Rogue Shooter is a simple game with a simple premise. You're trapped on a space station of some sort and must traverse your way through one hundred floors while dealing with all sorts of nasty creatures, which you must kill half of before progressing. Yet for such a simple game, it managed to keep me playing for just "one more run." But is that really enough to make a good game?
First off, let's get this out of the way. Rogue Shooter is a Roguelight rather than a Roguelike. Sure, levels are randomly generated, and there's permadeath, but the game is as far removed from the classics like Nethack as possible when it comes to the gameplay.
The game looks awful, but it's an intentional design choice. Now, that doesn't excuse it for looking awful, but the choppy animation and the low-quality, 2D enemies have some charm to them. The same could be said about the MIDI-sounding music, which is quite catchy, to be honest.
Gunplay in Rogue Shooter is very simple. There's no Y-axis aiming, only vaguely pointing at an enemy's hitbox and clicking on an X-axis. Enemies are very varied when it comes to design, but sadly most of them either just throw slow-moving projectiles or melee you. You can fight them off with some weapons that are honestly pretty varied, including dual revolvers, shotgun tridents, and flails that shoot bullets ... somehow.
As mentioned earlier, level design is randomly generated, so levels are nothing special. Just a bunch of hallways floating in space with little theme or any way to differentiate themselves from each other. Sure, there are secrets, but they don't do much to enhance the level of design at all. What certainly detracts from it however are the cramped corridors, which make fighting enemies a royal pain.
Throughout levels, you can pick up intel, which can unlock new skills and classes. Classes are basically just different loadouts when you get down to it, ranging from weaponless to starting with a laser gun and more. Skills are also passive buffs the players can get, but they rarely help out too much.
No, what really helps out is RNG. If RNGesus isn't on your side, you will have a really bad time. Some runs, health kits, and rare items won't drop at all. Others, you'll be drowning in them. I know it's rather silly to complain about RNG in a Roguelite, but sometimes it's just ridiculous.
There's not a lot that stands out in Rogue Shooter. Games like Paranautical Activity have done this concept before, and are better at that. The only thing that makes this game stand out from other FPS Roguelites is the bad graphics and comparatively simple gameplay. Not necessarily what you'd want from a game. So although I kept going back for more runs, you can do so much better with other shooters.
This post was originally published in 2015 as a part of our First Person Saturday series. It's been republished to have better formatting.