Streets of Rogue is, at first glance, everything I hate. It's an open alpha of a rogue-lite with a pun name for a title, and it takes inspiration from a mass of different sources. A single paragraph on the website suggests the game takes inspiration from Binding of Isaac, Nuclear Throne and Deus Ex.
But, this first alpha is open for everyone to play, so I thought why not, if it sucks I can just get back to playing Rainbow Six Siege forever.
It doesn't suck. In fact, Streets of Rogue is fun in a way I haven't seen in games in a long time. [break]It's not particularly polished, and it's got a lot of rough edges, but I couldn't stop playing it. So, as I was saying, Streets of Rogue is a rogue-lite, but instead of going around a dungeon twatting folks, you're in a procedurally generated city. It's not any sort of city you'll recognise: gang members roam the streets, office drones threaten naked people walking in off the street and slavers publicly tout their wares in giant cages. The city is already on the verge of chaos, and you're dropped into the middle, a match in a powder keg.
You can be as involved as you want to be - you're given simple missions; neutralise this person, destroy this object, retrieve this item. You can take whatever steps you feel are necessary to achieve this goal, and the tack you take will be dependant on who you're playing. As a shapeshifter you can inhabit other people's bodies, with the skills and talents they possess. As a gorilla you can free other gorillas from captivity, building your own monkey army. Perhaps you want to play as a cop, arresting criminals and protecting the innocent. At this early stage there are plenty of characters with different loadouts and abilities, and they seem to play completely differently.
The surreal cities you stroll around give the game much of its character, and the combat matches this vibe: Swinging a baseball bat around, a lucky strike could see you knock your opponent through a wall, while high explosive charges can easily level half of the city, scattering debris and gibs across a wide area. Some levels will see special modifiers put in place, bombs raining from the sky or the entire city consumed by a riot. It all just adds to the feeling you're caught in a whirlwind, and while it might not be an elegant simulation, I spent my entire afternoon playing it. It's got local co-op too, so you can play it with a friend if that's your fancy.
It reminds me of a freeware game I played a lot growing up, Survival Crisis Z, and it's not a game I ever thought would be made these days, much less published. The demo itself
is quite limited, giving you a handful of perks and levels to play through, but it's a good taste of what's coming next, and a good way to lose a few hours.