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Before we had open world tactical RPG’s, loot box gambling, and convoluted combat systems, there was a simpler time back in the early 90’s where the market was dominated by simple point and click style adventure games such as Space Quest and Monkey Island. You simply clicked and watched as your character walked to that location or interacted with an item to experience a story. That’s it, no strings attached. Simple in their design but often brilliant in their execution. While these games were beloved by many, the community eventually moved on and the genre died out, save for the odd revival. But nostalgia is a powerful motivator, so the small team of ExperaGames sought to bring back the early 90’s point and click goodness with their newest game Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant. Should you play it? That solely depends on the answer to the question ‘how much nostalgia toward old-school point and click adventures do you have?’.
Almost in a direct homage to the old Sierra Entertainment games (Space Quest, King’s Quest), the game tasks you with escaping from a prickly situation, in this case, the sealed off vault of the lost tyrant. You will do this with the help of the main character: Cassandra Nech, a treasure huntress from the rogue’s guild who arrived at the fabled vault in search of treasure. The game’s coarse pixel art is subpar compared to other modern pixel art outings on the market right now, but it is clear that a lot of love and dedication went into bringing the world alive through animation. Whether it’s Cassandra swinging from a rope to clear a chasm or the comical walking cycle of the wannabe pirate brothers Needlebag and Finspin, a lot of work went into animation, just don’t expect something along the lines of Hyper Light Drifter.
Rogue Quest does a good job of supplying you with tasks and puzzles that strike a proper balance of difficulty. Many point-and-click games are notorious for ‘pixel hunting’, where the hitboxes for puzzle solutions are so small players will need to click every tiny pebble in case it’s interactable. Puzzles in Rogue Quest often boil down to logical solutions. Need to burn away the toxic mushrooms? Perhaps tear off the cloth hanging from the wall and set it ablaze. And if you really can’t figure out what it is you have to do then there is a nifty hint system. There are a lot of little quality of life functions in the game, like being able to double click doors to skip Cassandra having to walk to the door or being able to open up shortcuts to decrease travel time.
There are, however, also a slew of technical problems. Skipping through text sometimes creates a jarring flicker and controls are at times unresponsive when I would try to open my inventory. Writing is often too on the nose and at times even grammatically incorrect. Rogue Quest does little to innovate the genre, the pixel art isn’t up to par compared to other pixel art games and the game is really short clocking just over an hour. Yet, despite these negative aspects, the game does have a charm to it. Do you have overflowing nostalgia for these types of games and an hour to spare? Then give it a shot. But if you haven’t liked point-and-click adventure games in the past then Rogue Quest: The Vault of the Lost Tyrant will not change your mind.