I hope you like shenanigans. Or at least antics, or capers. Streets Of Rogue is about all those. It’s an anarchic roguelike about ascending a tower block while everything around you erupts in a comedy sci-fi riot. It’s like that Dredd film, but instead of credits as the city’s currency, there are chicken nuggets. It’s also the first game to get our Can’t Stop Playing stamp. This is basically our way of saying “this game has us in its thrall, and you should join us”. You’ll see more articles about the silly top-down street fights and pixel drug-huffing of this game in the days to come, all marked with the Can’t Stop Playing tag. But for now, let’s just celebrate what makes Streets Of Rogue deserving of your hard-earned McNugs.
It’s a teeny-tiny immersive sim, that’s why. The best moments of vent crawlers like Deus Ex or Dishonored are when you create a chain reaction. When you pause in the middle of the cobblestones to wonder: “If I use this power over here, will it cause these guys over there to come looking, and then those guys will get annoyed, and then that turret will come to life, and kill everyone because I’ve already hacked it?” Well, these rogueish streets are the same. They’re smaller and there are crude square-faced people wandering the alleys, but you’ll recognise the idea once the tumult begins. You’re there to cause a ruckus. Right down to the moment when you step out of a doorway, smiling at the massacre you’ve just caused, and get torn to shreds by the same turret you just hacked, because you are also marked as hostile and forgot about that. Whoops.
I’ve already explained a lot of the game’s ins and outs in our Streets Of Rogue review. It’s an outlandish city-toy that gives you a couple of missions on each floor while tempting you sideways into ridiculous scenarios. Free a gorilla and it will fight scientists. Hire a gang member in a red shirt to be your bodyguard and they will immediately stab or shoot any blue-shirted rival they spot. You can enjoy this permadeath tomfoolery with three pals too, for exponentially increasing levels of bedlam (this is something we are hoping to do in the RPS treehouse very soon).
In short, it is a tiny game with, frankly, a dumb amount of variety (even if it could use a few more mission types). I once got a syringe full of a drug that would turn me into a giant and allow me to smash through walls, but I didn’t want to attract that much attention to myself. So I pumped it into the vents of a nearby bar and watched as everyone inside became comically large, and started to run out of the building in a panic, smashing through the tables and chairs and walls, like the over-enthusiastic child from Honey I Blew Up The Kid. You can hack a fridge and make it “run” into an unsuspecting slum dweller. You can run naked through the streets and annoy the police as a tiny shapeshifting creature, then slurp into the back of a charming bartender and coolly bribe the officers to look the other way. Listen, it’s a good game.
That’s why we Can’t Stop Playing. It is a small game with a big, dumb personality. If Streets Of Rogue were a restaurant, it would have a novelty-sized menu, and every item in the kiddies section would simply read “???” until you tried it. Waiter! A big plate of your finest chicken nuggets please. Thank you.