There has been a certain resurgence in retro style themes for a while now, not just in terms of style and aesthetic like the pixel art approach of many games, but more the thematic and gameplay elements as well. While there has been certain failures with games to hold the appeal and to capture the true ideals, there have been many that in and of themselves have caused a resurgence of games like it. It is the reason now, more than ever that I myself placed gameplay far above graphics in terms of what makes an engaging game.
I originally had high hopes for Rezrog because of how it portrays that old style of dungeon crawling adventure. The card based tokens for the people and monsters is amazing and the way the dungeon pops up around you much like a dungeon master constructing the dungeon as you go speaks to my current obsession with DnD but unfortunately, it’s a facade that becomes a little boring over time and one in which shows far too much repetition to be enjoyable through the long play it requires.
Interested in the Aesthetic
Originally I thought it was going to be much like the amazing Cardhunter game with an adventure steeped in nostalgia; with an interesting turn based system that holds a decent amount of strategy but this idea quickly fell through. The the aesthetic design of the dungeon tiles and the cardboard character and monster tokens are rather nice, and the detail to this design with various items just out of reach of the dungeon like soda cans as well as defeated enemy tokens, sets that scene perfectly. I even enjoy the minimal animations of the various enemy pieces as the cardboard tabs jump around with an almost human like touch. It’s just that no matter how well the visuals entice you to the game, and set the scene, the gameplay is so incredibly boring and repetitious that it doesn’t matter in the slightest.
You have access to several characters that basically represent the classic dungeon crawling roles, each with a certain elemental focus. They have a set of skills, weapon types that fit their role and skills and this grows slowly as you level. A little too slowly in fact as after several hours of play you’ll still be messing around with the same skills. It’s just a little boring.
Now if I was taking in a full adventure squad worth of characters this might not feel like much of a problem but, weirdly you only take in a single character at a time. This means that single character, with limited skills and options throughout playing through a map and this continues on and on. To make it worse is that in terms of mechanics it really only makes sense to focus on leveling one character at a time, so you end up playing a few hours with a single character.
But then these dungeons are all just way too familiar. The dungeons you get each tiem are randomly generated to an extent with different paths, rooms and goals that go into creating the dungeon but the style of these dungeons within the carious areas just feels like I’m exploring the same dungeon over and over. The enemies do tend to change ever so slightly through the levels of these dungeons with harder enemies being placed in as you go but they really aren’t enough to make these dungeons feel different.
For each area you have ten little dungeons which are in the end being mirror images of each other in terms of style and substance, Leveling a few characters at the same time would mean repeating this near identical content for around a couple dozen hours. That would be, and is mind numbingly boring. Unfortunately the game pushes you a little towards this facet because upon a failure within one of these dungeons that character gets jailed and needs to be rescued. I had one character I rather liked and put them through the dungeons to the level ten boss, failed and now I’m left leveling up another one or two to that level again through dungeons that all feel the same and play the same. There are just many far more interesting games and experiences I could be playing.
I don’t even feel like the progression elements to the game are interesting enough to support that experience either. Each time you level you get to add five points anywhere onto you stat list of what amounts to the basic attributes you would expect but, this difference really isn’t that noticeable. Dump a few points into endurance and you get a single health point.. YAY. several into strength and I take another couple points off that enemy that means i will still kill it in the same amount of attacks.
You are able to upgrade your spells as well but then, the seem to level up individually, needing you to use them enough in combat before you can and then dumping gems into them. BUt I never really noticed the difference in damage or usefulness that this provided the spells. Like at all. And god damn there are so many underpowered abilities. Oh yeh, I would love to spend all my mana on that fireball that does slightly more damage than my auto attack.
Armour is much the same offering up armor that really does fuck all from what it seems and also a couple stats to random attributes that are often useless for the character you are leveling due to the random stats it rolls on them. Weapons are the main progression difference dropping that time to kill by a fair chunk but mostly, the weapons just keep pace with the level of dungeon you’re in. So that rat might take two kills, but that mage takes 5 which was what the rat took at the start. It makes it all feel rather pointless.
It is kind of nice that the gear you find as you go can be used by other characters. You’ll find various weapons, armour and jewelry that you won’t be able to use on that main character you are leveling because, fuck you that’s why but at least once they get trapped and need to be rescued, forcing you to spend more hours leveling another character you’ll be able to use that gear. Not straight away though, because it’s all level locked but hey – it’s the thought that counts right?
It’s just a rather boring, and repetitious affair and one I unfortunately don’t recommend you bother with.