The minds at tinyBuild Games are just on a roll. Kinda hard to stop a company willing to take chances on the weirdest of concepts. I'd love to see what happens if the company ever decided to partner with Adult Swim Games and turn out something that would be hilarious and mess with our minds at the same time. The latest title to come from the company is Matt Dabrowski's mega RPG action brawling stealth shooter (yes, that's how they're promoting it), Streets Of Rogue.
The game starts you off with a quick explanation of what's going on in a text intro. You elected a new mayor who promised lower taxes and free beer, only to tax everything and take all alcohol away. So not cool. He threw the worst kegger ever, and now it's time for his sorry ass to pay! His private booze stash fuels his private army, while the city falls into chaos. The Resistance has been building to take down the mayor, and it needs new recruits to take him down. Like you!
You'll choose from a multitude of characters who can either blend in or stand out in a crowd. You'll be dropped off in a level like the Slums and be asked to complete a set of missions to clear the area. These can range from collecting info to freeing prisoners to beating up drug lords for money. The game combines a lot of different gaming aspects. For starters, it's an RPG, the character you select will level up as you go, gaining health and experience along the way which you can use to last longer in fights and gain more skills. It's also a brawler as you'll obtain weapons and get into fights with multiple people in real-time fighting. It's also a stealth game as you'll obtain hacking equipment to get into computers and servers to help achieve your goals. All wrapped into what looks like a classic 16-bit dungeon explorer game.
You start off at a home base every time where The Resistance is setting up shop, then make your way to an elevator and choose the level you wish to fight in. Once you complete your missions you'll be rewarded with experience and the ability to gain more skills. You'll also be able to return to home base and turn on new features or switch up your character. There's even a dude sitting around waiting for you to turn on certain cheats. You can use the money you won or stole in the game to unlock new skills that can help make your life easier too. If you plan out things right, you can shoot and punch your way through levels and get what needs to be done quickly, or you can sneak around and make things happen without laying a finger on anyone. A nice bonus to the game is that you have a co-op option for local and online play, so whatever lies ahead you don't have to do alone, but you will be splitting everything up evenly. Unless… one of you dies that is.
The one drawback to the game that prevents it from being awesome is death. In Streets Of Rogue, death is basically hitting the reset button without a saved game. Your character dies, your experience is gone, your unlocks are gone—your everything is gone! The game forces you to play as perfect as you can or suffer the consequences of fighting for the cause. Normally, this would be an amazing challenge to overcome. But the game's unpredictability for levels married to the odd nature that some characters will behave in sets you up for too much possible failure at every turn. There are bad guys who will call the cops, patrons, and bystanders who will help fight you off, there are even random characters who pick a fight with you while minding your own business. If I screw up on my own, I'm down to take the consequences. I'm not down to lose everything based on random chance.
Overall, Streets Of Rogue is pretty cool. There's a lot here to love with some nods toward breaking the fourth wall. The dialog in the game will at least be entertaining as you're treated like any street thug they don't care about, and the smart ones give you grief for being a gamer who is just passing through. The death thing is kind of a bummer, but it's also the kind of challenge that will provoke hardcore players into trying to beat the game with their only character in a single run. Plus there are a bunch of unlockable characters that have their on bonuses to bring to the game, so there's some cool replay value to play as a cop or a gorilla. The game is at least worth playing a few times if any of those genres are your favorite.