ReviewsReview: Rodent Warriors

Review: Rodent Warriors

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No matter if you love or hate rodents, the sight of their long tails is enough to send shivers down your spine. They’re an intelligent and misunderstood species that have long been linked with disease, death, and destruction. Not anymore, though! Developer and publisher JanduSoft S.L. have created a rodent friendly title that has these four-legged beasts playing the lead heroic characters.

Rodent Warriors is a single-player RPG game set in a medieval world. It’s pixelated look and synthesised soundtrack gives it a retro indie feel. The simplicity of the gameplay and the ease at which it can be played means it is ideal for gamers of all skill sets. Using a classic RPG style blended with rogue-like elements made this an adventure game with an unusual twist. 

An unhappy King. 

As with all great adventure titles, the core plot is; big, exciting and completely unbelievable. The King is angry that the people oppose his rule. He demands every creature follow without question. So, he forms an army to slaughter those who stand in his way! No-one is exempt from this barbaric approach, not even rodents!

As I said, absurd, but brilliant. You must choose your adventurer from a growing group. As you progress and complete tasks and challenges, more become available to select. Each creature is unique and brings; strengths, weaknesses, and its armoury with it. You must adjust your gameplay style for each character, and every approach is catered for.

Even the goats oppose the King’s rule.

Character design with a twist. 

When you select a new adventure, you must pick from a long list of negative traits. These add additional challenges to each attempt. You’ll have less power, move slower, reduced health and more. You must overcome this as you gain levels, selecting to increase; strength, dexterity, intelligence and vitality. Each attribute counters the opening negative effects and makes for a balanced fighting machine. You can of course ignore the negatives and make your rodent a; tank, bruiser, super smart or insanely rapid. How you wish to play is up to you.

Rodent Warriors then goes further still with; upgradable equipment, craftables, legendary items and improved stats when you are reincarnated. Yes, death is a certainty, but in doing so you come back as a new and improved fighting vermin.

Craftables are a pot luck scenario. The more you try to make, the better you get. Materials are found at random, and you have little influence on how this part plays out. Symbols are found during quests and are applied to items to enhance their attributes. Recipes for this must be learned, which is not an easy task, so you’ll need plenty of game time and patience to get to this stage.

Effectively everything you make improves your character, and all the ingredients are found by exploring the full map of each quest you undertake. 

So much equipment for one small rodent.

Rodents love a maze.

You don’t have to like rodents to acknowledge they are clever. Place it in a maze and it’ll solve it very quickly. The developers joke that rats see the world as a maze, so this is how every quest is viewed. You simply follow corridors that run along the points of a compass.

Small maps of hidden treasures and wave after wave of enemies await as you explore and try to finish each quest. It’s brilliantly simple, but stupidly difficult. It should be called “Rodent Death Simulator“, as your untimely demise is all but guaranteed. 

Old-school, side-scroller. 

Though you are free to explore, the gameplay follows a linear path, and all the action plays out as a 2D side-scroller. Your pixelated foes approach you from both sides as you find a plethora of rich environments to enjoy. The basic character models do well to represent each creature, but you won’t be moved by the artistic style. Simple animation gave this a rigid and basic feel. Old-school doesn’t justify it, as the movement is very dated. Earthy tones make up most of the colour palette. Maybe they are trying to emphasise the rodent’s natural habitat. Maybe I’m over analysing this, though.

I was hoping for a Streets of Rage type audio with real aggressive upbeat music. Instead, you are treated to a folksy, ye-olde medieval soundtrack that matched the theme, but was at odds with the action. The sound effects were closer to what I expected, but with plenty of “pee hoo” and “woooo”, it grates on you very quickly. It’s not bad enough to quit playing, it’s just not what I expected and JanduSoft S.L. should have created something more in keeping with both theme and genre.

Choices, choices.

It sounds complex. 

There are a lot of little layers that make this tick. Each appears complicated and difficult to follow, but it’s easier than it seems. Rodent Warriors uses a mixture of elements in its gameplay and hack ‘n slash combat sits at the fore. Its button-mashing ways make progress easier, while all the other parts slowly fall into place in the background.

Because of the rogue-like gameplay, the level of difficulty (standard or hardcore), the many characters to unlock and the moderate achievement list. You’ll need to and will want to return to play. Hours of gameplay lay before you, and many reincarnated rodents will be required to be victorious. As such, this has masses of replay value. 

Rodents bring death to those that oppose the King. 

It’s true what they say, rodents are the bringers of death and misery. In this case, it’s only if you oppose the King. Can you lead his army to victory in this in-depth RPG, rogue-like adventure? If you can’t, don’t worry. Come back stronger and try again. This is a fun indie title that’s great value for money, and I recommend buying it! Grab a weapon, craft some armour, and get that horrible long tail into action. 

SUMMARY

The world is a maze, and you are destined to find the exit. Do the King's bidding and kill all that oppose him. Can you be victorious in this tough rogue-like RPG title?

+ In-depth mechanics.
+ Easy to learn.
+ Simple to play.
+ Retro aesthetics.
+ Great value for money.
+ Lots of replay value.
- Strange audio.
- Dated animation.

(Reviewed on Xbox Series X. Also available on PC, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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