Streets of Rogue is probably my favourite example of procedural generation done in a way that isn’t annoying or gimmicky.
I mean, procedural generation isn’t, nor shouldn’t ever be considered a gimmick, but, I think in a lot of games, we go, “BUT ITS PROCEDURAL IT GOES ON FOREVER!” and pretend that’s a real reason for the game to be elevated to the pantheon of gloriously replayable god-tier games, when in reality, we should be going, “The concept is so simple a computer can put it in different orders!” but, before anyone accuses me of hating the cylons, (I, for one, welcome our frakkin’ toaster overlords.) let’s get into the gloriousness that is Streets of Rogue.
You are a random man on a mission, chosen from a few developer created roles, or custom roles created by you, and your mission? To Destroy the evil mayor of whatever town, because nobody cares what the place is called.
To get to Mayor McCheese though, you’ll need to get through the levels, and to do that, you’ll have to complete missions to unlock the elevators. These missions are as simple as kill a couple people, or pull three switches, but, with the complete randomness of the level layout, it works really well. There are elements of shooters, beat ’em ups, stealth games, and even roleplay elements involved. The game is very fun because of the basics that build into something worthwhile.
Graphics are your basic “oldschool” pixel graphics. These aren’t terrible ones, and you can definitely tell the difference between the types of characters, which is essential in a game like this. I think the graphics do the game well, and they also aren’t hard to look at. It’s not my favourite game graphically, even in a group of pixel types, but, they work, and definitely look better than something like SJW Simulator or whatever. The audio is nice, good solid background music that you hardly even pay attention to.
This game does procedural generation really well. I think a lot of games forget that procedural generation only works when the concept of the game is simple enough that the level, or the location, doesn’t rely on solid world building or level design. This game would be fun if it was just different buildings you had to break into that had cameras, guards, and other things that potentially could kill you. Making them procedural not only creates a larger amount of possibilities, but keeps it refreshing. Honestly, I’ve ran into a lot of the same “type” of trap rooms over and over, but, it doesn’t matter. That’s when procedural gameplay is worthwhile.
Having a multitude of classes to build or play is has to be the bread and butter of Streets of Rogue, alongside playing with a friend. The game by itself is fun, engaging, and worth trying, but, when you add a friend to the mix, you suddenly have a lot more options open up to you. You can have that stealth ninja sneak in and steal the items out of the safe, while the soldier is outside just gunning everyone down for funzies, or, you could create distractions for that same assassin so he can stab people in the back. You could both play as body snatchers and just slowly move into buildings taking over individual guards. There are TONS of ways to play this game. Multiplayer isn’t laggy at all. I actually want to talk to the developer about that, it’s one of the big mysteries of game design… for some reason, even companies like From Software have trouble with netcode.
The game’s quirky humour and chaotic world is just… great to be in. I don’t know how to explain it any better than that. The first time you beat a guy to death with a baseball bat to save a gorilla, you’re gonna fall in love, simple as that.
I think this game is great. It’s $14.99 USD and while that seems expensive for a pixel art procedural generation chaos-fest, you are definitely getting your money’s worth on this title. Go get it now! DO IT! You’ll thank me later.
Disclosure: We received this game for free
Developed by: Matt Dabrowski
Published by: tinyBuild