The Story Goes On

The Story Goes On Review

A twin-stick sword slashing roguelike

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on

ESRB Everyone rating

There's nothing quite as immediately gratifying as an old-school overhead dungeon crawler. The Story Goes On is a roguelike that'll have you (and possibly a friend) trying to uncover the secrets of a randomly generated world.

The Story Goes On screenshot 1
I wish you could actually attack that darn scarecrow

The Story Goes On is played by moving your character with the left stick while aiming with the right. Upon tapping the shoulder buttons, you can slash your sword, unleash a character-specific ability, and use your currently equipped item. It's simple stuff that's very easy to learn which is great because you can have a friend join you in local cooperative multiplayer and not have to worry about explaining the intricacies of the gameplay at length. One of the coolest aspects of The Story Goes On is its use of upgrades and items. As you play, you'll collect tons of items that enhance your character in very cool ways. You'll gradually transform from a slow-moving sword-slashing weakling to a fire-breathing hurricane of destruction. This may be necessary because as soon as you run out of health, you have to start the whole thing over from the beginning with only key unlockables intact. Overall, it's satisfying stuff that'll keep you hooked.

The Story Goes On's gameplay may be solid but its graphics and sound aren't anything special. You mostly just see the top of your character's head and the environments and regular enemies are mostly generic, too. That being said, the bosses are incredibly imaginative and memorable even if they sometimes perish far sooner than you expect them to. Anyway, the music is rather basic as well with stereotypical orchestral pieces that don't do a very good job of pulling you in. However, it is cool how the music speeds up and slows down during certain events. Plus, the sound effects are satisfying and reflect the onscreen action quite well.

The Story Goes On screenshot 2
Mine carts almost always make for interesting puzzles

Although the visuals and audio don't do much to impress, I enjoyed the sense of humour presented in The Story Goes On. The scarecrow that acts as your guide within the kooky world is often sarcastic and goofy which makes him funny albeit intentionally annoying. Even the messages that pop up when you collect items can be quite humorous such as when you collect a slingshot and it says something like, "It's as boring as it looks". It's great to see such a fun-filled game that doesn't take itself too seriously.

The Story Goes On basically consists of a randomly generated campaign where you progress through themed floors. Along the way, you'll uncover plenty of secrets that are surprisingly clever. For example, you can collect X-Ray specs to see through false walls, balance a Yin Yang symbol to access an optional dungeon, enter a specific igloo to collect a bonus item, and plant seeds to unlock an extra character. Speaking of which, the unlockables are super-rewarding. The main objective is to collect pages which can be incredibly tricky to find and you'll also eventually unlock three supplementary characters. There are many cool things just waiting to be discovered.

Finally, I should discuss a couple of aspects that took away from the fun. First, I wish there were more modes besides just the roguelike campaign as well as leaderboards because whenever you have a particularly awesome run, you'll want to show it off. Last but certainly not least, the difficulty can become far too easy very fast simply by collecting a few items. Generally speaking, the difficulty is always much harder at the beginning of a run because you don't have much but after collecting a wealth of enhancements, the gameplay frankly becomes tediously unchallenging to the point where you'll only bite the dust by complete accident.

The Story Goes On screenshot 3
It's sometimes more fun to just watch the bosses

The Story Goes On is one of the most interesting roguelikes that I've played in a while due to its incredibly clever secrets and satisfying gameplay. However, the easy difficulty and lack of presentational flair often make it feel a bit flat.

  • + Satisfying roguelike gameplay with innovative secrets and unlockables
  • + Imaginative boss fights
  • + Great sense of humour
  • - It's too easy to become too powerful which makes the gameplay tedious
  • - Graphics and music don't stand out
  • - Could use more modes and leaderboards
7.0 out of 10
Gameplay video for The Story Goes On 5:04
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