A character who looks like a plague doctor awakens in the dark before fleeing a growing army of miasma-filled onions. This corruption continues unchecked, engulfing the entirety of a vast mountain in the distance. Armed with some tea leaves, a few worms, and a penchant for pushing things together to make potions, you set out in search of a way – any way – to clean the corruption. Knowing how to make an opening statement, The Serpent Rogue breaks new ground with a uniquely fun approach to the roguelite genre.
Once you’ve completed the tutorial’s explorations, you’re essentially free to do whatever you like with your goal of clearing the corruption. That really means it all, by the way – while you’re limited in terms of the materials you can find early in the game, you can find rare items from non-enemy NPCs who will occasionally wander into your camp. By find I mean steal and by steal I mean you can kill them to take their items. It’s morally pretty bad, of course, but it’s all to cleanse the country of a great evil, so it’s okay, isn’t it?
If you’re wondering where the “roguelite” portion of this game comes into play, it’s ingrained into exploration. From time to time, the game’s non-camp zones undergo a “corruption storm” that not only resets the area, but also modifies what objects, items, and enemies spawn in that area. The topography of the zone stays the same – for example, the river will always be right at the start in the Wastelands – but everything else changes. One reset might have you discovering some Brimstone, while another has a locked chest instead. This makes the game feel different on each outing, much like dying and respawning in other roguelites.
The combat system leaves a little to be desired, but it feels like it’s intentionally bad. You can equip axes, shovels, and other weapons, but they don’t do much damage and your attack speed is beyond terrible. Instead, the game really tries to get you to delve into its potion-crafting system. You can collect and research materials to discover their effects, which are essentially modifiers. For example, tea leaves provide the remove modifier, which when combined with aloe (vitality modifier) and seashells (number 5 modifier) allows you to craft a 5 vitality remove potion, also known as a damage potion.
The crafting system isn’t explained particularly well though – I personally only really figured it out after about an hour into my game. While it felt good to discover, much like solving a puzzle that’s been staring you in the face for ages, a stronger potion-making tutorial probably wouldn’t hurt.
The Serpent Rogue is a wonderfully detailed game that emphasizes exploration and thinking outside the box. The tutorials need a bit of work in my opinion, and the combat could use a bit of polish as well, but the mood, music, and general atmosphere of the game is top-notch. It’s a game that challenges players to take risks, explore new areas, and grapple with its oppressive themes and atmosphere
https://doublexp.com/features/the-serpent-rogue-reinvents-the-roguelite-with-a-continuous-but-randomized-world-hands-on-impressions The Serpent Rogue reinvents the roguelite with a continuous yet random world – Hands-on Impressions