Game review: MicRogue


I like the concept of roguelikes, and so the last couple of years have been neat: a lot of indie games like to call themselves roguelikes, even if not everyone agrees that they really are. I don't think there'll be too much debate about the roguelikeness of MicRogue, though: it's got "rogue" in the name, it has a fantasy setting, death is permanent, and it's turn based. The only thing "lacking" is that there's no loot to pick up (except the dragon's treasure on the top floor) and no spells to cast.


Instead of equipment and spells, you've got movement. Move onto an enemy to kill it, or stand beside an enemy that's attacking you to defend with your shield. By carefully deciding where to move, you defeat the enemies and move on to the next floor. The aim of the game is to get from floor 1 to floor 10, steal the dragon's treasure, and then move back down the tower and escape.

Since it's all turn based, and finishing a floor doesn't take more than a minute or so it's quite suitable for gaming on the go.

There are a number of different enemies in the game, each with its own set of rules and behaviors. There's the skeleton that only moves one step diagonally, there's the fire elemental that can move two steps and explodes on death. There's the ninja that moves like a chess rook, and more. They all do their thing deterministically, so you're never surprised by what they do. At least not after a while, when you've internalized their AI…

Besides the enemies, there are a number of traps that can kill you. Spikes, crushing blocks of stones, the usual stuff. But the traps aren't all bad; they're one of the best (and sometimes only) ways to get rid of enemies. If an enemy is standing on a spike trap when it's activated, they're killed. Very handy.

Microgue in action

In the screenshot above (which is 2208x1242 pixels, if you couldn't tell :P), we can see our hero who's about to make the next move - possible movements indicated by the dashed squares. The green stuff on the floor with the spike trap to his right is what's left of a slime enemy who got spiked. Then there's a skeleton, and an ogre with two heads who can't agree on how to move. Over on the right of the playing field we've got three spike traps that will be triggered after the hero's move.

There's a fair bit of randomness in the game, even if the enemies and combat are deterministic. Each level has a randomly selected layout (selected from a number of hand made layouts - no random terrain generation), and is populated by a set of randomly selected enemies. Later floors get more enemies, and the more complex enemies are only seen on later levels.

On the top floor you'll also find a sleeping dragon, which wakes up after a few turns and starts chasing you, breathing fire along the way. It'll also follow you down the stairs to the lower floors as you make your way towards the exit.

All in all, I think this is a brilliant little game. Well worth the price, and there's thankfully no consumable IAP crap to deal with. The graphics are well done, in the all-popular giant-pixels retroesque style.

The game's available for iOS on the App Store , and supposedly there's an Android version too. I've played it on an iPhone 6+ and on my iPad with no problems. I've read some reviews that complain about it being too small on an iPhone 4; maybe that's true. A feature that would be nice to have would be iCloud support, so that I can start playing on my iPhone and continue on the iPad. And when that's the biggest complaint you can come up with, you know that the game is pretty decent!

Looking at the developer's Twitter feed , it looks like there'll be new versions with additional enemies and possibly other complications coming soon. Hopefully he'll be able to resist the temptation to make the game too complicated, because it's the (seeming) simplicity I like with MicRogue.