A roguelike platformer developed by OTK Games and published by Sakura Games, The Vagrant reintroduces many elements that fans of the subgenre have grown to love. The game includes old fashioned dungeon crawling, exploration, excessive loot, and many other trademark RPG elements. The game is compassionate enough to not feature permadeath and maintains a reasonable difficulty throughout the various dungeons.
Story & Flow
The Vagrant features young Vivian, a mercenary aboard a ship in search of her father. Shortly after arriving on an unknown land, Vivian finds herself at the mercy of a powerful witch and is tasked to find mystical relics for her. The story progresses as you venture through various dungeons and face unique bosses. Despite a diverse gallery of bosses and enemies, ordinary NPC interactions with Vivian seem flat and conversations are often more blunt than necessary. The dialogue feels slightly forced which takes away from the immersion of being a badass mercenary killing monsters. While not the most gripping of stories, The Vagrant provides enough reason to justify the events that occur in the game and develops its world well.
Getting used to controlling Vivian is a fairly short task; her moveset consists of a light attack, heavy attack, magic attack, and a jump button. Magic and heavy attacks can vary depending on the weapon equipped, with elemental weapons offering unique animations and their respective types of damage. Combat is reminiscent of a hack and slash, intuitive and engaging, but has room to improve upon its fluidity. In terms of skill trees, The Vagrant offers diverging paths of specialization and general stat increases. Specific skills are significantly more useful than others, like the mid-air dash, which allows you to maneuver around heavily armored enemies and traverse environments more easily. When it comes to difficulty however, the game uses many cheap tactics seen in the RPG and roguelike genres to make the player feel as if the game is more difficult. These methods are clearly evident in the game’s platforming segments, where ledges are occupied with enemies that have knockback attacks that conveniently push you back just enough to fall to the bottom of the tower you just spent ten minutes climbing. Bosses have frenzied attack patterns that often take multiple tries to fully comprehend and predict, and enemies are easily able to stunlock Vivian if she is backed into a corner with little means of escaping. For the seasoned RPG player, this may come as little surprise, but as a rookie, I helplessly struggled throughout each dungeon.
Graphics & Sound
The Vagrant is a 2D pixelated game with vivid and colorful sprites, with the cinematics in the game being comparable to modern comics. Each environment and dungeon feels unique and detailed although scenes within each environment may feel repetitive when backtracking. The forests are lush and lively, while the ruins are dreary and scattered with remains. The music in The Vagrant is ironically overdone, especially in castle ruins. I found myself muting the background music after an hour of playing as the same eerie loop was slowly driving me to insanity, especially when the area only had a handful of enemies littered about.