Rouge like games are a series that seems to of fallen out of favour, it’s a series of games that are not massively favoured by current gamers for their simple premise and usually simple graphics. This is because at their heart the 2D action of rouge likes are simple to look at, and usually very simple gameplay, but the difficulty and randomness of the games draw people in.
The touhou series seems to be really stepping out into multiple genres recently, from the origins of a shump to a strange duelling one on one game now to a rouge like, moving further and further away from its original genre.
For those who don’t know, Rouge Likes are a set of dungeon crawling games, usually top down in randomly generated dungeons, rouge likes are slowly taking aspects into other games, popular games like enter the gungeon, rouge legacy and Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games. However a pure rouge like is rarer, I think the best I’ve played is Dungeons of Dreadmor, however lets see how well this game fares.
Gameplay wise the game plays pretty much as you would expect, you run around levels of a “Dungeon” attempting to get as low as possible floor wise. Going deeper you run into stronger and stronger enemies, however you get to level up as you go along, picking up gear or money on each floor or from defeated enemies. This lets you buy things if you are lucky enough to run into a shop on your travels, or slowly equip your character to increase the power. However a staple of the Rouge like genre is perma death, once you get defeated your progress is lost and onto a new run with a brand new character you go. This part is what ends up turning off a lot of players into the genre, however that extra danger when running around for me ends up making the game overall much more enjoyable. The gameplay in this is pretty fair too for the most part, with the first few levels being very simple and easy to beat, but becoming increasingly difficult, I never found myself dying a death I felt unfair which is a good feeling in this game.
Control wise its pretty simple, you can move in 4 directions as you run around, attacking your enemies, you can use ranged attacks and also attack in diagonals, a nice addition, helping you be more strategic as you pick off which enemy you need to at first. Also a long staple of the rouge like genre is back which is the quick run? Allowing you to quickly run down a long corridor by basically speeding up the game, but be careful as this will also cause all other enemies in the area to move at the same pace which can end up putting you in a tricky situation, one I’ve found myself in a few too many times to admit.
Graphically the game looks amazingly colourful and very sharp, high quality sprites have been used to give the game a massively anime feel, showing its roots as a 90’s Japanese shmup on Pc. However the graphics of this game is a massive hit or miss game, overall if you like this chibi style this game will work for you, however I can see some people being turned off from the same style, make sure you watch some videos of how it looks before you jump into this game so you are not disappointed. With that being said though the graphics are lovely, the sprite work that’s has gone into this game is really top notch, in some cases I would argue the models look 3D even though they clearly are not, backgrounds are detailed but pretty bland, and very repetitive but that’s what you expect from a rouge like really, there is no change to the character as you equip new items however, which is a problem I find with a lot of RPG’s, I really wish the customisation was clear on each character.
I love any form of rouge like coming out in the hope of introducing more people into the genre and bring it back into the limelight to bring out more games that I can sink massive amount of hours into without realising. Touhou Genso Wanderer is a game that at its heart is a fantastic little rouge like, but with a design that may put certain players off because of artistic choices. However if you are able to look past all of that, the game at hand is a fantastic, with the level of gameplay expected from a rouge like, with a difficulty that feels fair even when its kicking your ass, 8/10, for a game that manages to bring back enjoyment into a genre, but doing it with a questionable art style.