LifeisXbox’s Vagante review | Roguelites are on a rise lately. With Spelunky 2 hitting the Game Pass most recently and Rogue Legacy 2 still a work in progress on PC, but eventually hitting consoles in the future (hopefully!). Nuke Nine really need to step up their A-game if they want to compete with some of these powerhouses. But will they do so? Vagante is a … odd one, that’s for sure. Not one to jump out of the crowd anytime soon, that’s for sure. Normally I would write a short story here, that kind of portrays what kind of story or world you’d find yourself in. But… I can’t with Vagante. Why? Because of one simple thing… THERE IS NO STORY! I tried to find something, some in-game text or piece of scrap that would kind of hint at some semblance of a story. But nope. You’re just there. Yup. That’s it. So yeah… let’s just … dive in. This is, Vagante. Yay…
Most Memorable Moment
My most memorable moment has to be the moment where I, without taking one hit from anything. Be it boss, terrain, or regular peon! Finding perfect loot drops for my adventurer, and preparing myself to go into a new biome… To then proceed to kill myself because I pushed away the bottom half of a two-stack boulder half that then smushed me… Yay.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we Liked!
- Looks fabulous! | Nuke Nine, if there’s one thing that you totally rocked? Then it has to be the visuals! The vibrance is totally everywhere! Though the donkeys of the original cart look a bit stunted, the rest of the game just oozes with atmosphere. It’s vibrant, yet gloomy where it has to be. The particle effects are properly done and the different clothes that you can wear show on your adventurer. Kudos to you! For thinking about all those little attentions to detail!
- Unlockables | Roguelite/like adventurers rejoice! Because Vagante cometh to us with a bag full of goodies… In the form of unlockables! And there are plenty! And variable as well. These can range from backgrounds that buff and nerf your character. Making it either easier or harder on yourself. Background music that changes up in certain biomes, to even entirely new adventurers to pick from! So, there’s plenty of stuff here for us to choose from! Huzzah!
- Audio | While the music has the right bops, the same thing can also be said about the overal audio ambiance. Every enemy, every swing or arrow being shot just has that right ‘thwap’ to it, you know? Everything just clicks into place like a perfectly crafted puzzle. Sure it doesn’t WOW you, but it doesn’t feel off either. It’s weird because, I don’t feel like I was absolutely blown away by the audio department. But I can’t really fault it as well. So, that’s actually a good thing. Most of the times when audio, be it music or ambiance, doesn’t really feel right, something’s wrong. But I can’t actually say that this is the same for Vagante. Somehow, they figured out the ‘in between’ spot, but on the good side of the track rather than the bad side. So, a slow clap to you Nuke Nine!
- Controls | Another thing that is really mandatory for a roguelite or like to either stand out of the crowd, or die trying? Has to be how the game controls. And I can honestly say that Nuke Nine really dialed it in. The jumping and overal combat controls feel crisp and on point. No floaty moonlike controls or any of those shenanigans. No sir, just winning! Though some tweaking might still be necessary if you want to use a bow though… Those still kind of feel ‘off’. But for the most part? Perfect!
- Procedural… What now? | One of the biggest, and best parts about roguelites and likes have to be the proceduraly generated maps. Those really switch up the entirety of the game, always keeping you on your guard to not get ‘lulled’ into a false sense of ‘oh, I know this layout!’. Because, that’s what its all about! Giving you an entirely new experience over and over so that the grind really feels fresh every time! Because one, you’ll die… A lot! In the beginning. And two, who wants to see the same starting levels over and over when you’ve already gotten to the second, or third biome? No one. That’s right! … Well, Vagante felt like something was wrong with the generator for the levels. I literally had the same levels pop up over and over again every two or three deaths in. And that just didn’t feel OK. It felt… Icky, blurgh… muh! This shouldn’t happen Nuke Nine! Like… anytime soon. Okay, if I’d have sunk 100’s of hours in the game? Then, sure! A generator can only generate so much before it uses some parts again. But I had only played for about 2 hours by then. I shouldn’t be seeing the same room tiles and even one time the exact same build of the level! No… That just doesn’t happen! I hope this gets fixed… And soon! With a day one patch!
- Feels a bit too much like spelunky | If there’s one game that I did sunk 100’s of hours in? Then it has to be Spelunky. And sure, you can draw inspiration from a game. But … This really feels quite heavily towards the spelunky side. Less cute though, and heavy on the combat. But levels? And how the game handles? Yeah… Might wanna go for something more original there…Was a shame though. I really hoped for a truly refreshing experience, but felt kind of mediocre.
- Story? Ou est tu? | Something that felt ‘uck’ as well, was the lack of story. Like… There is none. Not even some bare bone scribble or what have you! Nothing! There is just absolutely nothing that explains or tells you why you are here. What drives you to plummit your soul and life into these dungeons and caves. Why? What’s the purpose? Not even a ‘You are a weary adventurer that hungers for death… But cannot find it. Maybe, you will find here..!’. Not even that! Sometimes the game will tell you ‘it’s damp in here’ … WHAT? What is that?! Why! is that! Ugh!
What we Disliked
- Game Breaking Bug | Vagante had everything going for it. The music was perfect, visually it’s absolutely amazing in its 8-bit form… (you all know I have a thing for these types of games), the roguelite aspect is just absolutely great with all its unlocks. And then… The moment happened. I saved in the propriatary in between levels resting spot. Went into the next level, to then turn off my console for just an hour or so because real life things happened. I came back, turned on my console and booted up the game… To then, go into a game crash loop. When I did get into the game and tried to run my save, it froze the console. Rebooted it, to then get another bout of game crashes. I had to reset my entire thing for it to run again properly. This, is something I truly hope that will get patched up by the time the game launches. But at the time of me writing this? It happened. And that drastically lowered the score from a totally recommend this, to a wait until its released and gets an update.
How long to beat the story | There is no story.
How long to achieve 1000G | Around 10 to 15 hours.