I never thought I'd hear the words 'roguelite' and 'Minesweeper' together in the same sentence but here we are. Let's! Revolution! is a joyous mix of both Minesweeper and a roguelite, tasking players with hunting down a deliciously repugnant king through a series of increasingly complex tile maps to enact their titular coup. With all tiles facing down on arrival, you'll need to hop from square to square to flip them over and reveal the king's hiding place before progressing to the next level. But with several of his royal agents stalking the roads and highways, you'll need to choose your route carefully, making good use of your character's unique set of skills to arrive at your final destination of Beebom City. That, and employing a bit of the old Minesweeper noggin, of course.
You see, tiles come in two types in Let's! Revolution! The aforementioned road tiles, and surrounding landscape tiles. The latter all have numbers denoting how many road tiles surround it, giving you just enough information to build up a picture of where the road (and the king's lackeys) might be lurking. Take care, though. This lot are a tricksy bunch, and can quite quickly overwhelm if they're revealed too soon and all at once. That's Let's! Revolution! in a nutshell, at least, but the real joy of this run-based rogue comes from its gorgeous presentation and its brilliantly conceived character classes that twist and mould its basic building blocks into fresh new forms each and every time. It's great fun, and I can't get enough of it.
With every new class that's unlocked so far during my time with it, I've marvelled afresh at how differently they operate. There are six in total, but you'll need to earn them by collecting gems and completing multiple runs. Your starting Trooper lets you take a classic hammer and nail approach to get you comfortable, ferreting out each of its varied enemy types with their circular roundhouse swing. The Trooper earns extra coins at the end of each level for getting an 'All Clear', you see, which you can then use to spend on extra items, attacks and buffing your skillset later on in your run at shops and gyms you discover. Not all of Let's! Revolution!'s classes are cut out for direct combat, though, and will require different approaches to win the day.
The elfin assassin Shadow, for example, can only attack when foes are concealed, although you can force revealed enemies back into hiding by somersaulting over their heads to 'backflip' their tile, or by chucking one of your limited smoke bombs into the fray. Unlike the Trooper, they earn extra coins by revealing as few tiles as possible, which naturally alters the cadence of your decision-making, and the strategies you'll need to deploy to root out your flying, snooty-nosed (and very punchable) quarry.
Case in point: the tiny, childlike Oracle, who's even less suited to facing enemies head-on than the others. She starts with just a stun rod that lengthens the turn count of affected enemies before they're able to strike again, and must instead use her large energy pool to teleport round the map, suss out its dead-ends (where the king, treasure and occasionally handy shops always lie) and move on before things get too hairy - although not before revealing as many landscape tiles as they can to get their end of level bonus.
Thinning the crowds and staying on top of what enemies are in play is key to a successful run in Let's! Revolution! Each guard has their own health pool and turn count to consider, and landing a hit will reset their turn clock to give you some precious breathing room. Fail to defeat them or reset that clock in time, however, and enemies will land a guaranteed hit on your warrior regardless of where you are on the map - and when there whole enemy types that are dedicated to revealing and getting as many of their mates on the board as possible, a run can go south pretty fast if you let things get out of hand.
These confrontations make each level bristle with just the right amount of tension, giving you the time and space to get your bearings while continually provoking you to act and make a decision. It helps that each map tells you upfront the number of enemies hidden inside, too, emboldening you to take chances and gamble on unexplored tiles if you're almost in the clear. You will inevitably curse your own mistakes in a run, but when the king is such a wonderfully smug and turd-like villain, taunting you from his second-rate Dr Robotnik egg, every slip-up just gives you more motivation to hang in there and try harder.
The other three classes riff on its base trio of characters even further, offering up more advanced alter egos of its main cast that push your understanding of the game's foundations to new heights. Rather than working towards end-of-level bonuses here, this lot are entirely systems-driven, requiring players to replenish their dwindling energy reserves on the fly multiple times per level by utilising their abilities in the most effective and efficient way possible. I've yet to unlock the final class, the Witch, but the Charger (the twin of the Trooper) powers up their attacks and replenishes their energy by maintaining, you guessed it, a chain of bash charges, while the Hunter (Shadow's more aggressive variant) can lower his energy costs by stringing attacks and moves together in an unbroken dance of death. There's a lot to get to grips with, in other words, and peeling back its randomly generated boards is both a thrill and a challenging, cerebral puzzle box, recalling the best bits of strategy games such as Into The Breach, married with the visual flair and panache of Hades and the rest of the Supergiant canon.
There is, perhaps, a feeling of being slightly overpowered early on, as the number of coins you generate in a single run make it quite easy to max out your hearts and energy meters, while also doing regular full heals and kitting yourself out with new buffs and abilities. These buffs don't carry over to the next run, admittedly, but there have been instances where my little defenceless Oracle suddenly got their hands on a proper melee ability, for example, which completely changed how she was able to conquer the remaining maps. That said, any sense of ease quickly dissipates on higher difficulty levels. On top of the 'Easy' and 'Normal', each class has five levels of NG+ to contend with, and so far I've reached NG+3 and still get a bit of a royal arse kicking almost every time. Even on defeat, though, most runs still count for something, as you can usually find an additional gem or two in treasure chests to nudge you towards the next unlock tier, even if you don't make it to end.
Besides, it's hard to feel mad for long when its lush visuals from animation studio Buck and catchy soundtrack from musical outfit Antfood make this such a delight to dig into over successive runs. It's particularly impressive to see Buck make such a strong debut into fully-fledged game development, too, as their previous game work has been limited to VR demos, AR experiences and ad campaigns for other companies. It's great to see this animation house have such a clear and strong command over their subject matter, and I hope Let's! Revolution! is but the first in a long new dynastic line for them. It may not be a game that can stretch to perhaps hundreds of hours of play time like some of today's roguelike heavyweights, but I'm having a grand old time with it so far, and right now that's enough. I cannot stop playing it, nor do I want to. So Let's! Give It The Attention It Deserves!
This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by developers Buck.