roboquest | Tried – Fire and flames in the RyseUp Studios roguelite

roboquest | Tried – Fire and flames in the RyseUp Studios roguelite

Every so often, out of boredom and curiosity, I start scrolling through Xbox GamePass and the store to understand what new things are about to arrive. I do it for two reasons: the first, and I admit it, is because I am a person who loves to plan upcoming releases and mark them on my calendar. The second, however, is because I find it fun to do it. Later, I go back to Xbox GamePass to understand what has been added in the catalog, I do a more in-depth search and in the tab dedicated to the most recent releases, after I remember its existence, I find a new production just added which I download, only to realize I've never heard it before.

I don't expect anything, I don't intend to create expectations, I start and then live the experience lightly, aware that, for better or for worse, it's still a video game. This is how I met Roboquest, a curious production released on Steam in 2020 in Early Access, which arrived two days ago on Xbox GamePass. Developed by the independent team RyseUp Studios, Roboquest is a roguelite FPS along the lines of the highly appreciated Gunfire Reborn, another cel-shaded drug that I loved, also available in the subscription service of the Redmond house.

In the videogame panorama, which I believe is always in constant change above all thanks to similar experiences, the roguelite genre - as well as the roguelike one - is a certainty for many players. The experimentation of new approaches manages to give life to video games with a great character, especially strong in crazy and out of the ordinary contexts and situations. I spoke a few days ago about Shoulders of Giants, and in the past months about other works such as Cult of the Lamb , a video game that I consider more effective because it captures the winning elements of Forager, created by Mariano Cavalero. The phenomenon of the moment, however, still remains Vampire Survivors , which on Steam, according to October data, was the most downloaded video game on the platform, surpassing well-known names such as Elden Ring, the latest work by Hidetaka Miyazaki.

What does it mean, though, to develop a roguelite? Meanwhile, it means immersing yourself in a world dominated by so many works that are now difficult to overcome, both in terms of context and content value. Hades, the masterpiece of Supergiant Games, is still today in the memories of many players. Escaping from Hades, at the time, has never been so fun and carefree. And recently, especially thanks to the results obtained over the years, it has secured a continuation of forthcoming releases that has already attracted the attention of many enthusiasts, who can't wait to get their hands on it. Roboquest, on the other hand, was born from the mind of RyseUp Studios in Lyon, France, which over the years as a development studio and publisher has managed to forge important collaborations with some of the most famous French schools.

According to their official page, the philosophy of the team can be summed up in three words: love, passion and dedication. As I was able to notice in my five hours in the company of Roboquest, between shootings and endless deaths, these three much-vaunted words fully represent RyseUp Studios in all its parts, because the starting point of the production coming out this year on Steam, Xbox Series/S and Xbox One it has noteworthy features, as well as a progressively improved gameplay framework over the last two years . But let's proceed in order.

There is never peace for the Earth

Once again, humanity is on the verge of extinction. It seems incredible but it happens every time robots and cyborgs find themselves shaking hands and sowing panic and death around the entire aquiferous globe. Here there is no planet to save, so now everything is automated and the few resources still intact have been taken by humans who have fled into space in search of a new home. The Earth is dominated by a few survivors, who live hand to mouth foraging for food and water from the ruined cities of great metropolises, once populated but now reduced to a pile of rubble. However, they are inhabited by heavily armed robots and ruthless cyborgs, who aim to conquer the planet and reduce it to starvation .

It may seem like one of the many stories in which humanity, due to catastrophic events, is reduced to decay. Instead, the game plot appears simple but well defined, with excellent ideas that could lead to further reflections, once fully understood. It explains what happened and why now the cyborgs, driven by a thirst for power, intend to gain ground and establish a regime of terror to completely eliminate the human race. However, the best defense is an attack, some would say, and in fact I didn't limit myself only to waiting for the enemy, but I faced him without fear. At first with a pistol, and then with any instrument of death useful for winning battles. The story, even if it is condensed and is not further explored, is still to be understood. Certainly, the impressions are excellent, because a cross-section of the world is shown that could take shape in any way, especially thanks to the settings and the lore inherent in the project, which appears detailed and treated in a peculiar way.

However, when I I interfaced with Roboquest, I was afraid of finding myself in front of a concept that was not up to par and unclear. The team, both on Steam and on Xbox, does not adequately investigate the description dedicated to the work, and despite the positive reviews on the Valve platform, very little is said about the video game. If it hadn't come to Xbox GamePass, and I admit it without problems, I would have never found out. Instead, here we are, talking about it and well, because RoboQuest is a truly exciting video game developed by people who have plenty of love and dedication.

Shooting, killing, dying and repeats: a quiet (more or less) day as a robot

More or less quiet, actually, because Roboquest has no time to waste and immediately jumps right into the middle of the action without asking anyone's permission. The tutorial explains how to shoot (unbelievable but true, bullets are raining in profusion) and how to move, dodging and jumping easily. An inconvenient note is running, which forces the player to press the left wheel of the pad, but nothing that can't be fixed soon with further resolving patches to fix this subtlety on consoles as well.

Net of this, however, Roboquest is an engaging video game thanks to its gunplay, which entertains for its fluidity and the many solutions that can be used within the gaming experience, which offers an excellent dynamism between action and the other one. In this regard, it is thanks to this peculiarity that I was surprised for all five hours spent in his company. Even if you shoot, you kill and there is never a stop to the raw and raw battle, RyseUp Studios' video game involves thanks to a detailed care within its game structure.

Of course, not it is nothing particularly original, but Roboquest performs what it intends to propose in a more than decent way, and succeeds in the complex attempt to reach its goal naturally and intensely. In fact, interfacing with works of the genre is a discovery and also recalls famous productions known to many: the inspirations for the Borderlands series, in this sense, are many. Pad in hand, it actually seems to be playing a chapter in the series created by Gearbox Software, although it is not comparable to its own results. As a Borderlands fan, however, this is very good news, because it gives you the opportunity to see the work even beyond its clear references to the adventures of the Vault Hunters. It is only a reference, however, compared to the many other winning elements of a production of this calibre, capable of both inspiring and surprising, as well as involving the player thanks to an excellent, interesting and particular balance that includes all these synergies.

It is also to be understood how the work could expand in the future, and how the roadmap, available in the initial menu, could give further information regarding the next steps of the team to build an even more dense work of details. In this sense, I hope to see a more comprehensive explanation of the various narrative dynamics, which could guarantee further stimuli for the overall evolution of the work, especially as regards the story. Not completely thorough but still interesting and valuable, the definitive surprise could lie precisely in the context. Each work passes from its evolution, from its way of telling something, from how it intends to evolve and improve, and from what it wants to communicate to others. This serves not only to discover the future and the past of something that, moreover, must work and improve over time, but above all to outline a clear and detailed approach to the rest of the various game features.

Another aspect of the work that is certainly successful and exciting, in fact, is in the roguelite components that the team has included within the production, with a dedicated hub full of everything you need. It is a city center where you can decide which robot to go on missions with and which weapons to equip during the experience. Although I have always kept the same robot, it is possible to use others, with different bonuses and lethal offensives to take down anyone in front of them. There are opportunities to upgrade yourself, increase your skills and improve important aspects along the way. It may seem like a trivial element but, in reality, in this Roboquest is treated with skill, because it allows you to significantly increase your offensive contribution.

During the exploration of the levels, it is also possible to visit far and wide what is hidden in the various places of the experience, obtaining upgrades and much more, essential to further increase one's skills, fundamental to enhance oneself more. It is a useful contribution both to improve one's offensive degree and to refine elements during construction that can facilitate combat.

The game design, in this sense, appears simple and dense, inspired and well structured, able to further focus on the overall evolution of production. We can't wait to find out how progression can evolve more frequently and how it can be strengthened, so as to better understand how fundamental it can also be for the entire evolutionary process that a similar work can demonstrate.

If Gunfire Reborn has managed to carve out a large space for itself within the panorama, it is above all thanks to an engaging and precise, useful and multifaceted approach. Works of this kind, in fact, serve to achieve an absolutely noble goal: to involve. In this sense, the production of RyseUp Studios has managed to do it in an unexpected way, despite having arrived on Steam for some time, speaking blatantly to the hearts of the players and to its large circle of fans of the roguelike genre. A similar work, therefore, can only do good in a similar moment, even if it could make those who cannot stand similar proposals turn up their noses and are looking for new stimuli, perhaps returning from Hades or the Cult of the Lamb himself.

What to expect from Roboquest?

I admit it, Roboquest hit me in an unexpected way. I played it for five hours and absorbed it in every part, and I came away impressed and totally involved, because it gave me the opportunity to experiment, curate and think carefully about my moves.

The future, according to the roadmap, everything is still to be written: the work is preparing for a new update in view of spring, to arrive at the final launch appointment in dazzling form. Certainly, the premises are excellent, although they are all confirmed. The production still needs a few months of work to present itself at the appointment in a dignified way. And it will be a rich rediscovery, I'm sure.

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