That title ain't a mistake folks. And in truth, the title could have had even more words crammed in had I not been so conscious of not making it virtually unreadable. Streets of Rogue is exactly that, though: a rogue-like, an action-adventure with Grand Theft Auto (the old school ones) and RPG-lite Deus Ex elements all rolled into one. Thanks to the recent free weekend, I took a look at this zany little game.
First of all, welcome to the first TLR Byte-Size. Where we look at games in a quick, compact way, kind of like a preview, but potentially even less in-depth. This is meant to be a fun way to summarize games worth having a look at (or not) (and also a way to enforce overly verbose writers such as myself into implementing "less is more"!).
So, Streets of Rogue. This top down indie game is developed by Matt Dabrowski and is currently in Early Access. Described as a "rogue-lite with inspiration from the likes of Binding of Isaac and Nuclear Throne, and adds free-form, experimentation-driven, emergent elements of RPGs like Deus Ex", you can expect to find procedurally generated levels with multiple characters to choose from, with all their different interesting perks, strengths and weaknesses. Throw in some wacky gameplay with a pinch of psychotic random AI and you have Streets of Rogue.
This is random and psychotic by design, though. Not in the "AI is so stupid and badly coded that it's unpredictable" kind of way, but rather it's intended to be clever enough to give some sort of challenge all the while maintaining the zany and humourous theme of the game. In this regard you too, the player, is encouraged to embrace your inner wacko and basically... do whatever you want. Want to kill literally everyone in the level? Go ahead. Want to kill no one and instead lead a gang around the city, vandalising property and/or people's faces? Or perhaps just play the role of freedom fighter and free slaves from their captors? You can do it. The game really is about experimentation and just trying things out.
Sure, there are consequences. People won't always want you looting their stuff or cops won't appreciate you doing illegal things. Sometimes, in certain levels, the city streets just have random constant riots and everyone ends up trying to kill each other, while you try not to get the caught in the cross-fire! Or jump into the fray, if you wish. Speaking of levels, rather than a dungeon like many rogue-likes/lites, the setting in Streets of Rogue is a city and instead of descending (as you do in a dungeon), you're technically ascending, starting from the lowly slums of the city and climbing up, quite literally, the middle class areas and all the way up into the highest, most elite suburbs.
And in typical rogue-like fashion, if your character dies, that's it. Back to the first level for you with a fresh character. So choose your actions carefully! Getting to the next level involves not just finding the next staircase to the next level though - the next level only unlocks after you complete a few (randomly generated) tasks or quests. Or just fail the tasks completely, it doesn't matter. It still unlocks the next level! The main thing is that you approach the tasks and then get them out of the way however you see fit.
There's over 20 characters to choose from in Streets of Rogue, such as the lowly but versatile brawler in the Slum Dweller, the clever but not so combat ready Hacker, the self-explanatory Soldier or even a Gorilla. The latter being not so popular walking into shops or bars, but is mighty effective with bananas. You get a handful to choose from at first but unlock more as you go.
The game certainly does well in the fun factor, but how does it fare on Linux? Well enough, I would say. Even on my recently fresh Arch Linux system it worked fine, although I will say, GNOME on Wayland users beware - the game sometimes, quite often, triggers a full-scale GNOME Shell crash on launch. My guess is the game is somehow not always playing nicely with XWayland, or something, and causing a major error which causes GNOME to get the hell out of dodge. I couldn't produce any such issues under a normal X.Org session.
Unfortunately I hadn't gotten around to doing this article during the actual free weekend trial period, so Streets of Rogue will set you back roughly $15 USD, though it's currently on sale at the time of writing for $13.49 USD. For some the price might be a little steep, but the game is constantly being updated and no doubt improving, so if you want a dose of zany, wacky and free-form fun with old-school graphics and sounds (meaning that in a good way), give Streets of Rogue a try. Oh, and it has multiplayer and co-op too, though I never tried it out, but I imagine it would be a blast.
Get Streets of Rogue on Steam.