On occasion, the backlog has to wait. This is the result of browsing Twitch for people to watch on a Sunday and seeing someone play this week’s game (I didn’t follow and I forgot their name IM SORRY). Anyway, the rogue-lite genre is just taking over. I really hate seeing it. You cannot go one page in the Steam Store without seeing a single rogue-lite or like. I’ve played some real dog shit rogue-lites/likes and I’ve played really good ones (Risk of Rain 2). After six hours (at the current time of this review) of playing Tiny Rogues, it is time to decide if the early access game has what it takes.
Tiny Rogues is an action rogue-lite with some fantasy and bullet hell sprinkled in from RubyDev. The game was released into Steam early access in September 2022 and retails for a cool $6.
There is no story yet. All I know is that you are an avid adventurer and you are tasked with defeating all ten floors. From a cave and descend all the way to what looks like hell, looting, and leveling up until you take on DEATH ITSELF.
Tiny Rogues is a classic rogue-lite. The player is going into a room, taking out all the enemies, and grabbing that specific room reward, and ONTO THE NEXT ONE.
Before we talk about the combat I am going to talk about LITERALLY everything else. Each character specializes in a specific attribute, whether it be dexterity, intelligence, or strength. Dexterity increases the rate of fire, intelligence increases mana efficiency and strength increases damage. After a certain amount of attribute pickups, the player levels up. When The player levels up they can choose between three class-specific upgrades. Ranger gets a critical hit chance, the wizard gets increased mana, the warrior gets increased damage, etc. Each character has their own passive perk that is exclusive to them. It is all very simple but the potential for power fantasy builds is very possible, which I like, a lot.
The RPG elements come in the form of stats from clothing picked up while playing. Primary, off-hand, helmet, ring, boots, etc, can all be picked up throughout the runs. Usually, clothing comes from locked chests or rooms that specify a clothing item. Clothing gives, mostly, passive buffs, for instance, being able to dodge the first hit in every room or a chance to duplicate a shot. There were times when I was completely and uttering impossible to kill because of the asinine clothing items that my character was wearing.
There is Borderlands level of weapons in Tiny Rogues. Noted above I have played just under six hours and I have yet to see a duplicate weapon. I’ve seen Excalibur, a bow that shoots exploding chicken eggs, and a staff that shoots bombs that blow up the entire room. Lots of basic weapons and a few fun weapons to keep the fun going.
Weapons and clothing come in all of those typical rarity levels as well and can be offered when choosing a door after completing a room. Other door offerings include a tavern, weapon upgrades, souls for endgame content, and a shopkeeper to purchase items.
Combat is incredibly simple but it fits the bill. You enter a room and click the button to throw shots at the bad guys until the room is cleared. RINSE AND REPEAT. The bullet hell comes into play and usually hits a zenith with the dungeon bosses. The regular enemies are a cake walk and the bosses provide the most skill to overcome. Bosses have two phases with two health bars, the second phase is more bullet hell than the former. The combat is easy to master and, for the most part, the game is incredibly easy. The difficulty can be ramped up with the game-specific modifiers named “cinders.” Cinders provide a really good amount of replayability to the game.
Tiny Rogues has that crt tv screen thing going on, which tries to justify the simple and devoid of color in the art design. Black dominates the screen while small outlines of color signal to the player which dungeon they are currently in. The enemy design is something else entirely. I am pretty sure that the iron maiden from Enter the Gungeon is in this game. Lots of small visual easter eggs are what make Tiny Rogues‘ visual design go over the top.
There is one single catchy song in Tiny Rogues. Just one, that is it.
For $6, Tiny Rogues is worth every single penny and even more. A game in Early Access, it has a surprising amount of content. I have only played the game for six hours and I see myself playing even more. Though the combat is simple and easy to master, the ever-expanding system in which souls can be spent makes every run afterward a new one. The replayability is over the top. Each character is just different enough to warrant attempting an entirely different build. Weapons and humor are fun, the visuals work, and the end-game content is top-tier.
DO NOT pass up on a $6 like Tiny Rogues. It is quite incredible.