Game Review: Roguelight

A lone woman with a bow and a few arrows, you drop into a mysterious, dangerous, and primarily dark dungeon. Darkness is all around you, and light is rare and precious. Unable to see all its creeping enemies, spikes, and treasure, you die quickly; your survival depends on your arrows, which slay the dungeon's monsters and burn like torches for a short while before burning out. All this explains the game's name: frequent death feels like a nod to rogue-likes, and light is central to the gameplay. The game rewards the player for frequent death by making it necessary. Each time you die, you wind up in a shop where you spend the earnings from your last attempt. This makes it likely you'll make it deeper into the dungeon, earn more coin, and be able to afford more expensive things when you inevitably die and wake up at the store.

Something about the experience disappointed me. Any time I ran out of arrows, I was not only helpless against monsters, I was helpless against the dark. I think this should have been a pleasant stressor, but I too often found myself with no options. I wanted to have to skirt around the dark areas until I could find more arrows, but that wasn't an option. I had to go through, and often take damage or die.

It didn't feel like there was a learning curve to climb. I knew how to jump, how to shoot, and how to hold the arrows for light. It was exciting when I learned I could light the lanterns with my arrows. But if I was out, there just wasn't enough for me to do but hope for good luck running through the dark.

Roguelight is available for pay-what-you-like at