Rogue Stormers is as it’s title suggests a rogue-like shoot ’em up side-scrolling adventure through an evil castle full of various goblins, ghouls, and traps. Death is a regular occurrence similar to many rogue-likes however Rogue Stormers is relatively brutal in terms of difficulty. During my first session I was instantly reminded of games like Contra and Smash TV which of course were some of the first ever co-op shooters. Plenty of games with “rogue” in their title are missing the key element of randomly generated levels but it’s most certainly part of this design. There are some hurdles to overcome when playing but overall this seems to be a fun co-op shooter that includes local co-op.
Storm the Level – Level design is something developers generally spend a substantial amount of time on and having a procedural generation doesn’t mean the work is done for you. Black Forest Games has done an impressive job of creating a theme and matching motif for each level’s decor. I was thoroughly impressed by the level of detail not only in the foreground but far into the distance. It’s a really good looking set of levels that play just as well generally. Occasionally a level will have some really tricky navigation but that should be expected in a rogue-like platform shooter.
Classic Castle – Rogue Stormers has a very classical feel to it and as I mentioned in the opening, Contra or Smash TV came to mind in terms of similarities. The first boss reminded me of a particular boss in the first Contra game which only added to the nostalgia I felt. The formula is classic and the game play is very fast paced and while it may not be the most innovative game of it’s genre, it’s certainly a fun and well designed title. The abilities you obtain over the course of many lives are reminiscent of early console games as well and are by no means overpowered.
Fresh and so clean – The game is extremely high in replay value due to the fact that it’s a rogue-like and encourages you to play “one more run” as this type of game is known to do. The other aspect of play that really keeps things fresh is the regular availability of new weapons which you can purchase from item vendor kiosks or find in chests around the level. I found myself exploiting new weapons each round and it truly makes your character feel more versatile or entirely different each time you switch weapons. The controls are very clean and are well designed for this two-stick shooter.
Castle wall – At some point early on in the game it’s hard to really progress quickly due to the health and damage at a certain level. I found that the only way I was able to match that power level was to play to roughly the same death point multiple times while leveling up my character. While this could easily be characterized as “high difficulty” I would argue that it’s a matter of poor design or at the very least a misappropriated difficulty curve. Many rogue-likes have a similar mechanic but it felt incredibly tedious to gain power in my first few hours of play.
Power Surge – The power levels overall in the game feel incredibly un-balanced and at times certain bosses seem nearly unbeatable until you level up quite a bit. I think this ties back to the difficulty progressing and is really the only flaw the game has that is worth mentioning. Certain characters seem to fair better in certain situations so maybe it’s a matter of needing a full team of four players each time out, but in general a single player will have a difficult time initially and regularly at certain points.
Rogue Stormers is a brightly shining example of what a co-op and local co-op game should be in almost every aspect. There may be a few balances needed but ultimately this is an incredibly fun and captivating shooter experience.
- Graphics - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 6/106/10
- Controls - 8/108/10
- Sound - 6/106/10
- Replay Value - 8/108/10
Consider Picking Up
Rogue Stormers was developed and published by Black Forest Games. It was released on April 21st, 2016 and a press review copy was provided for The Hidden Levels. Many studios submit copies for site review but this is in no way factored into our review scores. Games are scored on their individual merits and our rating system is explained here.
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