Rogue Singularity is an arcade 3D platformer that consists of a cute little customisable robot who must make their way through procedurally-generated bite-sized levels. However you’re not just doing this for fun; an evil villain threatens the universe with a black hole and the task to save it falls onto you. Can the small little robot save something so big as the entire universe?
3D platformers live and die on their gameplay; if movement is lacking and the camera is awkward, then that can be incredibly detrimental to the overall experience. While the player can adjust to the general feel of Rogue Singularity, it occasionally suffers from sub-par depth perception and control issues that can result in the odd cheap death. It’s not Bubsy 3D level of bad by any means, but it isn’t great either. That all being said, once you grow accustomed to the game’s feel and tempo, it becomes quite a jolly time, requiring fast-paced movement and quick reflexes. With the levels being so bite-sized, it also makes dying a little less frustrating… But still frustrating nonetheless.
Your little robot friend is surprisingly agile, with a multitude of manoeuvres that you would expect from a full scale 3D Mario game. When collecting coins from level-to-level, you can cash them in for equipable abilities that you can only equip one at a time (such as the ability to glide or to slam down from up high and be temporarily invulnerable to enemies and hazards), and temporary use items that are single-use per purchase (such as coin magnets and short teleportation). This addition of economics does a great job in spurring you on and rewards you for taking risks for that extra coin.
The game’s structure takes an arcade approach with you starting at World 1-1 on each playthrough. You’ll receive five battery lives at the beginning of each playthrough and if you take a hit, you take a life and restart from the level you were attempting unless you purchase and use a checkpoint item. Also, as in many arcade games, if you are brave enough to go off the beaten path and take on a challenge, you may be rewarded with an extra battery life.
You know how much we love HD Rumble in our Switch games, and Rogue Singularity’s developer, Considerable Content, took extra care to make sure that every time you land or slide down a wall, you feel it in the palm of your hands. This extra effort provides tactile feedback that brings the experience to life!
We did experience the odd bug here and there, the most noticeable being that the game froze when viewing the online leaderboards or when in the hub world and you are placed out of reach of anything; we had no choice but to shut down and reopen game. However, the gameplay itself runs very smoothly, without a single hiccup which could have been detrimental for a game such as this. These issues can be easily patched out, but it’s disappointing regardless.
Short bite-sized levels work so well for the Nintendo Switch as they are perfect for quick and easy play sessions on the go. Rogue Singularity’s levels all take, at maximum, three minutes to complete (unless you keep dying), and it lessens the stress when you run out of lives. There are only 15 main levels in total which may seem like a small number considering their short playtime, but this is done on purpose to accentuate its arcade influences.
Each level has a main path for you to follow however with abilities and items, you are able to work around this in fun and creative ways. They also contain a riskier side path which won’t lead to the goal, but rather provides you rewards like an extra life or a customisation option.
If you are crafty enough, you may find the odd secret level that present more of a challenge, but give out higher rewards. These levels aren’t anything particular special, but uncovering them are certainly nice surprises.
The beginning of Rogue Singularity lays a foundation for its plot, providing substantial context for the game’s challenges. I mean, the universe is being threatened by a black hole created by a giant sinister-looking robot with an ominous Australian accent – what more do you need?
During the gameplay itself, the giant robot puts in his two cents now and again, most commonly at the beginning of each world and when you die and are respawned. It provides a nice reminder of why you’re doing what it is you’re doing, despite its comical twist that takes the mickey out of the plot’s urgency (or lack thereof).
Graphics / Art Direction
The game’s graphics aren’t anything to write home about, but they are serviceable and look ugly or jarring. In a way, it actually provides a playful charm that makes you acknowledge the indie developer’s hard work.
I was actually surprised about the game’s draw distance and how it was not at all an issue. Every platform, object and collectible could be seen, no matter how far away I was from it. This made finding the most opportune route, as well as looking for each level’s side path, so much easier to do.
I’m not usually one for customising one’s character, but this feature in Rogue Singularity is fantastic! My favourite custom robot was a skinny red robot with clamps for hands and a headphone-wearing speaker for a head. Whilst the customisation isn’t exactly what you’d call deep, it does well to provide comical humour with a wide variety of wacky options.
Most of the game’s enemies are inanimate objects that come to life and chase after you. Whilst the theme works, I kept thinking that they each lacked personality… maybe big googly eyes would’ve helped.
Music / Sound Design
The soundtrack has a retro arcade beat to it that gets you motivated and pumped for some consistent close-call platforming. Each of the five worlds have different tracks and in each of the worlds’ final level, the music shifts again, becoming more intense. This makes the music less repetitive, aside from needing to play through the first two worlds over and over when you run out of lives – the levels may not be repetitive with their procedural-generation, but the music can be.
Final Score: 74%
Rogue Singularity is a pleasant, bite-sized gem in a world that is starved of 3D platformers. It doesn’t try to be too ambitious and whilst the little robot’s tiny feet may struggle to fill the gigantic shoes of the Marios and the Ratchet and Clanks, it does a very respectable job of helping to scratch that itch you may have been having since the end of your third Super Mario Odyssey playthrough.
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- Belinda Cubitt