With the recent acclaimed success of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, gamers have made it clear that stealth based games are here to stay. Rogue Agent, developed by Roguebox Studios, makes good on this proposition by providing Android users with a simple and yet progressive stealth experience that doesn’t require flashy graphics or a deep story to keep fans of the genre entertained for hours on end.
Rogue Agent begins simply enough, providing the player with a short tutorial for the game’s controls, which ultimately boils down to tapping the screen once to walk or twice to run. Though running generally worked for most of the starter missions, as the game wore on it became too dangerous to use unless it was for a last legged sprint to the Escape pod that marks the end of each level. Walking is far more efficient, and Rogue Agent’s later missions will have you making use of gadgets such as the Scramble Suit, which grants invisibility or the Sonic Boom, which distracts enemy agents by emitting a high frequency sound. In fact, in order to beat some of the harder levels in the game you will both be taking advantage of the title’s various cool gadgets and making your way forward very carefully. On top of all this, Rogue Agent makes use of a mini game that has you cutting and rewiring circuit systems in real time, which proves both a nice break from sneaking around and a welcome challenge to an already fairly difficult game.
Speaking of difficulty, Rogue Agent cranks up the heat with each successive level. There are two variations of enemy agents; one type of agent carries weapons for long distance kills (which ultimately results in your avatar’s unfortunate demise), the other type is unarmed and must close the distance if they wish to catch you. In later levels the concentration of enemy agents increases, as does the irregularity of their patrol patterns. But never does Rogue Agent feel unfair. In fact, beating many of the game’s levels requires a mixture of careful planning and a fair amount of trial and error, and it is this learning process that makes beating each level that much more rewarding.
Frankly, it is this great sense of progression that is Rogue Agent’s strongest asset, and the game handles it very gracefully. The delegation of gadgets and the gradual bump in difficulty over the course of the game is paced in a manner that is efficient and works to keep the gameplay feeling fresh. What’s more, once you’ve beaten Rogue Agent you can retry levels and try to get a record time in the game’s Leaderboards, or maybe attempt to complete your collection of the “Developer Commentary” pieces that are scattered throughout the game’s levels as optional material. If you’re like me, you’ll likely have some backtracking to do, as there were several times when booking it safely to the Escape pod was just a bit more enticing than trying to retrieve a developer commentary from a room full of enemy agents and risk having to restart the entire level.
Though Rogue Agent’s narrative is presented through a series of vague one sentence blurbs that quickly devolve into a tale of amnesia, such a minimalistic approach taken with the story seems to match the game’s art style, where the labyrinth-like levels are composed of blocky figures and mundane colors. The short-winded dialogue and the bleak imagery dovetails nicely with title’s gloomy and covert atmosphere. Rather than detracting from my overall enjoyment of the game, the muted presence of the graphics and story instead allowed the core gameplay experience to shine through more intensely, a reminder that the stealth genre still has very strong legs.
But is it Hardcore?
Rogue Agent’s progressive gameplay mechanics and graceful pacing make sneaking around in the shadows a blast.