Xenno the Rogue immediately stood out to me at PAX East with it’s retro pixel art and dark fantasy setting. Once I got my hands on the game, I found an incredible level of detail, and an incredible system of comboing attacks together to dispatch your enemies that fells oh so good, and that fans of classic platformers are going to love.
Xenno The Rogue is a retro-style 2D action RPG platformer about religious fanaticism, set in a dystopian medieval fantasy world that has been overrun by the undead.
Besides being a traditional platformer with exploration and treasure collection, Xenno The Rogue is also an action RPG. Spend the treasure and loot you collect on upgrading the damage of your weapons, improving your armor, gaining new skills, power attacks, and improving your luck. You will need to collect all the loot you can to grow stronger and improve in order to keep pace with the enemy units, who are also growing stronger and larger in numbers and more diverse as you progress.
Xenno The Rogue feels incredibly nostalgic, while having a sort of synergy no game from the 80’s or 90’s ever achieved. You have a number of weapons in Xenno the Rogue, from throwing axes to a bow and arrow. However, each has a range and a cooldown that have to be managed.
What this ends up creating is a sort of self made book of combos as you play the game, as you figure out you can throw an axe in the time it takes reload an arrow. It makes the combat feel incredibly fluid, and combined with dodging enemies and using the environment, dispatching your foes is incredibly satisfying.
Aesthetically, Xenno The Rogue has glorious nostalgic pixel art that feels like it was plucked right out of the golden age of platformers. Things are colorful and vibrant, but all very easy to understand and identify.
I was also particularly intrigued by the story of Xenno the Rogue‘s developer, Jaime Holub. Jaime has been working on Xenno the Rogue for 2 year entirely on his own, and entirely self taught. However, he’s also had to struggle against his DSPD, a circadian rhythm disorder, which greatly restricts his perception of color. This added one more challenge to Xenno The Rogue‘s development, and meant that Jaime was restricted to working on the game in the evenings. It’s an incredibly interesting backstory and adds a lot of depth to the context of the game.
I was a game developer long before there was such a thing as social media and Steam and other forms of digital distribution, and then I gave it up for a while, only to have the indie scene explode in my absence without me realizing it. Now I’m back trying to do what I feel like I was born to do, but never got to when I was younger.
“Never give up on your dreams” is cliche, but accurately describes me.
– Developer Jaime Holub
Want to learn more about the games we saw at PAX East 2017? Check out this page, which lists all the game’s we saw, and we will be updating with links to our coverage as we complete it