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Review: Roguelight

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game is free!


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Going deeper into the darkness

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Facing off with a flying skeleton

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Waiting from a safe distance

General Information

Genre:Platformer ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Donationware My Rating:Children (6+)
Played on:Martha
Available from: Itch.IO

General Notes

This game's name is an amusing little pun on a type of video game. Called Roguelikes, these are usually fairly hard fantasy games featuring randomly generated worlds and a form of permadeath, both of which also appear in Roguelight.

Since the average romp through the dungeon lasts only a few minutes at best, this is game is well suited for those times when you need a little break. The simple graphics and sound add to the charm as well!

Gameplay Overview

Roguelight is very much based on the dangers of the dark. Your goal is simply to explore the realm, gathering up coins and avoiding enemies, but your main obstacle isn't the monsters you'll encounter or the spikes lining some of the floors; it's the omnipresent darkness that hides everything from view.

Light is very rare in this world, and any source you have is going to be very valuable. The main light source is your own arrows, which are set alight as soon as you string them on your bow. The longer you hold them there, the dimmer their light becomes. Fortunately, you can fire an arrow into a hanging lantern to light it. This also reflects the arrow, possibly letting you hit multiple targets with a single shot.

Eventually, you'll run out of arrows or health and die. When this happens, you invest the coins you found in helpful upgrades before you head back into the darkness to try again.


Small palette, large tileset
Roguelight uses a very limited palette, but it does make the most of it. For example, the farther away from a light source something is, the more it will appear as a blotchy teal rather than the brighter and more detailed yellow and green. Additionally, there is a lot of different possible decorations and floor designs, making the place feel like a proper ruin.

Time to be afraid of the dark
It can be unexpectedly tense when you've made it far down in the dungeon and start running low on arrows. You'll reach a point where you don't want to light them and use them up, but at the same time you need to use them to see where you're going and defend yourself from the monsters lurking about. In the darkest areas, you can't even see your character!

With greater power comes longer games and more treasure
Upgrades make it easier to survive or easier to gather lots of coins. The more upgrades you buy, the more you'll get out of every trip. For example, upgrades let you carry more arrows, make them brighter or increase the amount of the damage you can handle before dying.

Try, try again.
There's no limit to the number of times you can enter the ruins -- something that's rather important considering how frequently you're gonna die. That said, nothing feels cheap or unfair. Every death could have been avoided with a little more care or careful use of your arrows.


That's about it
This game is very simple, down to there being only one environment. After a while, it will eventually start getting repetitive. Still, it's rather fun for a free game, so while it might not be for everyone, it's certainly better than some of the other games out there.

Concerns and Issues

This game revolves around a form of permadeath. When you die, that's it. The world you were exploring is gone. You can spend any of the coins you found in the shop, but unspent coins will disappear as soon as you start the next round. Upgrades are kept between rounds however, allowing you to gradually become stronger.

Mild violence
You face various monsters in the depths. These include flying skeletons and cloaked figures, both of whom you'll need to shoot with your arrows. Touching any of them or any of the spike traps scattered about will hurt you. When you can't take any more damage, you'll fall to the floor with a slightly unsettling thud.

This game is free, though you have the option of sending a little tip to the game's developer when you go to download it. If you're feeling generous, I'm sure they'll appreciate the tip.