Roguelands is a 2D roguelike game developed by Sean Young, who had previously created Magicite and Pixel Kingdom.
Pixel Kingdom was Sean Young’s first game, originally released back in May 2013 for Android. According to the description on the Google Play store, “Pixel Kingdom is an RPG Defense game in which you collect Units to fight for you across infinite levels. There are tons of Units, Items, and Gear to unlock with your hard earned Gold. Pixel Kingdom features multiple environments with 50+ unique enemy units including rare and powerful Dragons. Complete with a full set of achievements, Pixel Kingdom is an easy defense game to pick up but hard to master!”
Only one year later, in June 2014, Magicite was released on Steam. The game was originally backed on Kickstarter and received $16,308 dollars of a $1,000 goal. Magicite plays similarly to Roguelands, the game features permanent death, roguelike gameplay, and the ability to craft new items. Magicite is available on PC, Mac, and Linux.
Although it should be noted that Magicite developer, Sean Young, has moved developmental resources towards Roguelands. Little to no updates should be expected for Magicite from this point forward.
With Sean Young moving on from Magicite, Roguelands is considered to be the spiritual successor. The game was also funded through Kickstarter, with a goal of $1,000 that ended up raising $21,580 from 875 backers. (That is more then $20 per backer!)
Roguelands was first released on Steam – in early access – on November 6th, 2015.
Roguelands menu’s are easy to navigate, responding well. On the top of the screen there is a banner letting you know when the next update is for the game, keeping users out of the dark when it comes to early access. Sean Young has been anything but quiet, especially on his Twitter, making sure to share any sort of development he can with followers of Roguelands.
Jumping into Roguelands, the character creation is pretty basic when you first start the game. You can choose two traits for your character out the following; Strength, Tech, Magic, Faith, Vitality, and Dexterity. Choosing different combinations of the traits gives your character a different class. For instance, Tech and Magic make a Datamancer. At the moment, there is only one uniform in the game – although there are slots for up to 48 different uniforms. When you choose your two traits for your character, it is more likely that those stats will increase when you level up in the game.
The Uniforms, Augments, and Races all have up to 48 selection areas coded into the game. Only the Races have unlockable option previews available so far, with 24, and only 11 in the game at the moment. Each Race has different benefits, boosting select skills for your character. 8 level previews are within the game, although more appear to be on the way. You can choose between different portals and starting areas, depending on how high of a character you have and what you have unlocked.
Back on your space ship, you have access various facilities including an Alchemy Station, an Emblem Forge, Gear Forge, Storage, Combat Chip’s, a Planet Selector, Ship Droids, and an area full of NPC’s. The Forges, Planet Selector, and Storage are all self explanatory, being able to create different objects for use in the world.
The Ship Droids bring in World Fragments and occasionally other loot from outer space, with the World Fragments being described as “A unique form of currency.” As of the latest Roguelands update, the World Fragments are used to purchase various items including the Mystery Gift in the Marketplace, a new shop in the ship. All of it. You start off with one droid, and can unlock up to eight, with each costing 100 credits. The droids are upgradeable past this, offering a faster drop off speed and an presumed increased likely hood of higher quality items.
The NPC area hasn’t been entirely filled yet, with lots of room for expansion. There are currently two doors that lead off into separate rooms, the one that currently functions takes you out to see a man who is complaining about parts of the ship not working. Magicite and Pixel Kingdoms have almost no story to them, and I can’t see much of an over arcing story yet for Roguelands, but I certainly hope this is the beginning developments for a quest line or two.
Each world that you visit has a variety of different monsters for you to fight, chests to open, materials to find, and a miniboss. Through killing monsters you get the required experience for leveling up, and usually a few credits. Any objects you gather or are dropped from monsters can only be kept when you complete the level and place them into your storage.
To find the end portals for any level, simply go up and to your right. This is something that I dislike about the game, I have never found exit portals anywhere but up and to the right. Boasting itself as a Roguelike game, I was expecting Roguelands to have a lot more variety when it came to where the exit portals were.
When you find an exit portal, you are greeted with 3 different options. The options are random, they can all be for the same area, it can take you back in world progression, or forward. It can be a variety of areas to choose from. This is where the strategic choice of going back progression wise to farm some loot, or trekking forward into the unknown becomes a key element in the game. After the exit portal you will be greeted with a shop where you can buy several different items.
In Roguelands, the way to unlock new features is by dying. When your character advances in levels, you have a chance of unlocking a new object, but only once your character dies. The higher the level, the more rewards you get – and the more chances for a reward.
The combat for Roguelands isn’t as straightforward as in other games. Right clicking draws out your weapon, but you no longer have access to hotkeyed items such as potions or your little robot companion. You can now attack using the left mouse button, and you have several other combat ready items to use. This can be, for instance, swiftness. You have dash abilities using your Q, E, and space bar. Space sends you up, Q sends you to the left, and E sends you to the right.
During combat, there are several different types of weapons that you can use. Each has its own respective flaws and strengths against different enemies.
Roguelands is an impressive entry into the world of gaming, and so far it looks like the title will only continue to get better. I’d like to see Sean Young branch more into telling stories with his games, but I understand the appeal of designing Roguelike games. I can’t wait for the game to be finished and to see the full release, but even in early access I would pick up the game for $10. Especially if you have friends to play with. I eagerly await the full release of this game, and when it can be reviewed.
Roguelands is currently available on Steam for $9.99 USD, in early access.