Streets of Rogue
Gameplay 9
Graphics 8
Sound 9

Streets of Rogue is a deceptively simple looking game, but scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find plenty of depth. It has a large selection of character classes, each with their own unique playing styles and a procedurally generated city in which to cause chaos. The amount of mission objectives is rather limited, but the ways in which you can go about accomplishing them is almost limitless. Overall, Streets of Rogue is an extremely addictive game with a ton of replay value.

Graphics: Simple, but not without charm.

Sound: The soundtrack is excellent and the sound effects really good too.

Gameplay: Extremely addictive and packed with things to do

Summary 8.7 Outstanding
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Streets of Rogue

Developer: Matt Dabrowski | Publisher: tinyBuild | Release Date: 2019 | Genre: Action / Adventure / Indie | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

All is not well in the streets of the city. Not only is the mayor a dictatorial oppressor who has even gone as far as banning chicken nuggets, but the rich live in the upper levels of the city while the poor have to scrape by in the slums far below them. Meanwhile, scientists are free to experiment on captive gorillas, gangs roam around openly, and cannibals could be lurking in every bush. Luckily, there is a resistance that has formed and their goal is to overthrow the mayor, which will hopefully usher in a new era of prosperity. You are the newest recruit and after a brief tutorial they unleash you out into the streets of the city to, hopefully, complete your assignments and save the day.

Streets of Rogue is a rogue-lite style game that trades in the gloomy corridors of dungeons, which is where the genre traditionally dwells, and trades it for a bustling, multi-storey city. You start out with a limited selection of characters, but as you learn the ropes and meet certain criteria you will begin to unlock more of them. These characters are also not just simple reskins of each other, but their class and skills can fundamentally alter the way in which you play. For example, the soldier is very much a shoot first and ask questions never kind of character, so you’ll usually leave a level with a trail of blood and corpses in your wake. However, switch to the thief and you can’t just rely on guns and grenades to get the job done. Instead, you will have to sneak around, infiltrate buildings stealthily and try to avoid combat as much as possible. Perhaps you don’t believe in violence at all, which means you might enjoy playing as a doctor or even a comedian. From gangsters to assassins, investment bankers to gorillas and many, many more, Streets of Rogue certainly does not lack character variety.

The actual game is viewed from a top-down perspective and makes use of pixel art visuals. This means that it is not the most impressive or detailed looking game, but it is a small sacrifice for the kind of freedom that you are given. The game starts out in the slums and on each level you will find that citizens are pretty much just getting on with their daily business. Cops will patrol the streets, bouncers and goons will guard certain establishments and thieves will lurk in the shadows waiting for easy targets. You are given a random set of missions that you need to complete before you’ll be able to take the elevator up to the next floor. Complete three floors and it is up to the next section of the vertical city.

Everything is procedurally generated, so while the basic building blocks remain the same, the layouts will be different as well as the missions each time you play. Quests can range from interacting with certain switches to neutralizing certain targets, stealing certain items or freeing certain people before escorting them to the exit. To be honest, we would have liked to see more variety when it comes to these missions as it is possible to see everything available over the course of one game. However, it is the way that you can go about completing these missions that makes the game so unique and addictive.

Each character has their own unique special abilities, which can drastically change the way in which you approach puzzle solving. For example, as a thief you might be able to break open a window and sneak inside without anyone knowing. A soldier on the other hand might knock on a door before planting an explosive device and standing back to watch the carnage when the occupant of the building opens the door. Or you could play as a hacker and assassinate someone by making their television explode or their refrigerator run them over. How about sabotaging the air conditioning unit to influence all the people inside, sneaking around inside a cardboard box, or eating a banana for health before tossing the peel on the floor and watching someone slip on it? All of these and much more can be done in Streets of Rogue. In fact, even after hours of playing we still discovered new and unique ways to complete objectives.

In addition to the random objectives on each level each character class you pick also has their own “Big Mission.” To complete a big mission you have to play the game right from the start without skipping floors and complete the “Big Mission” objective before leaving a floor. Whether it is killing a certain class of citizen as an assassin or killing all rival gang members as a gangster, these missions add some extra fun to the game. You’ll also be rewarded if you are able to complete your “Big Mission.” Each level in Streets of Rogue can be completed relatively quickly, but things can go wrong very suddenly and very violently. No matter how careful you are, there is always a risk of slipping up and making a lot of people very angry at you, which is never good for your health.

Due to the sandbox nature of the game there is also always a conflict between playing it safe or letting loose and trying out something wacky just because you can. Blowing a chunk out of a wall with a grenade because you are too lazy to deal with all the goons and traps might sound like a good idea until you accidentally kill some innocent bystanders with the blast and bring down the wrath of the patrolling police on your head. Of course, you could always bribe the cops to turn a blind eye to your shenanigans, hire some help to do all your dirty work for you or throw down a boom box to make everyone dance while you make a dash for safety. Every third floor in the game also shakes things up with random disasters that range from a zombie outbreak to radiation blasts or even a killer robot hunting you. If you want to experience four times the chaos and fun the game can also be played in co-op mode, which is available both local and online. In theory, playing with three other people should make things a bit easier as you can split up to complete objectives faster and deal with threats more efficiently. In reality, our attempt at multi-player resulted in pandemonium as everyone rushed off to do their own thing and usually get killed in the process. Unlike solo, which sends you right back to the start if you get killed, multi-player allows you to revive your partners if they kick the button. Their ghost will roam around until someone on the team is willing to cough up the cash or sacrifice half of their own health to bring them back.

Another aspect that makes Streets of Rogue so much fun is the amount of weapons, tools and gadgets at your disposal. From melee weapons to guns to freeze and shrink rays, flamethrowers, various syringes filled with dubious substances and much more, there’s always something to have fun with. Fortunately, the game slows down when you go rummaging through your inventory, but bear in mind that weapons can break and most items have limited uses. In true rogule-lite fashion you will lose all your cash and possessions if you die, but any chicken nuggets that you have earned can be spent back at home base to unlock new perks and rewards. These will make future runs a little easier or at least more interesting. The game even features an extensive set of mutators to change the gameplay, which increases the already insane amount of replay value.

Although Streets of Rogue can be played with controllers, which is necessary for local co-op, we found that a keyboard and mouse offered a much more streamlined experience. Everything from aiming accurately to quickly switching between weapons or using items just felt way more intuitive with a keyboard and mouse. While the visuals of the game is rather simple, the audio takes things to a whole new level with excellent tunes and crisp sound effects. The gunshots and screams almost sound too realistic for the pixel art visuals! The interface is very intuitive, with a map highlighting all your objectives and the ability to teleport anywhere, provided you are not indoors or in immediate danger.

There is a lot more that we can praise about Streets of Rogue, but this review is already getting too long. Suffice to say that it is an incredibly addictive game that can keep you busy for hours if you get hooked. Although completing the six levels can be done in under an hour, you’ll find that reaching the last level and becoming mayor is not quite as easy as you might think. Especially if you decide to attempt it as a vampire, zombie, shapeshifter or other creature that immediately elicits hostility from people. Our only gripe is that we would have liked to see more variety in terms of objectives to go with the procedurally generated world. It’s a pity that Streets of Rogue has such a simple visual style because if it had AAA graphics, it would have garnered a lot more attention. As it is, some people might look at the visuals and instantly dismiss it as yet another indie title without ever discovering the amount of depth that lurks beneath its exterior. If you like the rogue-lite genre or simply enjoy games that gives you the freedom to cause havoc, then you should not miss out on Streets of Rogue.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows 7 or Later
  • Processor: Dual-Core Intel or AMD processor
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities
  • Storage: 320 MB available space
  • OS: Mac OS X 10.9+
  • Processor: Intel Dual-Core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities
  • Storage: 340 MB available space
  • OS: Ubuntu 12.04+
  • Processor: Intel Dual Core
  • Memory: 4 GB RAM
  • Graphics: DX9 (shader model 3.0) or DX11 with feature level 9.3 capabilities
  • Storage: 350 MB available space

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