Do you ever lay in bed at night wondering how to get those old-school Zelda vibes again? The ones where you’re suddenly transported to the Dark World in Link to the Past? Well, Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos probably isn’t going to get you there – but it might conjure up some of those SNES-era adventure feelings. Maybe, just maybe, it might satiate your hunger for a hero’s journey until we get some more news on the Breath of the Wild sequel.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos released yesterday on PC and Switch, and the features and mechanics on paper are compelling. Concepts old and new come together to create a playful, adventurous landscape to explore. You get to build up a town to scratch your Stardew Valley itch, unlocking classes along the way, use resources that you’re piling up to permanently advance your stats, and explore a big world with a variety of tools and unlocks. It’s kind of like Rogue Legacy meets classic Zelda… and that’s pretty cool. I’ve got a couple hours under my belt so far, and it’s holding my attention admirably.
What’s more, and I haven’t tried this out yet, there’s local and online co-op for up to 4 players, which seems like it could be a fun social outing instead of tackling another round of Among Us, Valheim, or Jackbox.
The benefits from repeated dungeon attempts are substantial, as you unlock massive health boosts, damage, crit chance, and more. While modern roguelikes may turn players off by the constant and repeated deaths, Rogue Heroes is definitely on the “roguelite” end of the spectrum, you gain substantially more power as you play. You’re not just pumping up your stats, either. Along the way, you can unlock and upgrade a variety of useful tools like the boomerang, shovel, lantern, bow, and more. These upgrades help keep things interesting as you move through the world, since you’re not just stuck with the starting version of an item. Multiple progression paths for yourself and your gear help keep things fresh even after a bunch of dungeon deaths.
While the overworld is static and features numerous quests and secrets to explore, the dungeons themselves have significant randomization elements in how they can be constructed. In Zelda fashion, bombs are used to blow up walls to unlock hidden areas as you travel down floors in search of the dungeon boss. Of course, you’re going to be smashing every pot in sight along the way hoping to find some hearts, arrows, and other items.
Finding the boss key and making your way to the boss room are all part of the exploration process, which is often punctuated with a balance of monster-slaying and puzzle solving. Instead of crawling through all the floors each time you visit, you can unlock shortcuts to the deeper levels of a dungeon so that when you’re ready to tackle the boss, you can zip back in an instant. Fast travel is also available in the greater overworld, so you can focus on the gameplay at all times – you can upgrade in town and be back diving into the depths in moments.
Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos also features up to 4-player co-op, both local(!) and online. While I’ve been enjoying the game for a few hours solo, this aspect is one that might be the one that seals the deal for some. Throughout the last year, my online playgroup has explored many games together, from Fall Guys to World of Warcraft, but it’s always a bummer to go our solitary ways when we break off to go play deckbuilders, roguelikes, and RPGs of all kinds. Rogue Heroes might let us explore a landscape that’s traditionally reserved for single-player experiences together, so that alone has me eager to keep adventuring.
Are you planning to check out Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos? Let us know in the comments!