Vagante (Xbox One) Review
Difficulty is tough but fair and always addicting (you feel like you can do better with each death)
2D pixel is great
4player co-op is wondrous if you can find a dedicated team
You will die a lot when playing solo
Occasional cheap death like getting nailed by that trap that doesn’t have a tell
Originally released in 2014 on PC, combat-focused roguleite platformer Vagante is now available on Xbox, PS4/5, and Nintendo Switch with local and online co-op. The high level of difficulty will constantly crush you without mercy but you will keep coming back for more.
Composed of well animated tiny 2D sprites and dark environments, Vagante is basically Spelunky only with more of an emphasis on combat and multiplayer. From the start, the player has access to a few stereotypical character classes, each with pros and cons, and each run is different than the last. The only thing that is constant is the challenging difficulty and its addicting quality. This is especially impressive considering this game is about 8 years old.
Unlike the half dozen roguelite titles that get released each week, Vagante is slower paced and a little more methodical. Instead of rushing to the exit and trying to avoid combat to stay alive, players usually need to tread carefully and think before you react. Although some enemies can be avoided, most will continually track your location even if you manage to bypass them so it might be best to deal with each on head-on. Stages are also littered with traps, like arrows that trigger when you enter their line of sight, but can turned against your enemies with clever thought. At the same time, it can be frustrating and annoying to get crushed by that falling boulder that you didn’t realize was there until it was too late.
If you have the right equipment, players have access to a melee attack, ranged attack, and can summon magic regardless of class. Granted, the mage is going to have much stronger magic than physical attacks, for example, so it might be best to round out your party. Which leads into one of the best features of this game – multiplayer. Available locally and online for up to 4 players, Vagante is best played with a friend or two at your side. Due to having early access, I was unable to test the online multiplayer component at the time of this writing but I can provide an update if deemed necessary. But given the stable frame rate and glitch free experience I had with the single player offering, I have no reason to assume the online multiplayer would be any different.
Personally, I have been growing tired of rogue-based titles as it seems this is the only type of game released these days just like the indie platformers and Metroid-likes that were huge a few years ago. Even if this game was released several years ago and my exhausted with the genre is growing tiresome, I still very much enjoy the Vagante experience. I like the ledge grabbing mechanic. I like the stupidly high brutal difficulty. I like the many ways to approach each situation. I like the multiplayer component. I like the charming 2D pixel art. I like the game keeps track of your deaths. There are a bunch of these tiny details that make this a rogue title done right.
Much Better Than: Tallowmere
Makes Me Want: a new top-down online multiplayer Gauntlet
Don’t Forget: Spelunky 2 was also just released on console and is currently available on Xbox GamePass… or go try Death Road to Canada
By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief myGamer.com
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