In Roundguard, a game developed and published by Wonderbelly Games, the story comes second. It consists of the King going missing along with his riches. The king’s castle is under attack from an array of enemies with him trapped in a cage in the lowest dungeon. It is the player’s job to gather as much of the king’s gold along the way to saving him. The player will take on a collection of rooms in a Peggle/Pinball-style fight against the enemies who have laid siege to the castle.
Each room offers a series of paths for the player to take upon completion. Once the player has successfully gotten through three acts, they will face the final boss and upon winning, will save the king. If I have to briefly describe Roundguard, it would be a mystical themed roguelite title with gameplay that relies on pinball mechanics.
Players can pick from one of three characters in Roundguard. Each of these characters has their own special moves they can benefit from, as well as their own pluses and minuses in terms of stats.
The first class the player can choose is the Warrior. The Warrior class is the most beneficial class, in my opinion. The player has higher health, however that lowers the players mana as a result. With the Warrior class, the game became a breeze for me. This character can obtain abilities such as the spin-attack. This move along with a few others makes the game incredibly easy to wipe out enemies instantly by being able to phase through pots, as well as potentially homing in on enemies. This is the class I used to do my complete run of the game. He made the game a cakewalk to get through within an hour or so of playing.
The second character you can choose is The Rogue. This character is weaker in terms of health but makes up for that in mana points. The Rogue starts out with a double jump ability. I found this incredibly useful as it can save the player on many occasions. This ability alone almost puts the Rogue class on par with the Warrior.
Lastly, the third character the player can choose is The Wizard. Wizard has the lowest health of the bunch but the most mana to compensate. Her attack is also the lowest by one point. With the Wizard the player can start with the ability to cast lightning through electric insect rods that move up and down the sides of each dungeon’s wall. I found the Wizard to be the least useful of the bunch.
This class system mechanic does leave for a bit of replayability and a decent amount of variety in combinations through each play-through, but it is nothing too hefty.
Items, Combinations and Reward System
The mechanics of this game vary so I will begin with the items and relics. With each run-through of the game, players will obtain a variety in combinations of items and abilities. It’s a perma-death style game so when you die, that’s it.
However, there is a reward mechanic. Every time you die, you get a free spin on the wheel. The wheel offers a chance to obtain a permanent upgrade, perk or weapon for your next run-through. The level of perk and your chances of obtaining something in general from the wheel is better depending on your previous run’s score. This does offer somewhat of a different experience each time you play through but not much.
Genre and General Game Mechanics
As previously stated, I’d describe Roundguard as a roguelite, perma-death title. The gameplay clearly was thought with a level of detail. The re-run system works for many games, and for this I would say the same. It never feels like a chore to re-run through the game. Despite playing similar levels, you almost always take different paths so each run will be different for a while. The pinball elements of the game also make it satisfying to play-through on top of this. However, you technically see all the gameplay has to offer within the first two dungeon levels you go through.
Runs are short, mainly because the game itself is pretty short. As I said, once you get the hang of the Warrior class, it’d be hard to not plough through all three acts within an hour at most.
Initially, my first run-through had these skeletons that would revive other enemies, and I died. I thought this was going to be difficult, but my other few run-throughs with other characters were a breeze and I didn’t see a single revival skeleton throughout all my following run-throughs. I feel difficulty is an essential for a perma-death game. It just sort of loses its purpose if you can just complete the game within an hour after you spend ten minutes to get the hang of it.
An Uplifting Musical Experience with a Peggle-Inspired Style
The music and presentation is decent for what the game is. It does seem to take a lot of inspiration from games such as Peggle. The music and animation that plays when you kill the final enemy in a dungeon gives off an incredibly similar vibe. The music is passionate and uplifting and just gives off a nice vibe. I think it would be something I could listen to in my own time over and over. Again, for what this game is, I can’t have any complaints about the music or presentation.
A Lack of Urge to Replay
For any perma-death game, it must make you want to continue despite your setbacks. Within Roundguard, perma-death doesn’t exactly feel like a huge set-back considering the game can be completed within an hour if you play your cards right (metaphorically) anyways. So, overall, I assume a big part of this game for the developers was supposed to be replayability. However, once I beat the all three acts once, I felt little urge to want to complete them all over again. I would say in general, replayability is quite low.
Should you play it?
Roundguard is a likeable game, nothing that will keep you enthralled for long, however. I think it would be more suited to be played on a Switch or a phone. I played Roundguard on a PS4. Thus, I feel I must judge it as a PS4 title. Roundguard is a good game if you want a game to play for an hour to run through and pass the time. However, it offers little more beyond that. The core idea that Roundguard has is decent, it just needs to be expanded upon. If you want to play Roundguard, I suggest picking it up for Switch or on your Phone instead.
I reviewed Roundguard on the April 14th, 2020, over two weeks after its initial release on the PS4 on March 25th, 2020. If you’d like to check our more reviews from us at Culture of Gaming, feel free to check out the review section of our website. If you’d like to read even more reviews from a variety of outlets, feel free to check out Open Critic, a brilliant website to gain information on games!
- THE GOOD
- Enjoyable Tone
- Uplifting Music
- Decent First Playthrough
- THE BAD
- Lack of content
- Repetitive nature is not as progressive as it should feel
- Relatively high price for what you get
Roundguard shouldn’t be on PS4, a quick title to pass the time on your phone and Switch? Sure! But the lack of content and little reason to return gives this roguelite no reason to be returned to on a regular basis.