Love is a many-splendoured thing and like anything worth having it requires care and nurture. Shared interests and compatibility make the road to romance much easier, and what better way to find out how well you work together than by going on a date? True, in Roguemance that means journeying through monster-infested fields fighting alongside the object of your interest, but the important thing is sharing the experience with the object of your affection and deepening the ties that run between you. Roguemance sees you setting out into the divided Heartipelago to mend it back into a single land, meeting people along the way in search of the perfect companion.
The journey starts off in an open field and the first slimes are there to teach you the slightly odd combat system. You have four moves to choose from, selectable in any order you’d like, but have to use them all before they’re available again. You, your partner, and the enemies are arranged in a side-view line, and you need to take into account the consequences of your action and those of everyone on the field to be effective. Throwing an attack when an enemy is jumping isn’t helpful, especially when the attack flies straight into your companion’s face. Enemies move in a clear, predictable pattern, though, so setting up a combo is a matter of working in synch with your partner. This is complicated by, initially, your companion not knowing you well enough to take orders, and then when they do that both your moves are chosen in synch.
The battle action is chosen through a simple four-icon display below your character, and the same holds true for your companion. In order to work well together you need to match them up, because when you cycle to X your partner automatically cycles to Y. Throw a healing kiss to your partner when they do a jump and there’s a problem, but it’s all part of learning to work together. Break the link (costing a companion health point), re-synch, do better next time. It’s all a part of a growing relationship based around beating up monsters. Of course, there’s always one final wrinkle, and that’s at battle’s end you can choose to either let the monster go or show no mercy, and your companion has an opinion on this. Letting the monster go grants experience, no mercy gives gold, and pleasing your companion strengthens their affection. It only dings the affection meter a bit when you go against their wishes but it’s oddly annoying when you want experience and mercy while they call for blood and gold. Still, it wouldn’t be the first relationship to fall apart due to people working together like a well-oiled machine despite getting on each other’s nerves. Love is difficult, but if you keep looking you’re bound to eventually find the perfect adventuring companion. Or at least, and this is important, perfect-enough.
Roguemance released today on Steam, for all your Valentine/RPG-hybrid needs.