Developer Heliocentric Studios’ new hack-and-slash roguelite Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos does an excellent job of sinking its claws into players and not letting them go. Its world is one that is fascinating to explore due to the sheer amount of hidden items and secrets tucked away in the corners of the map, and it is a massive amount of fun to play with friends. Rogue Heroes’ ability to provide a fun experience is heavily hindered by bugs and glitches as well as some bizarre design choices, however, which makes for an uneven experience even at the best of times.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos begins by dropping players in the middle of the once happy and peaceful land of Tasos. This country has been ravaged by monsters led by an evil group of deity-like beings called the Titans. The player is then tasked with entering several different temples to track down these Titans in order to defeat them and bring prosperity back to Tasos. Along the way the player will find a host of different NPCs that can move into their small village and help them become better at adventuring.
Rogue Heroes is a little odd in that it mixes together elements from many different kinds of video game genres. Its most obvious inspiration is Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures. Just like in that GameCube classic players are able to team up with three other friends as they explore dungeons and defeat bosses. On top of this there are also some huge similarities to games like Stardew Valley as the player is able to plant crops, interact with local villagers, and construct useful buildings around their house. More than anything Rogue Heroes is at its heart a hardcore rogue-lite game. Players will spend most of their time fighting through challenging procedurally generated dungeons as they work to get stronger in between runs.
Combat in Rogue Heroes is actually very simple. Players are able to tap one button to swing their sword and another to use their secondary item. These items range from grappling hooks, to bows, and even magic wands. Players can also block projectiles and ranged attacks with their shield and they even have access to a special class ability that can be used at any time. Each class in the game has a different ability like the Knight’s jump slam attack or the Witch’s flying broom that can allow the player to avoid damage. Anyone who has played an old-school Legend of Zelda title will find Rogue Heroes’ combat to be very familiar.
In between runs in dungeons the player is able to take any gems that were earned by defeating enemies and spend them at different stores in the village to acquire upgrades. At the Blacksmith players can upgrade their sword’s reach, damage, and critical hit chance. If they go to the Tool Shop they can instead level up the stats of each of their secondary items. To begin buying these upgrades the player will first need to spend gems to get each of the shops built in their village. This is more than worth it because these upgrades are important for those who want to make it very far in the game.
One of the best aspects of Rogue Heroes is the fact that several players are able to play together at once. This can be a lot of fun and is actually very easy to make work. All players have to do is start a game and invite whatever friends they wish to play with. Players can even use their single-player character to play with others, and will be able to bring any upgrades or items they acquire in multiplayer back with them to their world.
The biggest issues with Rogue Heroes at this time are the pretty large amount of bugs that the game currently suffers from. During the course of this review a major game-breaking bug was encountered roughly halfway through that forced a complete restart. There are also a few minor ones that popped up as well, like walls that could be phased through or enemies that attacks wouldn’t connect with. There were also several times multiplayer games would stop working altogether and kick the whole party out to the main menu.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos really is a blast to play both alone and with friends. The world is exciting to explore, and players never know what is going to be tucked away in some random corner for them to discover. Sadly, in its current state there are so many issues that manage to bring the whole experience down very quickly. Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos needs to have many of its problems fixed before it will be accessible to the greater video game community.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos is available now on PC and Nintendo Switch. A Nintendo Switch copy was provided for the purposes of this review.