Vagante Review thumbnail

Vagante Review

A top-notch roguelike

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PS4 on

Vagante is also available for Xbox One and Nintendo Switch

Vagante is rated Teen by the ESRB

There's nothing quite like a good old challenging roguelike to test your gaming mettle and with that in mind, here's the great Vagante.

A.J. has been obsessively gaming since the late '80s and is just as passionate about video games in 2022. 🐻

Vagante screenshot 1
Welcome to my home base; feel free to join me!

There's no denying that Vagante was heavily inspired by Spelunky as it's set up in a similar fashion where you traverse procedurally-generated maps that are full of traps and monsters just waiting to end your life. However, this indie gem sets itself apart by incorporating many RPG elements as well as cooperative multiplayer support for up to 4 local or online players. Right away, that's impressive but there's much more. Most notably, you can choose from a variety of character classes that each play uniquely with some focusing on melee and others on magic or long-range attacks. Plus, you'll actually unlock more classes as you level-up between runs so there's always something new and exciting on the horizon. When you consider that each run is wholly distinct, you're left with one engaging roguelike. v1d30chumz 3-223-3-251

Before getting to the gameplay, let me just say that Vagante looks and sounds great. It was initially too dark on my TV so I turned the gamma correction up and after that, I could really take in the beautifully detailed environments that are full of well-animated sprites. Considering there are many character classes and appearance variations, it's amazing how charming the character sprites remain as they run around and attack their foes. On top of that, the music is just awesome and you'll even unlock alternative tunes as you play which adds welcome variety to the soundtrack. It's very cool that even the already excellent music gets better as you progress. 🎵

Vagante screenshot 2
Fun fact: you can hide in water so the dragon's flames are rendered useless

Now that I mention it, Vagante is the sort of game where everything gets better the more you play it. Not only will your skills improve as you learn to spot traps and take on the different enemy types efficiently, you'll also learn how to use specific items to your advantage as well as master some tricks that are cleverly implemented in order to reward those who think outside the box. For example, if you see some valuable items at a shop and there are spikes nearby, you can attack the shopkeeper and lure him to jump into the spikes then all of his merchandise will be yours! Of course, it gets marked as stolen in your inventory so you'll feel some shame for your actions.

There are so many hidden tricks to playing Vagante that you'll gradually turn from a newbie who perishes in the first stage to a master adventurer who slays dragons with ease. That is; if you're willing to put in the effort to experiment and learn all the ins and outs of the gameplay and in an age when games are increasingly hand-holding, I imagine that some gamers won't actually want to do so but nuts to that! Folks who actually enjoy mastering video games will have an absolutely wonderful time chipping away at the many layers to Vagante's gameplay. Whether you're unlocking a chest with a key from a boss to claim oodles of loot, decking your character out in prime gear, discovering a hidden room with a valuable spell, or nearly escaping death before slaying a tough boss; you're in for a treat. 😄

With all of that in mind, it does take quite some time before Vagante's gameplay opens up and allows you to experiment with character builds which might make less patient gamers not give it time to grow on them. However, as I said, if you're willing to patiently learn the ropes as you slowly unlock new features, you'll end up having an excellent experience. Either way, one aspect that's hard to defend is just how frustrating some of the instant death traps can be. Even after you learn how to spot all the different kinds of traps, there will still be moments when you'll perish for a silly reason. For example, you might accidentally dash into a pit of spikes, warp to a room with too many enemies, or try to snag a monster under a rock only to have it touch 1 pixel of your character; it can be a real bummer.

Vagante screenshot 3
This is one nefarious forest, isn't it?

It may sound heretical to some but I actually enjoy Vagante more than Spelunky. With its variety of character classes and equipment along with full cooperative multiplayer support, this indie gem is easily one of my new favourite games. See you online!

  • + Supremely satisfying roguelike structure with challenging gameplay
  • + Superb animation and music
  • + Loads of hidden tricks and unlockables
  • - It takes rather long to start unlocking mechanics that alter things substantially
  • - Surprise deaths can be frustrating
8.2 out of 10
Gameplay video for Vagante thumbnail
Watch A.J. play Vagante
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