics. It’s a style choice and it works.

Sound

The sound helps a lot as well, and it enforces the graphical style chosen for the experience. Where the graphics are cute and cartoon-like, the sound is very bright and uplifting, fitting for a cute cartoon. The music goes very well with a positive adventure, adding some mystery as well at times. Every sound effect (aside from taking damage) is also positively enforcing your time in Roundguard, and it’s a lot like the sound design you can find in mobile games such as Candy Crush. Often games like these are quite addictive with a deadly combination of happy sounds, cute graphics, and simple yet addictive gameplay. Roundguard is such an experience as well.

Gameplay

Partially, Roundguard is a pretty passive game. It uses the blueprint of Peggle, which in its turn looks a lot like the classic wooden board with nails in it. On this wooden board, you would drop a small metal ball, and the ball would jump from nail to nail until it reaches the bottom, which is a concept that you can still find at some carnivals or arcade halls. If the ball would drop in a certain bottom pocket, you would win the prize that’s linked to that pocket. In arcade halls, this would mean you would win i.e. between 1, 5, and 100 tickets depending on the pocket it landed in.

Roundguard is somewhat different in its approach, as it’s not about the bottom pockets. Instead, your goal is to eliminate all enemies in a room. To do so, the arcade-like game uses dungeon crawler mechanics and up to two active skills that your character can use to survive the levels you crawl through. Watch your health though, as you take damage when your enemies hit (or shoot!) back, and keep your mana up because else you can’t use any skills anymore. In that perspective, Roundguard switches between passive and active gameplay. Passive at the moment you fire your character unto pots of gold, enemies, and health potions. Active whenever you feel is the right time to interfere and alter your path by i.e. using a skill to jump or dash through an enemy.

The cool thing is that this combination of game elements feels fresh and it works quite well. It’s addictive as previously mentioned, and this will make you want to try again if you just died. The downside to all of this is that the game feels pretty limited. Even with a prize wheel included, rogue-like elements such as different dungeon layouts, multiple types of rooms to choose from, and more, the game still feels somewhat limited to the same types of enemies and a couple of rooms that start repeating themselves. The progression also feels like it’s lacking, as the difficulty stays more or less the same without new stuff being introduced. The new stuff that eventually gets added by unlocking something actually still feels like more of the same. This does not break down whatever the game already has to offer, but we just would have liked to see more.

Conclusion

Roundguard succeeds in taking simple tried-and-true Peggle-like mechanics while adding its own unique dungeon-crawler twist to it. This works well enough to make an addictive and fun game, especially combined with nice graphics and good sound design. The only thing that’s actually missing for us is more content, which would boil down to more enemies, different rooms, and perhaps a better way to progress through the game and build up to something larger or more dangerous, adding some extra replay value.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Roundguard - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
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Find me on youtube to see some playthroughs! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuBrlulGywcb0EiYWBnA1ng

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