It’s that customary ‘I love Team17‘ opener, as they’ve published another corker with Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos, this time from developers Heliocentric Studios. However, it is a bastard of a game that has a cruel centre under a kawaii shell.
Why? Because this is a 1-4 player co-op game, and while you could freeball on your own, it can be ludicrously hard. Having a friend or two may help with triggering switches, slashing at, or on, enemies, but more importantly, carrying your bones to a resurrection altar.
Set in the once peaceful land of Tasos, this retro rogue-like is available on PC, however, this is based on a Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos Switch Review, a perfect co-op title for everyone’s favourite Nintendo rectangle – be it local or online play.
Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos Switch Review
Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos is a classic top-down RPG in the mould of a Zelda title, though not as much depth in terms of story or characters. But that’s ok. The visuals are cute, all the colours you’d find in a Smiggle, and no overly-complex lore to swot on.
It’s all adorable, all very stable. Starting in a safe place, you awake from your bed (with customisable furnishings) and pick a couple of colours for your Hero class. They’re an all-rounder, good with combat, stamina and watercolours. It’s a safe bet but also the only choice at the start.
Later, you’ll have the option of the following:
Speak with the local carpenter, Griff, and he’ll give you a rundown on the area and suggest you build a blacksmiths, among others. The village will grow in grandeur with cobbled paths and beautiful flower arrangements, and there will be a portal for fast travel to get about.
Outside of the village, you encounter a few blobs and skeletons. Again, let’s go with nice. Eventually, you stumble across a Cthulu-like temple, enter your first dungeon, and all hell breaks loose (also a Team17 game. Kinda).
Like any rogue-like dungeon-crawler, Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos presents you with a series of floors; the further you go down, the more challenging it becomes, but the greater the rewards.
Upon entering, you acknowledge a EULA sort of thing in that you agree to give up any of the gems you are carrying. Gems are the main currency for upgrades. Unlike similar titles, you keep them on death but forfeit them with each new run.
As a procedurally generated game, each map in Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos differs from the last. With a Dark Souls–like death rate, you will see patterns, but switches elsewhere, or you face different enemies. Each run is unique and a bit of a roulette.
For that reason, it feels fresh every time, and you don’t have that tendency to want to give up because maybe, just maybe, the next run will be kinder, and you earn a few more gems in the process.
Rocket Propelled Grenades
Levelling up in Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos isn’t like the conventional RPG. Gems increase attack power, stamina, inventory and supplies, plus unlock the occasional class. Stats are recorded, like how many types of enemies you’ve killed (for research purposes, of course), and how many bushes you’ve destroyed. At the time of writing, it was about 3000+.
The class system is an interesting one as you need to unlock a thread with a tailor. Sometimes these are achieved through dialogue; other times, you can buy in a shop. Once you own the class, you can swap them out when returning to your room.
Some classes differ quite a bit. For example, the Thief was the first I purchased, snubbing the Mage. They’re super quick and hit pretty hard too, but have a glass jaw, so you have to be nimble. To counter this, you can increase your sword distance as well as carry health potions.
Aside from minor cosmetics, many of the classes are the same, and was a little disappointed with the Ranger, expecting to play the game like in Gauntlet, while the other player played the Hero. Unfortunately, they were equipped with a sword and not a bow by default. You have to unlock it first.
Measuring Your Friends
Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos is a bit divisive in places. It’s not a huge game, but you repeat the same areas a lot due to the challenging nature. In an attempt to OP my character, I found the game adapted with my levelling. I could be reading into it, but the game felt like HAL and watched my every move and learned from it.
Irrespective of the deaths, you feel a sense of achievement like you took it up a notch, albeit it only a little. Like those tiny Biro marks on the door frame when you were growing up as a kid. A centimetre here and there. Wait until you get to be an adult, then you’re rated on inches.
Playing with others is a huge benefit. Not only do you share the brunt, but the loot too; a player with more health can take a risk, collect some hearts and all players benefit. The same applies to the gems. But the greatest aspect is the lifeline of someone carrying your bones to a revival point to respawn.
There did come a The Truman Show moment, where I wanted to be free of the dungeon shackles when playing solo and explore Tasos. But broken bridges and conveniently placed rocks meant completing one section at a time.
I wish that Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos was a little easier, in the exploration sense, but you have to suck it up. At least it does feel like you’re chipping away and getting somewhere, even if incremental.
Playing with others made it better, other than when someone stepped on a trap or not keeping up when running through a booby trap section that makes Indiana Jones look flaccid. At least they could revive you, giving you hope you could make another dent and get past the boss.
Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos Switch Review Summary
Rogue Heroes Ruins Of Tasos is a brilliant game, but it’s sometimes a love-hate relationship. You love the serenity of Tasos, the customisations, and exploration (albeit restrictive), but then you enter those erratic dungeons of hate once more and wish you had a nuke.