When I was first turned on to Immortal Rogue (), I was attracted by the unique narrative system. After actually playing, though, what’s kept me interested is the gameplay. Sure, the retro visuals don’t hurt, and the soundtrack is pretty great too, but I’m a sucker for hard games with minimal tolerance for mistakes—and, to be sure, Immortal Rogue is one of those games.
Before we really dig into the nitty-gritty gameplay mechanics and controls, however, let’s take a look at the two aspects which first grab attention: Visuals, and sound. Upon opening the game, we are greeted by an ancient battlefield… and a singular figure, cloaked in purple, standing tall amidst the ruins. This landscape, beautiful in its own way, establishes the tone (and, to a certain extent, the narrative). As we begin, the music rises to the forefront—mournful, reflective, the theme is cemented. There are no heroes here, no deeds of outstanding valour or wisdom. There is only the survivor of an ancient battle, and a predator.
Moving into the game proper, we are introduced to the basic controls—swipe to dash, tap to attack, and a short hold into a swipe to execute a heavy attack. With the exception of the heavy attack, these all feel fluid, responsive, and—dare I say it—intuitive. Unfortunately, the heavy attack takes quite a bit of trial and error before it feels as smooth—quite often I found myself dashing when I wanted to use my heavy, or using my heavy when I wanted to attack. This usually wasn’t a major inconvenience, but, on the other hand, it only rarely occured in the middle of a mob, and boss fights require a more methodical approach to begin with. Builds with a focus on charging heavy attacks and maneuvering around a fight may be somewhat hampered, however.
Utilising the basic controls and surviving a few hundred years is a fairly straightforward affair; mastering them, and not only surviving but thriving, is something else entirely. Attacks feel solid and impactful, and the immediately apparent strategies are rewarding. It is easy to imagine the first century, or even the first several centuries, as frenzied feedings in chaotic bloodbaths—after all, they are. While there is no visual animation emphasising the point, there is an undeniable parallel between the pattern of dashing onto enemies and hacking them to death, and a bloodthirsty animal ravaging its prey. I can only hope it is intentional, because the visceral feeling it evokes upon slaying the first mini-boss is nothing less than thrilling.
With experience comes wisdom, however, and in this case wisdom reveals a different, safer, playstyle: Dashing from attack to attack. All weapons have a combo; for most, this is a three-hit combo; for others, it is a two- or four-hit combo. After completing the combo, there is a delay before it can be used again. Dashing, or using heavy attacks, resets that delay, allowing for multiple combos to be chained back-to-back—and, more importantly, never letting your opponent, or opponents, attack. Done well, this technique transforms the image of a blood-starved vampire into one of a calculating predator, stalking its prey from the shadows.
As a freshly turned vampire you will sleep for centuries, waking only to feed. …