So we get quite a few of these co-op adventure games each year. I mean just a few months ago we had The Survivalists, which, while not without its own issues, I did end up enjoying and recommending in my review for it. Now we’ve got Rogue Heroes, the next contender within that very genre, and let’s just say that it also is not without its issues.
So right off the bat, I gotta talk about the combat. This is a game that will have you going through procedurally-generated dungeons and taking out a bunch of enemies within – along with the usual loot and roguelite progression. However, this is a co-op focused game and if you’re playing it as such, you’ll be doing a lot of combat with your friends scattered about the same room. This is where the problems begin to appear.
For one, there’s contact damage when touching any enemy. That’s not bad in itself, but this is on top of the fact that every time you hit an enemy, there is a pretty sizeable knockback. So, as my friends and I quickly discovered, you’ll be taking a lot of damage from someone accidentally hitting an enemy at just the right angle to send it hurtling towards a teammate. This can get quite frustrating when you’re on the lower floors where simply touching an enemy does a third of your HP.
That’s not all though, there’s also the extremely limited attack range – enough so that you have to almost be on top of some enemies to actually be able to hit them. This is remedied a bit in that you can upgrade your attack range in-between runs, but even after spending most of my jewels upgrading it, it’s still pretty close and the fact that most enemies move around a lot means you’ll be doing a lot of accidental contact damage to yourself while trying to line up attacks. Oh, and the hitboxes definitely don’t help either. They’re not all bad, but there are definitely a few that are larger than their sprites would suggest – again leading to more accidental contact damage.
One of the root causes of all of this is the combat’s lack of overall depth. You have your one basic attack, a secondary slot for a bow, wand, or other item, a class-specific ability, and that’s it. 90% of your combat is going to be pressing the same basic attack, so you’ll need to be close to enemies even if you’re playing a completely different class. Imagine my disappointment when I unlocked the ranger only to discover that you’re not even given a bow and have to find one yourself in the dungeon only to then realize that it does about the same damage as your basic attack but with the added negative of running out of ammo.
Or another example being the knight, who has the ability to leap in a given direction and slam the ground, stunning enemies in the vicinity. The problem? Well, there’s still contact damage when you’re doing this leap and you have to be very close to an enemy to stun them with it. This makes what could have been a very cool ability a more situational one, as leaping into a group of enemies almost always caused me to take contact damage.
The combat really just isn’t satisfying until much later once you’ve got a bunch of upgrades backing it up. It’s the opposite of something like Hades or even the recently released Skul: The Hero Slayer, where the combat is immensely satisfying right from the get-go and only gets better from there. The fact that there are so many mechanics that actively harm co-op players doesn’t help either and honestly it wasn’t until I played the game singleplayer that I was able to beat the first boss.
However, the combat is not even my main issue with the game. The bugs and technical issues are actually more of a problem right now. Rogue Heroes is a co-op game, with puzzles and fights designed around having multiple people playing. So yes, there is local and online co-op. In actual play though, only the local co-op works, the online co-op unfortunately makes the experience almost unplayable. That is because there is a massive desync issue, with each player seeing something different on-screen and never quite being synced up.
Treasure chests only appearing for one player, HP and item amounts differing depending on whose screen you’re looking at, and even entire puzzles that flat-out don’t work for others because only one player can see the interactable objects – it’s pretty bad across the board. One of the worst examples being from the first boss fight, which has a weak spot on its back that stuns it when hit and allows you to get in a bunch of free attacks on its head. I would hit this weak spot to stun it, only for my friends to ask me why I haven’t stunned it yet – as the fact that the boss was stunned did not appear on their screens.
For what it’s worth – I did reach out to the devs and was told that the desync issue was being worked on. However, I was also told that each desync was a standalone issue and to fix they would need specifics of when and where each happened. Given that this happened to me dozens upon dozens of times, it might be a while before all of these desyncs are cleared up, but at least the team is working on it.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only bug though. I also had an issue where my HP upgrades disappeared entirely until I upgraded them again, an issue where my speed as a ghost was permanently locked to the speed I was moving at when I died (which, while holding a shield is painfully slow), a sound bug where the knight’s leap ability would play the wrong sound effect for the terrain I was leaping on, and even the game’s revive totem straight-up not working and consuming my friend’s skull – leaving me unable to revive them.
And, while not a bug, I really did not like the way stairs worked in this game. Upon touching them, you’re locked into an animation and are moved automatically, sometimes right into enemies at the top. You cannot attack while moving on stairs and, while you can reverse mid-climb, it still automatically moves you down unless if your reverse again. I don’t see why it’s so hard to just have the stairs act like regular terrain – especially since there are slopes in the game that work just fine.
Outside of those issues, the game did at least run well. I didn’t have any crashes or fps issues – it ran perfectly at 1440p and 60 fps, although it unfortunately cannot go higher than 60. The controls are also fine both on controller and keyboard and mouse, the latter of which can be configured. The only issue I have there is that the controller has the ability to automatically attack in whatever direction you hold the right stick, whereas with keyboard and mouse you have to constantly click to attack. Not a major issue, but it would be nice to just be able to hold left click to attack multiple times.
And with all of that said, I unfortunately cannot recommend Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos. Boring and unsatisfying combat is one thing, but being a co-op game and not having functional online co-op just doesn’t do it – and that’s just one of the technical issues. The graphics, music, and roguelite elements are at least nice, although not enough to carry the experience. I really hope the bugs and such can be fixed up in the future, but it will likely take more than that for me to come back to the game.
Quote: Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos may look nice, but the underlying combat is full of issues, especially given its co-op focus. The technical issues and bugs on top of that make it a really tough sell.
You can buy Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos on Steam here. The game is also available on Switch.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.