by Preston Dozsa
reviewed on PC
Developed by Soaphog, Rezrog is a dungeon crawler built in the style of a boardgame, where you delve through dungeons with a small cast of heroic archetypes. While the visuals are charming and the character classes very customizable, Rezrogís slow introduction and repetitive gameplay will grow tiresome very quickly.
The initial meeting of the heroes takes place after a fight against a group of monsters when they retire to a local tavern for a night. Though it is empty, the group decides to stay there and search for the innkeeper in the morning. From there, you enter dungeons in order to find the innkeeper and discover what exactly happened to the inn.
While itís a cliche start, it does serve its purpose in getting the game going. More disappointing is the lack of story or flair for any of the game's dungeons or regions, which ultimately turn Rezrog into an empty roguelike that is overly reliant on the strength of itís gameplay in order to succeed.
Slow and repetitive
Each dungeon is presented in a top down tabletop format, with the characters and enemies shaped like paper miniatures. You must complete an objective in the dungeon, such as killing all enemies, before you can leave, with boss fights occurring in the final dungeon in each region of the map. Each dungeon is also randomly generated, with the positions of enemies, items and layout changing with each entry. If you happen to die in a dungeon, that character will be locked up in a prison until another character arrives to free them.
At times, the level design is almost unfair, as your single character can be quickly overwhelmed by hordes of enemies or will be surrounded by traps that must be stepped on in order to advance. At other times, the game is extremely easy, with simple objectives and be filled to the brim with loot. The changing difficulty is annoying to deal with, as a long dungeon can come to an end because the game made a room impassable due to trap positioning.
Fortunately, the seven characters you can play as are satisfying to customize and develop. In terms of classes, you have a warrior, a rogue, a mage, a paladin, an archer, a warlock and a summoner. Far from being bland stereotypes, each class can be customized in different ways to suit whichever way you want to play. If youíre a fan of min-maxing your characters in RPGs or love to create characters with unique attributes and gear, then Rezrog excels. Weapons and gear with wildly different stats and attributes drop at an extremely frequent rate, and you can customize your skill bar with whichever abilities are best for you.
As strong as the character customization is, the game introduces it - and the strength of each class - at a glacial pace. Due to the first dungeon gifting each class many of their starting weapons and abilities, it must be completed by each class in order to get them to perform the most basic of functions. This kills the pacing of the game, which continues the further you go as it is all but required to grind earlier dungeons with each character so that they are strong enough to be able to conquer the new challenges you face. And in order to optimize that grind, you have to scour every inch of a dungeon in order to find every piece of loot and all the monsters so that you gain as much experience as you can. Frankly, this is boring, and I quickly grew tired of the same enemies and dungeons I traversed, the former of which does not have much variety.
This in turn hinders the Rezrogís combat, in which you move and perform a limited amount of actions each turn before the enemyís turn. Initially, it is engaging to meticulously plot out your move to handle each opponent in your path, with many encounters proving to be sufficiently difficult challenges that are a blast to overcome. But paired with the repetitive, grinding nature of Rezrog, the strategy falls by the wayside as you repeat the same tactics over and over in order to advance as quickly as possible.
Graphically, the game looks perfectly fine with its paper visuals, evoking the spirit of tabletop games rather well in the character and enemy design. Worse is the audio, which seems to play through the same tunes and sound effects throughout the entire game. Much like the gameplay, the repetitive audio does not make the grind easier, and I eventually muted the audio so that I could play the game in peace.
Solid, but tedious
Rezrog is a solid idea for a game, taking what would be generic characters and turning them into fun, customizable classes that pair well with the miniature visuals. Yet the repetitive nature of the game, coupled with the absence of a story and the slow introduction, make Rezrog a tedious experience that is difficult to enjoy.
Great character classes, cute visuals
Slow introduction, repetitive gameplay