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Rogue Heroes: Ruins Of Tasos

Posted by GG Goblin On March - 16 - 2021

A Link to the Past style adventure with added roguelike dungeons. Sounds good to me.

As the years move ever forward, classic games start to become lost in the mists of time. However, games as popular as the SNES title The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past will never be truly forgotten due to the huge number of games that they continue to inspire. The latest game to make use of that inspiration is Heliocentric Studios’ Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos, available on the Nintendo Switch and PC. Fans of the old-school Zelda games will feel right at home here, even as they take steps into the procedurally generated dungeons with roguelike features. The Titans are breaking free and heroes are needed to defeat them once and for all.


The land of Tasos was once plagued by a bunch of evil Titans, but the goddesses managed to trap them behind seals and bring peace back to the land. The problem is that the seals are starting to weaken and the evil of the Titans is starting to leak out, potentially leading to the Titans themselves escaping. Step forth heroes, willing to journey into the four great dungeons and put an end to the Titans. While the story itself is not that involved, it provides the perfect backdrop for an adventure that is both familiar and new.

The main focus of Rogue Heroes are the four large dungeons that the player will have to negotiate in order to defeat the Titans. These dungeons are procedurally generated, so each visit will feel different and fresh, but they are also designed with purpose. Puzzles appear regularly and are well varied, with switch pressing giving way to more complex actions as the player progresses through the dungeon. The puzzles can take a little understanding, but shouldn’t present too many problems to the well equipped player.


Also well varied are the enemies that the player will face on their way to the big bad Titan. There really is a great selection of bad guys here, and the player will learn their attack patterns in order to make short work of them. The combat itself is easy to pick up, with a simple sword swing or shield block complemented by a secondary piece of equipment and class specific skills. There is nothing to difficult here, with most classes playing similarly aside from those singular class skills, and no one class really has the advantage over another. This is something quite important as Rogue Heroes includes four player local and online co-op, allowing players to team up with others in order to take on those pesky dungeons.

While the combat may be familiar, the dungeons do bring something new to the Zelda-like adventure in the form of roguelike failure. Fans of the roguelike genre will be familiar with this fail state, but for those players dropping into Rogue Heroes with nostalgic hope, dying in a dungeon will mean have to start the dungeon again from the beginning, which may be quite the shock. It’s not all bad as the player will find themselves back in town with any gems that they have gathered in the dungeon, and it is possible to bypass levels in subsequent runs for a price. Given that a vanilla hero may not get very far in any of the dungeons to start with, this is where the gameplay loop comes in.

As the player will not lose everything when they die in a dungeon, this means that those gems can be spent on improvements that will potentially make the next dungeon run that little bit more successful. Failure is never complete failure as the player will constantly improve and while the early game can be a bit frustrating, it quickly levels out into a steady progression that will soon see the player, and their friends if they choose, facing down a Titan or two.


But the game doesn’t stop there, as players looking to spend some time away from the dungeons will find no shortage of things to do. Side quests are plentiful and the game really does reward the player for exploring all of the overworld map. Much of the time though will be spent in the games central hub town. This is where the player will be able to invest by adding buildings to the frankly disappointing starting state of the town, attracting new NPCs, many of which will be able to provide services for the player, including upgrades. Obviously the heroes main weapon and the like can be upgraded, but the fact that each secondary piece of equipment also has its own upgrade tree means the player will have plenty to think about as they improve their character. For those who don’t want to think so much, there is even some farming to waste time with. Watching the town grow and expand is a great motivator for one more dungeon run.

The game is very well laid out, from the dungeons to the overworld distractions, and they all play into improving the character and giving them a better chance of success. But the thing that will perhaps attract most players to Rogue Heroes is the visual style that pays homage to those early Zelda games. The game looks great, both on the big screen and on the small Switch screen, and there are plenty of little nods to the source inspiration for those who remember.


The developers at Heliocentric Studios have obviously paid a lot of attention to the detail in Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos, and that comes through in the gameplay. It is packed with varied things to do and plenty of secrets to discover. The difficulty is nicely balanced and the roguelike features are light enough that they shouldn’t frustrate even those new to the genre. For classic Zelda fans, this modern take will really hit the spot, while roguelike players will find the gameplay loop irresistible. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos is great fun and well worth checking out.




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