Roboquest has the best minute to minute gameplay of any roguelike

I have played a lot of modern roguelikes (or “roguelites”, we’re not arguing about this).

I was playing The Binding of Isaac when it was still a Flash game. I was playing Spelunky when it was still freeware. I was playing Risk of Rain before it went into the third dimension. I was a fan of Synthetik before SsethTzeentach made a video about it.

I 100 percent Hades on PC. I 100 percent Enter the Gungeon on PC and Nintendo Switch before Dunkey made a video about that.

Rogue Legacy 1 and 2? Darkest Dungeon 1 and 2? Hand of Fate 1 and 2? Cryptark and its sequel Gunhead? 20XX and 30XX? Played them all.

I’ve even put a lot of hours into a handful of roguelikes I didn’t particularly love just to see if they could improve after a few dozen hours. Titles such as Neon Abyss, Wizard of Legend and Skul: The Hero Slayer all have something to offer but just weren’t my cup of tea.

And for the topic of today, FPS roguelikes, I have played those too. I’ve put my time into Ziggurat, Paranautical Activity, Immortal Redneck, Gunfire Reborn and a few others.

All of this isn’t some sad brag about how much of my life I’ve spent on this genre, just an explanation that I’ve played most of what this genre has to offer and, after all that, Roboquest has the best minute to minute gameplay out of all of them.

Roboquest originally hit the scene back in August 2020 as an Early Access title. While I love roguelikes I prefer to pick them up when they at least hit their 1.0 so I chucked it on the old Steam wishlist and waited for that to happen. The full released happened just last month on 7th November where I picked it up and, man, what a surprise that was.

As mentioned earlier this is an FPS roguelike but Roboquest’s real trick is insanely fast movement shooting that can stand toe to toe with AAA offerings like Doom and Titanfall despite the fact that this is an indie title.

From the very first room in this game you are going at full tilt until you die or until you beat the final evil robot and roll credits. Even the instances where the game pauses the timer for a breather is to decide between upgrades which is it’s own sort of stress, especially when you’re just starting out and not knowing what’s good can be difficult to figure out, though that’s the charm of roguelikes.

Developer and co-publisher RyseUp Studios has done an absolutely sterling job making movement and shooting endlessly satisfying and it’s these core mechanics that mix so well with roguelikes and why I have been waiting so long for a game like this to come along.

By nailing the basics it makes progression and the fun of discovery all the better. Starting with a completely vanilla pump action shotgun, for example, is great because RyseUp worked so hard to make that base level experience so good, but as you progress and your shotgun shoots fire or never needs to reload or can clear a room with ricochets, well then you really have something special on your hands.

There are also some extras like grinding on rails set around levels and some extra movement options you will get closer to the endgame. My favourite has to be the jetpack that, when combined with an explosive weapon, basically turns you into a carpet-bombing robot angel of death.

When I reviewed Doom Eternal on launch I mentioned that the game is a constant rush because you have so many tools at your disposal and there are so many enemy types that each fight feels more like a puzzle than actual fight you can brute force your way through. Roboquest isn’t as complex (which some may see as an advantage), especially because most enemies can be killed in the same way. Despite this the absolute head rush that both games give you, as you get into a shooting frenzy, are very similar.

Some of the boss fights in Roboquest made me legitimately worried and I felt my hands trembling as both the boss and myself got close to death. It has been a very long time since a game instilled that kind of fear into me. Well fear isn’t the best word, more like “adrenalin shakes”.

Progression and unlocks are key to any roguelike and Roboquest has them too. You can find upgrades from levelling up during a run or from buying or finding them while you progress. Collecting Wrenches, a type of currency, unlocks permanent upgrades that persist between runs.

There are also classes to unlock and some other things which I won’t spoil… though it’s a moot point. The unlock criteria for a lot of these are, I feel, unnecessarily complex and feel like Googling them is a necessity. Again other roguelikes have done this but I am kind of sick of huge parts of the game – like classes – being hidden away like this. I’d honestly prefer a checklist of difficult requirements that I need to work through for these instead.

I’m just shy of 30 hours into Roboquest at the time of writing and I have unlocked and experienced most of that the game has to offer. There are just the hardest difficulties to conquer and achievement hunting if I want to go down that route. Just for the sake of completeness I have never even looked at the achievement list before but it indicated that I have 52 of the 76 achievements completed.

Those who have played a lot of roguelikes may find that number a bit low as other games require many dozens of hours to unlock everything, or more. I don’t really have a problem with this progression as the core gameplay is the real fun here and less so the meta progression and exploration. That being said I would be lying if I told you I didn’t want an expansion in the near future.

For now I’ll be grinding out a few more runs and trying to be less dependent on my two favourite classes, and maybe fill out some of those achievements.

If you’ve read this far and don’t really believe what I have to say about Roboquest, well then you don’t have to. There’s a free demo available for the game across PC stores and Xbox Series X|S. On top of that it’s included with PC Game Pass and Xbox Game Pass so if you’re already a subscriber you can play the game for free right now.

Given Roboquest’s immense quality it’s crazy that the barrier to actually play it so low, which makes my recommendation even easier. Please give this game a go.

Before I sign off, however, I want to leave my wishlist for some changes I’d love to see in the game. It is the season for asking for presents, of course, but my list below has to come with the caveat that I only played this game in its 1.0 release. Something I suggested below may have been part of the game at some point that was removed or changed during development because it didn’t work.

I also only played Roboquest in singleplayer, as I do all my roguelikes. The game has full two-player co-op so things may change for those who play together.

  • The borders between rooms seriously need to be looked at. It’s far too common for enemies in the next room over to wonder into the current one, or for players to accidently start a new fight in the next room while the current one is still packed with enemies. Maybe the “hallways” between rooms can be lengthened slightly?
  • More things to spend Wrenches on once you have all the skill unlocks (Leonardo Brushido cards are boring). Even aesthetic unlocks like player skins or items for the home base.
  • I wouldn’t say no to more upgrades to spend Wrenches on either.
  • On the topic of skins: gun skins would very much be appreciated.
  • The jetpack ascent speed really should be faster.
  • Melee weapons seem undercooked. Maybe you can get a shield or health buff when using them?
  • Snipers (any gun with a sight alt fire) also feel a bit on the weak side. One recommendation is giving them all massive pierce damage. That pierce damage could even be locked to when the sight is used.
  • Slightly bumping up the encounter rate of the highest weapon / rarity level (orange AKA “Fantastic”) would progression more satisfying and give struggling runs more chance to succeed.
  • Maybe kaboom grenades should become regular grenades that can always be used, instead of their own distinct weapon.
  • I’d kill for an upgrade that gives all weapons extra bullets. I know that the “fork” weapon prefix already does this, but a single upgrade that affects all guns would be better.
  • The enemies that hide in the ground only to pop up are simply annoying and feel like “gotcha” moments instead of an actual challenge. A loud warning sound when they’re activated, and maybe a split second or two, before they activate would make them feel like a better enemy to fight.
  • Give the slide mechanic more use. Sliding into an enemy could stun them maybe?

About Author


Related News