App Reviewed on: iPhone XR
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After my first few hours with Immortal Rogue, I wasn't really enjoying myself. I had done quite a few runs cutting down baddies with my sword, but didn't feel like I was really progressing or learning anything when I died. Just before I decided to quit, I tried another run, and another, and then yet another. Suddenly, I couldn't put the game down because all sorts of new and interesting possibilities were suddenly opening up for me. The appeal of Immortal Rogue its a run-based nature where all sorts of possibilities are at your fingertips. It just takes a while to get to that point.
Immortal Rogue is a roguelite action game where you play as a vampire that’s constantly resurrecting over time in hopes of building up your strength to take on Dracula. To get powered up, you need to defeat and feast on the blood of enemies over centuries to unlock ancient powers. There’s not much more to the game’s story than that, but it serves to create an interesting level structure.
Every level in Immortal Rogue takes place 100 years after the one before it, and the way you choose to fight in them determines how the next level will look. The way this works is simple. At the start of a level, you may get a prompt like “there’s an evil robot army, and a human defector is seeking a nuke to defeat them,” and you can then make a choice to fight the robots or the defector. Immortal Rogue won’t make it crystal clear how either choice affects your next level, but you can bet to see a lot more robot enemies in the next level if you defeat the guy trying to nuke them.
Dash from danger
No matter what kind of choice you make going into a stage of Immortal Rogue, levels play our more or less the same way. You wander a map and just kill everything on screen until a portal opens up to take you to your next fight.
Combat here is simple, but unique. The only way you can move your character in Immortal Rogue is by swiping in a direction to make your vampire dash. This is the only form of movement in game. Otherwise, you’re tapping to use light attacks and pressing, holding, and releasing to unleash heavy attacks. With these being the only tools at your disposal, combat ends up feeling like a sort of dance. You’re constantly dashing around your enemies, striking when you see an opening, and escaping quickly to avoid injury or death.
Time is on your side
At the start of Immortal Rogue, things will feel dreadfully dull. Your vampire will always start with a basic sword, and you won’t feel like you’re powering up at the same rate as all your foes. As you play though, you’ll be collecting blood off of enemies that you kill, which you can then use to unlock new things to enter subsequent runs with, and this is where Immortal Rogue starts to get really interesting.
This idea of dying on runs repeatedly to earn currency and “level up” or unlock new stuff to help you get further in a game is nothing new. Immortal Rogue understands this though, and decides to differentiate itself by offering a variety of unlocks that fundamentally change the way you play the game. Things like guns, throwable items (that you have to pick up if you want to use again), and thralls you can “turn” by defeating in battle all can have huge ramifications on the way you play subsequent rounds of Immortal Rogue. On their own, these things slightly tweak the game formula, but in concert, entire runs can feel completely different from one another.
This only ends up being the case if you invest a lot of upfront time in Immortal Rogue though. The early game can feel like a slog until you get some key unlocks that let you gather blood for upgrades more quickly, and this long ramp is one of a few issues with Immortal Rogue. The game also has some weird level designs that can occasionally trap you or enemies on odd corners, and the game can be annoying to play if you're on an iPhone with a notch, as your health bar is perfectly obscured by it.
The bottom line
There’s a fair amount of stuff to fight through in Immortal Rogue before it gets enjoyable, but it’s all worth it. Despite a few rough edges, the action offered here is worth investing time in, as it grants some very interesting and satisfying rewards that transform it from rote brawler into a varied action roguelite with huge replay value.