Rogue Stache is an indie action platformer from Wubs Games which I can sum up in a few words: Violent, efficient, old school and well, Indie. More on that later. Think of the first Duke Nukem games and Commander Keen with a little love for the good old moustache thrown in. Now imagine those games with Postal and Doom’s levels of violence. That’s Rogue Stache.
Simplicity, efficiency, bloodlust
The combat system’s pretty basic, and that’s a strength. Use the jump button, left and right to move around and mouse to shoot. I can only describe movement as smooth and precise. The shooting is accurate, with little details like weapon recoil to make things more tactical. Fire a shotgun and you’ll bounce back, forced to move forward again to get a hit. The same applied to rocket launchers and miniguns. It was a great way to add depth to the shooting system. There are also Stache Powers, one-off boosters that give you a slew of buffs. Infinite ammo? Check. Invulnerability? Of course. More money? Yip. What about a health refill? That’s there too. Given that the game refills your health bar every time you level up and randomly offers an item for it, survival isn’t difficult. What is, is staying out of the proper tricky stuff.
Subtle depth below simple appearances
Another great area are the staches and helmets which offers buffs and weaknesses. Some will give you double jumps and reduce your health. Others give you a big health boost but slow you down. One offered a meagre improvement in all areas but no drawbacks. You win hats with Stache Tokens after defeating bosses and opening up loot crates, but little else. I’d have liked to get weapons and other upgrades as well. I also wonder, why were there no armour suits? Slow tanky builds with stronger melee than ranged attacks? I’ll sign up for that any time.
Every shooter will scatter enemies around to make things more manageable. Rogue Stache does this too, but will throw in 20-30 enemies in one spot as a lesson for prudence. Every 2 or so levels, you’re going to fend off these hordes with your diverse arsenal and, and hope that you don’t fall into those pits. Want a quick death? Get greedy here.
Lacking structure in level design
How do the levels progress? There are a set amount to go though before facing off with a boss. The first is easy, second not so much, third far harder and fourth plain frustrating. Since there are no save points you’re going to repeat the effort each time you die. This can be frustrating. As you level up, the amount of kills to the next progression increases.
As a result you’re going to work harder to keep that health bar up. The drop rate for hearts (med kits) increases to compensate for the increase in challenge. These are also auto-use items, so keep an eye out. As for level design, each area you fight through generates at random. While this brings variety the lack of different textures used can make each area a little too similar to the previous. Some jumps can also be particularly difficult. I do feel that the use of procedural map generation can be a hindrance to creative level design.
Let’s talk guns. Aside from your trusty laser pistol there are plenty of other weapons available. Railguns, miniguns, shotguns, laser rifles, rocket launchers, grenades, plasma swords, axes. They’re all available at random with some spawning more than others. Some weapons feel overpowered, but for the most part they’re balance quite well. I will also cite a lack of melee weapons since throwing yourself into the midst of enemies and surviving can be proper fun.
Story. Yes, there’s a story but it’s nowhere near as important as the gameplay. In a nutshell, you’re out to defeat anyone stupid enough to shave that well manicured ‘stache, and take revenge on those smooth-cheeked bastards who did that to your friends. Now, those enemies I refer to range from demons, possessed scientists all the way to massive amalgamations of body parts. How maintaining a moustache related to the glorious ultra-violence and oh so satisfying combat, I still don’t know. Thematically, there seemed to be a disconnect in the game’s enemies. I get that as indie developers, they’re allowed some quirkiness, but I felt that this game could’ve been so much better had the devs toned that down a little.
War, war never changes
All that I wanted was to blow up, shoot and slash everything in my path. In the end I chose to don a Halo lookalike helm and bring forth vengeance upon my enemies, forgetting my protagonist’s motivations in a heartbeat. My trigger finger itched for more bloodshed and chaos, gasping for air at the end of every stage. Yes, I forgot about any narrative the game offered.
I felt as if Rogue Stache needed better structure above anything else. It needed greater coherence and continuity in player levelling, map transition and weapons. As enemies got tougher, so should’ve the weapon damage stats. A save point system would’ve reduced my frustration if Wubs Games chose to put one in place. The smooth combat and shooting kept things entertaining enough, yet I felt that if the game were more focused on its themes and design elements it’d be even greater. As for the excessive violence, please, Wub Games, keep it. Keep the guns, great momentum and responsive controls. I’ve seen their fire, and look forward to what comes next.
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Gaming / Tech / Entertainment Author at Geek Node
Zubayr could be defined as any one of these traits: Grizzled, optimistic, jaded, blunt, opinionated, irreverent and reserved. His experience was once carbon dated to the glory days of Doom and Duke Nukem 3D. It still amazes him how irrelevant those have become these days.Some say his tears generate DLC unlock codes, and that the WASD combination was discovered by his typo while on Yahoo Chat.
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Article Tags:90s Action · featured · Games · Gaming · indie · PC · platformer · Rogue Stache · Wubs Games
Article Categories:Video Game Review