21st May2020

‘Roundguard’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

Remember Peggle? Remember how addictive that simple game of bouncing balls across a puzzle-like layout was? Well prepare to be just as addicted to Roundguard, which takes the same “bouncing” concept and adds a little extra… taking players through a series of mystery dungeons with over 150 unique items and the punishment of a roguelike with procedural maps.

Of course like the aforementioned Peggle, Roundguard is basically a riff on the classic Breakout formula, however instead of bouncing a ball of bricks, you launch your character, literally, into monster-infested rooms with spiked floors, gold pots, and even drums – and you keep bouncing around the screen until you either a) hit the matress scrolling back and forth and bounce out of the screen to safety, or b) fall miserably into the spikes at the bottom of the screen… Yes, I did say bottom. For you launch your character from a crossbow from the top of the screen INTO the dangers of room below!

But you don’t just launch and hope for the best, there are upgrades – both weapons and skills that allow you take take on the obstacles and monsters in your way – including a barrage of single-button press attacks that allow you to take out enemies faster and easier. It’s these added elements, the feel very much like decided what your loadout is in an RPG, that make this feel much more than a Breakout clone; and that’s before you get to the visual stylings of Roundguard.

And it’s the visuals that truly appeal and really stand out in Roundguard. With a very much “cutesy” look to the characters and monsters, there’s a Saturday morning cartoon feel to the overall look and design of the game – harkening back to the kind of colourful boxart you’d see in the 8-bit era, which looked so stunning and inviting; yet in that era the game could never marry up to that art. With Roundguard the game DOES look as good as it’s artwork (just see the image at the top of this review for an exam-le of that).

In terms of the overall gameplay, Roundguard does feel a little short once you get the hang of the Peggle-meets-Pinball mechanics and just how best to use your attacks to both preserve mana (which you spend every time you perform an attack) and to get a maximum effect from each and every bounce. Thankfully though there are also THREE selectable character classes with which to play this game and each really does make a difference in how you approach the game: The Warrior class is, like other RPG/roguelikes before is, very much your muscle – taking enemies head on, literally, using brute strength to destroy everything in your way. The Rogue class brings more stealth aspects to how you play, with long-distance attacks and even a duble-jump ability. The final class, somewhat expectedly, is the Wizard class – which takes the use of mana to heart, casting mana-based spells and tricks rather than running head-first in battle; yet those magical spells tend to have more effect than your warrior’s brute strength.

So despite the lack of depth, in terms of sheer amount of levels to play through (which fly by once you get the hang of the game), the fact you can tackle Roundguard in three different ways means that there’s still a lot here for your money. Though if you’re anything like me, and caned through Peggle over and over and overm I doubt there’ll be any worries about this game no being value for money. After all, you can always try and get your name in lights on the online leaderboards – something which is more addicting than the game itself!

***½. 3.5/5

Roundguard is available on the Nintendo eShop now from The Quantum Astrophysicists Guild/Wonderbelly Games.

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