If the idea of a cooperative first-person shooter roguelike appeals to you then here's a game that fits that very specific description.
RICO has you and a friend team up in order to relentlessly slaughter criminals and retrieve evidence. By the way, what good is evidence when everyone's already dead? Anyway, it can be played solo but it's built for 2 player cooperative multiplayer so if you have a local or online friend to play it with then it'll be a much better experience. The core gameplay involves infiltrating criminal hideouts where you kick down doors then clear out rooms as efficiently as possible. If you can kick down a door with your partner at your side, time will temporarily slow down which gives you an opportunity to kill more criminals before they have a chance to effectively react. Overall, it's satisfying stuff to work together while gradually clearing out rooms within the procedurally generated criminal compounds.
The controls in RICO are intuitive and simple. You basically shoot your firearm, switch between 2 weapons, throw grenades, perform melee attacks, and execute a cool slide move which is even more fun when you shoot during it. Aside from kicking down doors and mindlessly shooting, you'll also have to deal with various situations such as defusing bombs before their countdowns complete and destroying laptops to unlock doors. Although this adds welcome variety, trying to disable bombs in time is frequently frustrating. For example, you might be in a later stage of the campaign then have to suddenly defuse about 4 bombs so you quickly cover as much ground as possible only to realise that you don't have enough time to reach the last bomb thus resulting in a game over. Considering this is a roguelike, having such a random series of events take away an hour or more of gameplay is incredibly irritating.
As you play RICO, you'll level up which unlocks traits that you can assign to your character which provides some helpful boosts. Speaking of characters, you can choose from 4 but they seem to all play exactly the same unless I'm missing some sort of subtle differences. Anyway, you can also purchase weapon skins and along with levelling up, those are the only permanent progression elements. Besides those, you'll have to start each playthrough from scratch while slowly expanding your armory then you must start all over again whenever you perish. Even though this might be a turnoff for many gamers, I actually enjoyed this roguelike structure and it made each playthrough feel fresh, especially considering how many interesting weapons and equipment pieces there are.
RICO may be a fun game but it also gets rather monotonous after a couple of hours due to its repetitive structure and basic gameplay. This is especially true when you consider the fact that you have to replay the training area at the start of every playthrough. Additionally, the subpar graphics and sound certainly don't help. The cel-shaded visuals are somewhat appealing but the environments and enemy designs are very generic. When it comes to audio, there's barely any music and listening to melee enemies scream as they rush towards you will certainly get on your nerves. They could have definitely done much more with RICO's sights and sounds.
If you'd like to have some co-op first-person shooting fun with a friend either locally or online then you can have a few hours of fun with RICO. After that, it'll likely overstay its welcome with its simple gameplay and tiresome structure.
- + Simple co-op first-person shooting fun that's surprisingly addictive
- + Great variety of weapons and equipment
- + Well-implemented roguelike structure
- - Although enjoyable, the gameplay is still very basic and repetitive
- - Subpar visuals and annoying audio
- - Defusing bombs can be brutally annoying