Rogue Spirit is one of the more intriguing indie roguelites that I played at PAX East 2022 due to its core component of swapping bodies with fallen foes in order to improve stats and switch up attack strategies.
You’re able to possess bodies in Rogue Spirit as you play as a ghost. As a spectral entity, you’re able to easily bounce along from one body to the next as you explore the beautiful Kingdom of Midra, with Rogue Spirit boasting 10 procedurally generated levels and 5 different biomes.
As a ghost, you never really “die” in the game per se, though you will find yourself back at the starting area if you’re finally overwhelmed by enemies. And trust me, that’ll happen a lot when you first start playing as there’s a distinct learning curve.
Even though you start back at the beginning area each time, there’s no real frustration with this as you’re able to unlock things like permanent upgrades during your runs that help make each subsequent run easier. In a nutshell, each run gives you the opportunity to improve future runs which, in addition to creating structure that’s easy for the player to follow, makes the game feel addictive and easy to sink a bunch of time into.
In a way, Rogue Spirit has a Hades sort of feel to it with its gameplay loop of leaving the starting area, exploring different biomes, eventual death, and doing it all over again to see if you can get a little farther the next time around.
To help keep things feeling fresh and fun, Rogue Spirit has a plethora of enemy types on offer, each with different playstyles, weapons, and abilities. You aren’t kept in the dark about whether a fallen enemy has better or worse stats than the current body you’ve possessed either, as the game lets you see this information when you approach a body.
You also can get the drop on enemies using some of the light stealth elements present in the game. For example, you can scope out battles ahead of time while in your spirit form, with enemies not being able to detect you as easily when you’re outside of a physical body.
Being able to see who you’re up against before they see you can be handy, especially when it comes to enemies with throwable, or ranged weapons. Those enemies, in my experience, are almost always worth taking out first.
Enemies aside, being able to scope out what’s in the surrounding area can also be helpful, as the game has pillars you can interact with to get buffs like dealing more damage, or taking less damage. When you see a pillar, it’s almost always worth it to interact with it, even if you have to take out a bunch of enemies surrounding it first.
The game, at least from my experience with it at PAX, doesn’t let you target specific enemies which can make combat a bit trickier than necessary. Additionally, there’s a bit of a learning curve to the game as you familiarize yourself with each enemy.
Still, Rogue Spirit is a lot of fun even when you’re getting absolutely wrecked by enemies, and is one that’s easy to sink a lot of time into as you work to progress a bit more each time, and encounter things like boss fights that put your skills to the ultimate test.
If you want to check out Rogue Spirit for yourself, the game launched in Early Access on Steam back on September 1, 2021 and can be purchased for $19.99 (USD).