The stage is set for a tale of danger, intrigue, and lots of bouncing. The castle is under attack. It’s a very strange castle too. With randomized levels that change, and everything is falling downward through the dungeons. I wouldn’t want to live there. You fight through this theatrical production in the most entertaining way possible while defeating cute monsters and bouncing all over the screen. Roundguard is hard to compare but is most closely resembling a Roguelike RPG mixed with Peggle. Have I captured your attention? Read on to see what I am talking about!
Thank you to Wonderbelly Games for providing a review copy
What’s It About?
While the narrative for Roundguard is a little light, the humor is most certainly not. Written as though you are an actor in a play, the story progresses in 3 Acts with intermissions. If you can survive all the way to the bottom, you can save the day! In between levels you sometimes get to see small snippets of a fun dialogue exchange between characters. There is also intermission where you can spin the Wheel of Wonders to get helpful items!
What type of game is it?
Roundguard is a hilariously addictive game, that feels familiar in how common so many aspects are… but likewise it’s unlike any other game I can think of. It takes some of the best aspects of various genres and combines them together. For starters, it is a dungeon crawler. You can pick one of three classic characters: warrior, wizard, or rogue. Your spherical character then starts each round in a catapult at the top of the screen. Carefully aim your shot and then let your hero fly! Each level is full of enemies to attack and defeat while you progress further in the dungeon. As your hero bounces around they will also get to use various attacks based on abilities you get to choose for them. My personal favorite to play was the wizard with bubble attacks and wisps to throw out.
As you play through the randomized dungeon levels, there is roguelike permadeath with benefits. Meaning, of course, that if you die then you will lose your progress in the dungeon. However, you will get to bring any trinkets you earned with you to the next playthrough. Roundguard is also an RPG. As you level up and gather loot, you will be able to choose different attacks, weapons, and armor to alter your stats and abilities. As I said before your character bounces through the level once you aim the initial throw. In typical RPG fashion, there are also things you want to aim for such as health and mana potions. And watch out for the spikes at the bottom! If you are lucky, you may be able to hit a roving cushion that slides back and forth. This will prevent you from taking damage, and provide a fun dopamine boost.
The most interesting piece to this equation? This game perfectly incorporates the physics of pinball into the predominant focus of gameplay. Adding special attacks and abilities to a version of RPG pinball sounds a bit much, but it is some of the most fun I have had in a long time.
If you are only going to play through the game once, this is a very quick game. However, Roundguard offers a lot of incentives to keep trying. Each time you complete a full run, you are given a special relic. These relics can give some interesting modifications to the next run you make.
Roundguard is a game that feels like a classic. Perhaps from incorporating so many familiar elements, this game instantly feels familiar yet new. The cartoony characters and simple mechanics would make it enjoyable enough for children to play. Yet the challenge it includes makes it fun for anyone. You can play it in small, quick game sessions. Or feel free to sit down for an evening of descending the castle dungeons and see how much you can accomplish. The relics and incentives to keep trying additional runs also are very fun to keep seeing what new combination of effects will do.
My only complaint with this game (which is quite minor) is that I wish there were a bit more variety. More classes to choose from or additional weapon and armor options would be nice. Or additional levels to mix things up. However, even this complaint really just means that I enjoyed playing!
Roundguard is a game that was completely off my radar. When I finally discovered it, I was enthralled with it and had to play. Sure enough, this game does not disappoint. With a light tone and humor, it will put a smile on your face. Bouncing off of enemies and seeing them flinch and their health go down, is a fun and addictive activity. The music (which is delightful), artwork, and simplicity of the game all combine to create a fabulous way to pass some time.
Geek to Geek Rating: 5/5
Release Date: March 13, 2020