Rezrog the Impossible

Latvia

I have always been infatuated with games that theme themselves after tabletop gaming. Roleplaying games are very important to me as the one activity I can easily share with other people, as I like my video games singleplayer and prefer to watch anime at my own pace. Diving into dungeons, exploring fantasy stories, and the atmosphere of good friends around a table with snacks and beer, it doesn’t get any better than that.

Rezrog was a game Stian and I had a bit of a competition for as we both kinda wanted to do it, but already had a few items for this indie month on our to-do lists and neither of us had the game already. A bit pointless now in retrospect, seeing as I absolutely did not enjoy my time with it.

The core idea is cute. The story sees several adventurers being brought together by fate and deciding to go on an adventure together. It’s an isometric dungeon crawler where you explore randomized dungeons and complete objectives to progress. Each class levels up and has gear to take care of, as well as skills that need training and some mild crafting elements. Its major selling point, however, is the design of it. Each dungeon is created as you explore, with an unseen force putting down new tiles as you open doors. Characters and enemies are simple figures drawn on paper and, outside the dungeon’s boundaries, one can spot dices, snacks, and other DnD essentials lying on the table.

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However, one does not play DnD alone, even if Rezrog forces you to do so anyway. As you and your single character explore the dungeons, death is always imminent. On several characters I couldn’t even make it through the tutorial, two that did would find their ends in level 2, and the only character who could reach level 3 was blocked from completing it by a bug, as seen in the picture above.

The core problem with Rezrog is its poor scaling. The very first enemies you meet will take around 4 hits to kill with any class, assuming none of the attacks miss. In that time, they can do enough damage to bring your health down considerably, requiring you to take 1 or 2 potions to restore, of which the tutorial only provides 5. During combat, drinking a potion ends your turn, and the health restored is so pitiful that an enemy will immediately inflict it back on you or worse. Here we see two problems:

  1. If you need a potion during combat, you have already lost.
  2. Once potions run out during a dungeon, you have 0 hope of completing it.

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And what I quickly learned is that Rezrog is unabashedly a game about grinding. The tutorial will see you level up once and get some starting equipment, but level 2 will almost certainly do you in if you go there straight away. The only way I could beat level 2 was if I did multiple runs of the tutorial, because this allowed me to load up on health potions and get a headstart on leveling up more. Even after 4 runs, it proved just barely enough to reach the end of the second dungeon with 0 potions left.

Rezrog is a game in desperate need of rebalancing and some playtesting. It has the mechanics to be potentially fun and it’s a visually enjoyable game, but its mechanics are unrefined and only balanced for those who can grind its randomly generated play areas for hours.

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