I’m not a big fan of crafting in videogames. When it comes to playing the big open-world games like Red Dead Redemption, or more recently Elden Ring, I often try and steer away from the creation side of things as much as possible, ending up collecting or buying the things I need directly. Perhaps as it’s seen as an optional part of the gameplay it doesn’t interest me as much, and as it rarely affects overall progress I can give it a miss. 

That is until now because The Serpent Rogue is all about the crafting, brewing, and cooking, providing you with the right tools and equipment to succeed. And you know what, after playing the game I think I’m going to enjoy crafting a hell of a lot more. 

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The Serpent Rogue can best be described as a resource-finding action adventure with a heavy emphasis on crafting and world-building. It’s also a roguelike – in the way that when you die all your possessions could get lost if you don’t spend time collecting them the next time around.

You play a Plague Doctor character – a warden with a bird mask on who has been tasked with getting rid of something called “The Corruption”. It is this which has plagued the land with blight. It’s destroying the environment; turning the animals into killing beasts from hell. You start the game on the run, as The Serpent Rogue gives a small hint on how challenging the game is. But at the same time, it deals a very fair hand that requires exploration and considered gameplay. 

When you arrive in a small village near the beginning of the game you can find your feet and begin to learn some of the game’s mechanics within a tutorial. One of the main things you need to do is start to find resources from your surroundings. These can be tea leaves, berries, or wood from barrels for example. From there you’ll want to create an axe to chop the wood and when you see some fish you might need some worms to help catch them. And so the crafting begins. 

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When you find your resources in one of the workstations in a hut you can research the items to find out their most interesting and useful properties. From this research, you then go about brewing potions for example, like health potions or those that cause damage to enemies by throwing them like bombs. There is also a cooking workstation where you can rustle up recipes, trying a combination of different ingredients in order to get some extra stamina or health. You also have the ability to handle weapons and craft enhancements for your armory. It’s the possible combination of potions, enhancements and resources that really make the game come alive.

What’s nice is that you can work different ways through these crafting mechanics, as you go about working out how you’d like to fight the good fight. You can even get some potions that turn you into animals, or utilise the opportunity to befriend animals to take them into battle with you. 

Each area you venture into from your base camp has one objective in mind – to deal with The Corruption. The main Corruption area is randomly generated each time in terms of resources, creatures, and chests, but each area has a boss that you need to beat to clear the area of all things bad. If you go in the first time and have a go at this boss I would almost bet my house and worldly possessions that you are going to die. The Serpent Rogue tasks you with exploring the area; you will find different recipes and blueprints that can be used to help you in your fight. Patience is the key, as is the need to try and try again. Whether you’re into that type of gameplay might well decide whether this game is for you or not. But remember, I didn’t really like crafting until now…

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Combat consists of the old light attack and heavy attack. You have a block as well and weapons can break if you’re not careful. The best attack I found most useful was in throwing items of damage and then going onto the front foot, especially with the bosses. But I only found this out after a ton of dying and trying again. It’s deliberately a tricky game to master, but as like most in this genre when you begin to work out what is needed, The Serpent Rogue rewards you well.  

The visuals are created via a cel-shaded art style that works superbly well throughout. The character and creature design, and whole world-building, look incredible with some lovely attention to detail. It all feels very clean in terms of what you can read regarding the crafting menus and text. Further, the soundtrack has some lovely folky numbers to it, helping accompany you when you are exploring the camp areas, before really ramping up for the boss battles. It’s a world I was hungry to explore the more that The Serpent Rogue progressed. 

The Serpent Rogue is thoroughly enjoyable. I’ve come to this on the back of some eighty odd hours in Elden Ring, and whilst The Serpent Rogue is very different, the level of thought, patience and difficulty requires a similar gaming mindset. There is a lot to love in The Serpent Rogue – especially when you get into the groove – and you’ll hugely enjoy the chance to explore the world given. And strangely, you’ll probably love the crafting too… 

The Serpent Rogue is available on the Xbox Store

I’m not a big fan of crafting in videogames. When it comes to playing the big open-world games like Red Dead Redemption, or more recently Elden Ring, I often try and steer away from the creation side of things as much as possible, ending up collecting or buying the things I need directly. Perhaps as it’s seen as an optional part of the gameplay it doesn't interest me as much, and as it rarely affects overall progress I can give it a miss.  That is until now because The Serpent Rogue is all about the crafting, brewing, and cooking, providing…

Pros:

  • Crafting mechanics
  • Visual design
  • Difficulty

Cons:

  • Not going to be for the casual gamer

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Team17
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 26 Apr 2022
  • Launch price from - £15.99
TXH Score

4.5/5

Pros:

  • Crafting mechanics
  • Visual design
  • Difficulty

Cons:

  • Not going to be for the casual gamer

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Team17
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, PS5, Switch, PC
  • Version reviewed - Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 26 Apr 2022
  • Launch price from - £15.99

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