At the time of this writing, the world is in a bad place. While I normally wouldn’t want to make a game review so specific to a time, despite it inherently tends to be in terms of the state of gaming at the time of release, but it’s important to call out here because we need to look to areas of positivity where we can. That’s where a game like Roundguard can come into the mix. Sometimes, a game striving for some goofy fun provides just that bit of joy. And when it does it well, like you’ll see ahead, it can work despite what’s going on in the world.
What’s It About?
SMASH AND GRAB IN THE CASTLE!
Not entirely wrong! You’ll do plenty of smashing and collecting (more than grabbing), but more specifically in a dungeon. Roundguard has you assume one of three character types of a run through dungeons. You pinball your way around, shooting your character around in strategic ways to defeat oddball enemies, regenerate your health and magic (mana), and collect gold, potions, and upgrades.
Your character choices are effectively a brute, an agile fighter, and a mage. They’ll have different strengths, such as the brute having more health and attack but less mana when compared to the higher mana’d mage. I found the mage to be the most balanced attack that created the most success for me. Other characters will pop up along the way to egg you on or give you access to powerups to create more specialized attacks. Meanwhile, your enemies are a collection of skeletons, spiders, giants, and more that can get progressively more difficult or more sassy the further you make it into the depths of the dungeon to face the biggest bad.
Why Should I Care?
To keep things incredibly simple, if you’re into Peggle, you’ll probably be into Roundguard. Otherwise, since it is such a simple premise, that’s exactly what makes the game so enjoyable, yet goofy and challenging.
The game is set up as single runs, so you’ll need to do what you can to complete the entire series of rooms to defeat the biggest bad. If you die, you start all over again. I found that to be enjoyably frustrating because it was easy to pop into another run and try another method. That’s helped by the multiple ways you can work your way through the map, either by choice or by force. While generally linear, you can use the map and room options to send yourself down different paths for notably different results. Some routes will have you face bigger enemies but with a treasure room at the end of the path, whereas some easier routes may not give you as many kick backs but could help save resources for the level’s boss. The choice can be yours, but depending on how you bounce around the room, you may not always have the choice.
The combat and bouncing works well. Control over shots isn’t ever too difficult, but bounces can be a little trickier. Sometimes, you just have to use sacrifices to potential advantages. At the bottom of each room is a mattress pad that sends you back to the top, free of damage, but it’s hard to line up your falls, so you may just need to hit the floor to take damage. More control comes with your special attacks and powers. I especially liked being able to sell off some collectibles and powers for gold. That also created new levels of strategies when picking paths.
In a more general sense, the game is enjoyable due to its tone. It’s goofy, vibrant, and fun. The characters make hokey jokes, weird sounds, and goofy movements, but it works.
What Makes It Worth My Time and Money?
Roundguard is great if you’re looking for a game that can fill a void and a gaming itch from a few minutes to upwards of an hour. I mean that in a positive way, not the , and I really do mean that in a positive way. The simplistic nature and straightforward premise and gameplay makes it incredibly easy to pick up and play. Most rooms can be completed in a few minutes, which helps with time management, but it can also become addictive and turn into a longer session if you’re successful.