A roguelike shooter mimicking old-school black and white games, Rogue Invader is nonetheless a stylish new-wave roguelite sidescrolling shooter, and it’s finally out. Released on December 15 of last year, Rogue Invader’s launch flew under the radar for many—me included.
There’s only one reusable drop pod and it only fits one person, so you’re invading the alien home world one grunt at a time. (We lost all the supply ships, apparently.) That might seem nasty, or evil, but the aliens started it and also their king is a huge, huge jerk. Seriously, King Zeno heckles you relentlessly and I hate him.
Each run, your single soldier collects more supplies and explores more levels, both static and procedural, for equipment to beam back up to the invasion ship. As you research and collect resources you unlock new guns, customize them, and build up a supply of resources so subsequent invaders are better armed and equipped. Eventually, you’re dropping heavily armored assault troopers with heavy weapons backed up by orbital strikes from the capital ships.
The graphics, of course, are a huge selling point. They’re more complex than anything from the early ’90s ever was, but they have that same heavily shadowed charm. There’s a lot of fun in just seeing how the visual effects splash over the landscape, or how cover blows up and is rebuilt by the aliens in later runs.
What I’ve played of it has a pretty satisfying gameplay loop, one where I found new and innovative ways to die. (Blown up by own grenade, fell into bottomless chasm, river of lava, etc.) You can find Rogue Invader on its official website and you can buy it on Steam for $20.