A quick look at Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos screams “Zelda” right off the bat. The game is an open-world 2D action-adventure RPG with roguelike elements. What’s notable about this game is the ability to play with up to 4 players at a time. You’re also not limited to local multiplayer sessions, so you can always grab a friend or play with some randoms over Wi-Fi.
The game opens with an intro story that tells you about the land of Tasos, how it was once ravaged by a hundred-year battle, and the intimidating Titans. It’s a story that’s quite easy to forget when you become engulfed in the gameplay. It does serve as a decent setup for what’s to come, but it doesn’t make a significant impact to be memorable.
One of the first things you’ll notice in the game is the ability to customize your character. Upon creating a new save file, you’ll have to pick an icon and proceed with the creation of your character. The game lets you choose the colors of your skin, hair, and cloak. It’s a lot of options considering the game’s pixel graphics. It’s also thanks to these options that help differentiate characters during multiplayer.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos can be played with up to 4 players either locally or online. With that said, the game can still be fully enjoyed when played solo. As one of the heroes, you’ll set out on a journey to explore the expansive overworld, clear dungeons, and defeat the Titans. The game may be short, clocking in at around 13-15 hours of playtime, but it’s priced reasonably for the amount of content and enjoyment you’ll get.
If money makes the world go round, it’s safe to say that gems do something similar in this game. You’ll need these precious stones to develop the village and build up your character. Even if you dislike roguelite games, you can still have a wonderful time with Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos. The gameplay doesn’t get frustrating and even though you lose your gems upon entering a dungeon, you’ll never truly be bothered by the loss.
Besides adventuring in the vast overworld, Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos has several dungeons to explore. Each dungeon has a set of small rooms and higher floors to climb. It’s worth noting that some of the later dungeons will have larger rooms. You’ll find yourself going through these rooms to clear them. Each floor will likely have a puzzle to solve and enemies to slay. Even though the dungeon floors in the game are procedurally generated, they can sometimes feel the same. You’ll occasionally have to solve the same puzzle or watch the same layout. Regardless of this, dungeon runs have always been enjoyable even with this minor setback. The small rooms and optional puzzles may have played a role in that.
There’s an endless supply of gems to salvage from these dungeons. Each run will reward you with a generous number of these jewels. It’s enough to make each run worth it even though you lose the majority upon another entry. The most notable part that makes the experience less of a chore is how there will always be something available to purchase. Careful consideration comes into play at times to avoid wasting any of your hard-earned gems, but even so, it’s not difficult to amass more.
Riddled with traps, caution must be taken when traversing these dungeon floors. One wrong step could very well be your last. Although easy to ignore, there are hints of these traps in the dim-lit rooms. Together with the traps in this game, it’s certainly an intriguing experience. The puzzles are mostly straightforward with a low number that actually requires thinking. They seem to be aimed more at having fun rather than having to pull the last few strands of hair from your head.
Puzzles aren’t the only obstacles that await you in Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos. You’ll frequently find yourself fending off various enemies. Either it is to clear a dungeon room or to get past an area, these foes will give you a run for your gems until you strengthen your character more. It’s the common approach to keeping the difficulty balanced.
Rogue Heroes’ charm doesn’t only come from its pleasant pixilated graphics and epic dungeon-crawling runs. Fighting the many enemies that await you contributes to the game’s appeal. Each enemy has its own battle style and engaging them shows how entertaining combat can be. The combat mechanics aren’t too advanced; however, it’s a solid throwback to the old-school 2D sword-swinging days.
There’s a decent number of classes you can use in this game. What makes each class unique is the special ability you gain access to. This ability will not only support you through tough fights, but will also sometimes help with mobility when traversing the world—which is something that’s been desperately needed in this game. Besides this, the game’s combat mechanics are quite simplistic. You’ll likely often find yourself using the same sword technique, for example, repeatedly to finish off the opponents in your path. The different classes do open up replay value, and the number shows that it caters to the players.
Regardless of the class you use, you’ll always have access to the variety of weapons the game has, once obtained outside of dungeons. You’ll sometimes come across these weapons in their temporary forms during dungeon runs; it’s the perfect opportunity to try them out, but nothing in the game will give you a difficult time with acquiring them all eventually. While the options are plentiful, you may not even find yourself utilizing them all during combat. It can also be a pain to constantly swap between them.
The game gets some points for the various enemy types you’ll be able to fight against. Each enemy has its own unique battle style and it can be intriguing to face. They aren’t always a walk in the park to take on. You’ll have to approach them with caution if your HP is low and utilize your hero’s skills to subdue them. Strengthening your character through the skill trees plays a vital role in all of this, too.
Similar to most RPGs, you’ll engage bosses in battles. They’re disappointingly easy to conquer, though. Fighting hordes of enemies provide more of a challenge than a boss could ever. Upgrade your health and you can basically stay still while swiping your sword. It’ll be a little disheartening knowing this when you really want to overcome one of the toughest challenges the game should throw at you. It also makes the shortcuts less of a viable option unless you only wish to jump to a specific floor.
One notable thing about the village is the level of control the game gives you. You’ll be able to place housing wherever you so desire. What it lacks is an undo button, which could have been useful if you had a change of heart. Occasionally a lot of players will place their housing in empty plots of land without thinking it through. Having the option to reverse this action and move where the building was placed would have been a beneficial addition; it could have even costed some spare gems.
Even though the game can be played solo, you’ll also have the option of playing with up to 3 other players in a co-op adventure. The game supports both local and online multiplayer gameplay (Nintendo Switch Online required). You’ll be able to join someone’s world or let 3 others join yours. You won’t often find a large number of random players rushing to join your online lobby, but there is a higher chance of finding someone with patience.
There isn’t much difference between the single-player campaign and the multiplayer gameplay. Some dungeon room puzzles will adjust to the number of players in the session, but that’s pretty much it. The enemies don’t (noticeably) grow in strength and you’ll still be able to overpower them without much assistance. It will undoubtfully be a more enjoyable ride playing with friends, but only from start to finish.
Graphics and Soundtrack
The pixel artwork seen in Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos is astonishing. Each new area you’ll discover in the world will have its own unique theme that can be breathtaking to the eye. The dungeon designs aren’t half bad, either. The game runs flawlessly on the Nintendo Switch, and the only time you may encounter lag is during an online session with a poor connection. The soundtrack is also as sweet as its visuals. It’s nothing to brag about, but it’s good for what it is.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos is a charming pixel game that offers nifty puzzles and balanced progression. It’s not too rough around the edges with its roguelite elements, opening the game up to anyone who doesn’t want a brutal difficulty. It does suffer from a forgetful story, but that also makes it clear that the gameplay is sufficient enough to steal your attention. It’s the type of game you’d either want to play single-play or multiplayer from start to finish, as the multiplayer portion doesn’t stray too far away from its single-player gameplay.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos gets an 8/10.