Rogue Stache Early Access Review

by | Jan 11, 2017

A Hairy Situation

With bizarre humor, there’s a fine line between “weird for weirdness’ sake” and “genuinely strange.” The former comes across as forced and desperate, while the latter connects because it doesn’t feel like it’s necessarily trying to. It’s definitely a difficult line to toe, and most don’t even get close. Rogue Stache, though, is one of the rare cases of something that left me genuinely perplexed, amused, and above all, weirded out. A professional description there, I know.

However, you’d be hard-pressed to say something different if you took this odd gem for a spin. Rogue Stache has very little in the way of written comedy, which makes its absurdity work even better. See, you play as a man with a mustache, waging war against a race of Eyeliens who want nothing more than to steal every man’s facial hair. The Eyeliens are, as you might guess, aliens that look like giant eyeballs.

Rogue Stache
Steam Page
Developer:
WubsGames
Publisher:
Black Shell Media
Release:
January 6, 2017
Price:
$4.99
Rig:
Intel i7-6700k
NVIDIA GTX 1080 Founder’s Edition, 64GB DDR4 RAM

That’s it. That’s the premise. But in lieu of stupid puns or painful gags, the developer just lets this premise stand on its own, then sprinkles on a liberal dose of gory body horror and off-kilter world-building. There are no moments where it feels like the game feels in love with its own cleverness, or indulges in dialogue box after dialogue box of bad puns. The title commits to how horrific this situation is for the protagonist, and leaves the humor in little details like unlockable hats or fun weapon names.

The primary focus in Rogue Stache is placed on the gameplay, which is uniformly tight, fast, and fun. WubsGames is clearly influenced by titles like Rogue Legacy, as the game is a pixel-art, side-scrolling rogue-like. But where this differs is that the gameplay is like a blend of Metal Slug and Dustforce – a twitchy platformer with liberal amounts of shooting and weapon-collecting.

Rogue Stache’s basic flow works by throwing players into a series of five levels, all randomly generated. In between each stage, players can choose a random reward, like a new weapon, a power-up or extra health. At the end of each set of stages is a boss fight, of which there are apparently four in the entire game. While the game is permadeath, each death pools collected cash that can be used to either spin a slot machine or use to unlock better starting weapons or mustaches. Those two are unlocked by spending in-game currency straight away, while the slot machine is used for the third type of unlock – hats. Each hat gives a different stat boost, and the more money you put on the line, the better hat the player will get. Also, the hats are pretty funny, from beer helmets to Elvis wigs to knight’s armor.

That’s all there really is to Rogue Stache, and that’s kind of why I like it. It has no pretensions about being anything other than a weird, violent platformer with funny hats and insane weapons. The gameplay is responsive, the level generation never feels too stacked against the player, and the bosses I experienced were challenging enough to piss me off while not ever feeling that cheap. WubGames has produced something that feels earnest in its attempts to entertain, and polished in its efforts to provide a challenging run-and-gun game.

For five bucks, Rogue Stache is well worth the price of entry, and I’m kind of surprised that it’s on Early Access to begin with. The only issue I encountered was an occasional dip in framerate, but nothing that hindered gameplay. If there’s a promise of this game being improved and getting more content, then it’ll be even more of a steal than it is now

Worth Your Money: Now!

[A copy of the game was provided by the developer or publisher for the purpose of this review.]

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