While Diablo and Borderlands games are both high quality titles in general, one of the most addicting and enjoyable aspect about these games is loot. It may be our consumer-based culture, but there is just something fun about killing a unique enemy or cracking open a special chest and finding all kinds of unique weapons and items pop out for us to plunder. The aforementioned titles are ones that I have personally sank countless fun filled hours into, and that is part of the requirement since those games are large and require a decent time commitment. In the fast-paced world we live in with an increasing popularity of casual gaming, someone thought what if we kept the looting and fun game mechanics but gave it casual pick and play accessibility? Maybe it didn’t quite go down like that, but a logical answer to that question is Pylon Rogue.
Just taking a quick glance, Pylon Rogue could be written off as another Diablo clone, and lumping that in that subgenre isn’t completely inaccurate but it would be an oversimplification. While playing an early build I remarked that this kind of resembles Diablo if it were designed by Nintendo, which that comment might sound like vague nonsense to people who aren’t me but the developer I was talking to stated he used to work for Nintendo for a substantial period of time so it might not have been too far off the mark.
Pylon Rogue is an isometric action RPG (see previous paragraph) but the structure is slightly different. The player enters areas and fights endless waves of enemies, and after killing them the gateway to the next section of the map opens up. Each wave can be taken out pretty quickly, and the area the player enters can be cleared in a matter of minutes, the stopwatch wasn’t running but ten to fifteen minutes seems about right. Before they can fight anyone, the player has to select an area on the world map, which is very similar to what was used in Super Mario Bros. 3 or Super Mario World. The player travels to an area, whether it is a battle zone or a town to sell and restock items. Pylon Rogue’s maps and enemy load outs are procedurally generated, so it never is the same game twice.
There are various characters the player can select, four were available in this particular build. The characters do have their own unique combat style, skills and stats. As the characters grow in power and collect various unique items the player can customize their character to however they see most fit. The classes that were showcased were a Ranger, Assassin, Golem, and Moneydin, the last one being who I played. The Moneydin is a powerful knight class, think Paladin except really good at acquiring money and could turn enemies into gold for a special ability. If he could defeat the enemies in this gilded state the result would be a greater amount of coin to collect.
Oddly enough, the casual pick up and play accessibility is the most insidious way Pylon Rogue can turn into a time sink. It could be played for a short amount of time, say give yourself twenty minutes to go clear an area on the map and that could be satisfactory. But the quick nature of its design and the way loot systems act on the reward seeking part of our brain make it easy for this to become one of those “just five more minutes” or “just one more map” type of game and the next thing you know the sun is coming up. Pylon Rogue is currently available in Steam Early Access with a scheduled full release on September 21.