Review – The Serpent Rogue

Published by Team17, the same fine folks behind the Worms series, as well as Yooka-Laylee, The Serpent Rogue advertises itself as a botanical action-adventure game. On top of that, your character is a plague doctor. Odd, to say the least, but all of this was an instant “yes” to me. With a bleak medieval landscape that the game is set in, the world matches the mood of the game incredibly. Once you start off a new save, you’re set off to learn as you go for the most part.

The Serpent Rogue Map

Quite early you’ll discover that there’s a lot going on here.

The botanical action-adventure tag is quite accurate to what is happening in The Serpent Rogue, despite what the “rogue” in its name would imply otherwise. You travel around its substantially sizeable world, and discover new flowers and fauna, learn what you can do with them, and get know their properties. The main gist is to craft tons of potions with various properties as you discover what is happening throughout the world, and battle for your life.

The Serpent Rogue Stranger

At least the other people seem pretty nice, considering everything around them has gone to hell.

Inventory management is key: set up your base and leave your crafting table there. While you may want to make potions anywhere, it takes up just way too much weight and will make your life a nightmare. Trial and error is everything when it comes to crafting. Learning the various properties of every flower, mushroom, and various plants that grow in this world will take time. Some add bonuses, some remove negatives, and some enhance everything. It will take time, but slowly you’ll learn how to make the best potions for every occasion.

Battling the monsters in The Serpent Rogue is no easy task. You’re a doctor, not a warrior, and that’s something that needs to be remembered to some extent. Running into enemies will likely go poorly without a plan, and getting attacked by multiple enemies will see you lose plenty of health if you’re not careful. This is a game about cunning, not a game about brute strength. Tackle challenges more like you would in a game like Dark Souls, and plan out how to handle them in advance, or, most importantly, how to escape if needed. No plan will likely lead to failure.

Death

Death comes quickly, get ready to run any chance you get.

The controls in The Serpent Rogue match the idea that you’re not a warrior, as your doctor feels sluggish and heavy at times. Sure, maybe carrying the crafting table around and wanting to pick up everything will slow you down a bit, but even without being overburdened under the weight of your items, it’s still a bit slow. Personally, I like this. It adds an extra layer of tough, but fair challenge to the overall experience. Clearly your character is not made for battle, and that makes sense.

The music is just as bleak as the world and its visuals, which is fitting. While the ambient tones of the world may not be the most exciting thing in the world, having some super heavy song that implies you’re ready for battle, or something upbeat that says this world isn’t a barren landscape wouldn’t feel right at all. The tones have been nailed by the music team, which is hard to do without coming across as boring. Graphically, it’s hard to say the well crafted bleak landscape doesn’t add to the game’s overall charm.

Monster

I haven’t discovered what this is at the time of taking the picture, and it wasn’t any time soon that I figured it out.

While, on the surface, The Serpent Rogue does appear a bit cute, its universe is deliciously dark. The game itself is interesting, and the item management will take some getting used to, but as a whole, The Serpent Rogue is a fun and interesting little game that will slide under the radar of most people. While it does feel a bit slow at points, The Serpent Rogue is a fun experience the whole way through, a slow burn that’s well worth your time.

 

Graphics: 7.0

While The Serpent Rogue isn’t the most beautiful game out there, it’s hard to say the well crafted bleak landscape doesn’t add to the game’s overall charm.

Gameplay: 8.0

This one takes a lot of time to really grasp how to handle the world and characters. This isn’t your typical “go out and slaughter everything in sight” game. Everything will take time and patience.

Sound: 7.0

Just like the graphics, the soundscape is very bleak. This adds brilliantly to the world, but sometimes a good song in dire times adds much more to the tension of managing to survive.

Fun Factor: 8.5

After A LOT of time figuring this game out, understanding the mechanics, and trying not to die to random monsters or prickly bushes, it grew on me. This game takes a long time to really get the hang of everything and progress through the entirety of it, but it’s a slow burn that’s well worth it.

Final Verdict: 8.0

The Serpent Rogue is available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series S/X, PC, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of The Serpent Rogue was provided by the publisher.