LifeisXbox’s Roguebook review | It’s time for a review that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time now! Roguebook is a roguelike deck-builder that was developed by Belgian studio Abrakam Entertainment and published by Nacon. The game uses unique mechanics and was developed by the developers of Faeria with the help of none other than the creator of Magic: The Gathering, Richard Garfield. For a big card game fan like myself, this sounded like what could be my new favourite deck-builder game.
The ancients speak of a Book written since time immemorial containing all the world’s legends. After many fabulous adventures, recounted in Faeria – Chronicles of Gagana, this relic was lost in a well of Faeria. Through contact with this source of magic, the Book developed a wicked free will of its own and became the Roguebook!
We played Roguebook for 8 hours on PC. This game is also available on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PlaySation.
What we liked!
- Eyes and ears | Get ready for a treat to both of these organs. I was absolutely crazy about the art style from the moment the intro started playing, and if we’re being totally fair: from the moment I laid eyes on the Steam page. When the story was being told, I was focused mainly on how good and bright all the colors looked. And luckily, the graphics during the actual gameplay continued to be very pretty. I loved the idea of the map being expanded by using ink (since you’re in a book, after all), and I enjoyed the designs on the cards. The enemies themselves looked very inventive, and each hero had its own characteristics. Early in your adventure, you’ll meet Naddim, and he was probably one of my favorite characters graphic-wise. He’s this old little guy that reminded me of Yoda! Besides the art style, I immediately fell in love with the mystical and magical music that was playing when first launching Roguebook. Throughout the entire game, I enjoyed the soundtrack playing in the background and the sound effects.
- Map | Each page presents a new chapter, and every map is made up out of hexagonal tiles. When you enter a new page, there is a single line with lit-up tiles that leads straight to the boss fight (some obstacles might be in the way, but they are minimal). However, if you look around, you’ll see some tiles have items on them. These can be a variety of things: coins, gems, watchtowers, ink, treasure chests, health potions, (elite) battles, etc. These particular tiles are not connected to your main road, so in order to get to them, you’ll have to use your brushes, of which you get five at the start of a page. By winning battles, you’ll earn more ink (or you might be lucky and find some ink laying around on the map), and you can gradually discover more territory. It’s entirely up to you when you decide to tackle the boss, but it’s advised to look around as much as you can. I ended up visiting the boss whenever I ran out of ink, and couldn’t really do anything anymore. Now, you probably won’t defeat a boss right away. There is a learning curve. Don’t worry, the maps are never the same though, so you won’t have to wander through the same map again and again. Roguebook offers procedurally generated maps to keep things from getting repetitive.
- Heroes | There are 4 heroes, which you will unlock gradually. We have Sharra the Dragonslayer and Sorocco the First Mate, who will be unlocked at the start. But then there’s also Seifer the Blood Tyrant, and Aurora the Mythmaker. Each character has its strengths, and in each run, for example, Seifer uses rage while Sorocco is an excellent blocker. At the start of every new run, it’s up to you to choose who you’ll be spending your time with, and you can’t change this duo during this run. Every hero has over 50 personal cards, a personal relic, and their own unique skill tree, based on many cards you own. When reaching a set amount of cards in your deck, you can choose one of three skills. It’s very important to use your heroes’ strengths to your advantage, but it’s also crucial to protect each other and combine your strengths to unleash the most powerful combinations. Strategical thinking is required because the order in which you play your cards can generate very different outcomes.
- Fun to play, hard to beat | As I mentioned above, winning boss battles isn’t easy. At one point, I was SO close to defeating the Chapter 2 boss, but he ended up kicking my ass at the last second. This meant I had to start an entirely new run. You understand I was quite frustrated that I got so close and had to redo the two chapters for the 7th time. However, I was never so frustrated that I wanted to give up the game. I sometimes needed a break, of course, but I was always super excited to dive back into Roguebook. And I think that’s pretty amazing because not every game manages to grab someone’s attention like this. Roguebook is definitely hard to beat, and those health potions are scarce but very, VERY needed.
- Cards | Roguebook offers over 200 cards, which is plenty to choose from. Cards are assigned per hero and can be upgraded to reach their true potential. There are special gems available in-game, which you can find laying around the map, buy at the merchant, or win through battling. As I mentioned a little earlier, elaborating on your deck is important because it affects your heroes’ skill tree. But getting that damn GAME OVER screen is also important since, after every run, you gain new cards so you can come back stronger every time!
- Enemies | There’s a wide range of enemies available (over 40 different types), so battles never got bored. When you have to redo a run 15 times, you might get a little sick of the same old enemies, but all in all, I never had a feeling of ‘oh not this enemy again’ (unless it was one I couldn’t beat but that was just me being bitter). Every enemy looked and fought differently, and some introduced some fun features like creating little minions to defend them (well for them at least, not for me trying to kick their butts).
- Black screens | When you encounter a battle tile on the map, you just click on it and get thrown into a battle. However, when I wanted to enter battle, there was a black screen that lasted a little too long? I’m not sure what was up with that but it interfered with the smoothness of the whole game, in my opinion. Being totally ready for battle but having to wait for like 15 seconds and stare at a black screen is a bit demotivating.
What we disliked
- Absolutely NOTHING! I did not experience bugs, glitches or crashes.
How long to beat the story | Around 20 hours
How long to reach 100% achievements | TBD
Similar with | Faeria, Slay the Spire
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂