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Rogue Stormers Review


With the trend seemingly set and Rogue-like games now having their own specific, and newly found genre – right next to zombies –  it seems we should have been expecting the large number of Rogue-like titles that have been appearing in recent months. However, with so many different titles now available to choose from, both good and bad, creating that next title that has people talking by the office water cooler has become an increasingly difficult challenge. But if anyone is up for the job of creating a lovable Rogue-like, then I would fully expect it to be the guys over at Black Forest Games.


Right off the bat, there are a couple of different ways to play Rogue Stormers. But whilst those who are unhappy with the lack of multiplayer support in many of the year’s indie titles will certainly have their ears perked at Black Forest Games inclusion of both online, and local multiplayer, to go alongside the solo option on offer, you may want to read on before your rush over to the Xbox Store just yet.

Upon booting up the game, players are met with the seemingly promotional intro as to why you are needed. This being you – the one known as recruit. From this point onwards you take on the role of a Trooper, and from the rather greyed out character selection screen upon starting a new game, I can safely presume you should be one of five. However, my time with the game was spent with just the one, known as Brecht. But we’ll get onto that shortly!

As a Trooper, your job is quite simple really – if you believe in James Bond style heroics that is. Hector Von Garg – deceiver, murderer, money-grabbing swine and full time Big-Green Goblin – has unleashed his evil minion horde upon the city of Ravendale. As ‘Stormers/Troopers’ it’s your job to wipe out the evil horde, take back the city, and of course save the day.

In order to do this, players will need to take their selected ‘Stormer’ through the seven different levels, besting all of the different monstrous creatures that dare stand in their way. Or at least that’s how it’s supposed to work. However, I wouldn’t know, I never got there!


Now before I go any further, let it be known that whilst I’m certainly no professional gamer, I do spend enough of my spare time gaming to be sure that I know my way around a controller, a Rogue-like adventure, and almost any type of gaming related obstacle you could place in my way. Whilst I often relish a good challenge, Rogue Stormers is certainly a different kettle of fish.

So, back to the start then, and after arriving at the main menu, players have the option to take on their newly assigned cleansing operation as either a sole ‘Stormer’, or as a co-op group of up to four players in the multiplayer option. With a choice of just one character available from the start, players are required to begin the game with Brecht, an aggressive looking individual that also harnesses the power of some sort of werewolf type thing, going by the name of his specific ‘Lunacy’ ability. I mean, for all we know, with his complete set of creepy cosplay looking werewolf armour, he could just be a big fan of the Twilight series.

Each of the characters in the game come with their own set of abilities, perks, and weapons. Brecht’s weapon is a rapid-firing, long range Motorgun, whilst his Lunacy ability enables him to increase everyone’s rate of fire for a short period. His perks include bonuses to his overall HP and weapon durability amongst others. As for the other Stormers in the game, players can unlock these with progress through the game, however this is where things start to get slightly tricky.


The gameplay in Rogue Stormers is a mash-up of twin stick run’n’gun and platforming style gameplay in a Rogue-like setting, complete with RPG elements. Now, whilst I can fully appreciate just how incredible that sounds, it’s with disappointment that I must tell you that this game could, and should have been so much more than what is on offer here.

After several hours of dying, shooting, backtracking and dying again, it’s time to let you in on why Rogue Stormers is unfortunately a disappointing game.

Whilst many – myself included – will look on at the beautifully created Steampunk style levels with adoring eyes, the randomly generated patterns will quickly become more of an irritation than something to stare fondly at. Whilst seeing different layouts is indeed something to ensure you’re not turned away immediately, seeing a completely different layout every time you need to start again can become as infuriating as never seeing anything new at all. Occasionally you just need to familiarise yourself with everything to stand any chance of progress.

This is in main part due to the overbearing difficulty of the game. Yes, whilst I know many of you may point me to my previous notice – this being a Rogue-like title – when it comes to mentioning the difficulty, I feel I’ve played my fair share of Rogue-likes and games in general to know that the difficulty imposed on Rogue Stormers is much too high for what you are expected to achieve. Due to the nature of the genre, Rogue Stormers is indeed a game that treats every death like a new save, meaning every bit of blood, sweat, and tears you’ve put into trying to complete the game comes to an immediate halt the moment your health bar dries up, with players sent back to the stony village of King’s gate, aka Level 1. This happens every time you die, with nothing to show for it, other than a few pretty useless perks to use on your next playthrough.


With seven levels on offer, you could be forgiven for thinking that it’s just a matter of getting used to the game to ensure progress, however with the damage output from enemies seemingly at an all-time high, as well as in-level items, such as treasure chests, that can either take away your health in exchange for a potentially good, but mostly bad reward, or any number of stupidly placed booby-traps enough to reduce your health to zero in just seconds, the gameplay can very quickly feel like more of a chore. At the time of writing, my several hours trying to best the game’s various levels, both solo and co-op have ended in a best result of reaching Level 2 multiple times, only to have my last shreds of non-regenerating life absolutely mashed in seconds, either due to getting stuck in various walls, floors, floating platforms, or due to how stupidly over-powered the enemy boss is.

Yes, throughout the game players are required to find their own health to ensure their jolly jaunt can continue, however with many of the healing pickups scattered scarcely throughout each level, obtaining these can mean traversing back through the majority of the level. This can be met with hordes of enemies that cause silly amounts of damage in short periods of time and can often feel much like you’re going around in circles, rather than progressing through the game. Especially when you’re met with your next death every couple of minutes or so and are required to do it all again.

If you do then manage to make it to the end of level boss fight (bear in mind these are mini bosses), the damage your weapon does is almost nothing compared to the damage your receive in return, meaning beating one level can become more of a grind than it needs to be.


On top of this the controls often feel awkward and clunky, and whilst the use of LT to jump is a welcome change from the usual button layout seen in platformers, the need to look down and jump to go down a floor can often be awkward to do quickly, and even resulted in my demise several times over.

For those willing to look past all this for the indie title offering full local, and online multiplayer support, hold your horses, you better have a friend with you as the online multiplayer is nothing more than a barren wasteland. My time with the game saw me persuading friends to come around and die over and over, due to a complete lack of anyone playing online at any point. This isn’t helped by the missing drop in/drop out that would have truly helped this title, with players instead forced to wait in lobbies to find people to play with.

Overall and whilst Rogue Stormers has the all the right ingredients to be something spectacular, the overbearing difficulty and repetitive gameplay make this potentially standout title nothing more than a chore to play.

Carlos Santuana (Sly Boogie1993)
Carlos Santuana (Sly Boogie1993)
After 20 years of playing every game I can get my hands on, I can now be found selling my soul for anything Resident Evil, Gears of War, or Gamerscore related... all of which will be mastered after a good cuppa!
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