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Rogue Islands review

On September 1, 2017 by Ash Meehan

Rogue Islands, developed by Big Fat Alien and published by Keystone Games, is a voxel-based first person shooter that contains various rogue-like elements such as procedurally generated islands and permadeath.

If you are looking for a challenging magic-based first person shooter, then Rogue Islands is the game for you. To say that Rogue Islands is challenging is an understatement as the game almost has a dark souls levels of difficulty, with the game refusing to hold your hand as you are thrown at enemies that can easily take you out if you don’t pay attention, thorns that will leave you poisoned, and a constant need to eat food. If all that wasn’t difficult enough night time brings Ghasts that will literally suck the life out of you if don’t run away and spend the night cowering in your boat.

While Rogue Islands is not a game for the faint of heart, the game does make an effort to help those struggling with an adaptive AI engine that increases or decreases the game difficulty depending on how good or bad you are doing. The game also has three difficulty modes that range from Explorer mode, which sees you take less damage and have two respawns, to Permadeath mode, which is one death and you are out.

In regards to the gameplay, combat is based around magic, well three separate schools of magic – raw, earth and fire. Raw magic is your basic magic, it requires mana to use and while it is the starter magic it is powerful. Earth and fire magic are rather different to raw magic, as you need to collect adamant and flamestone to cast spells in the earth and fire magic schools, and unlike mana, the adamant and flamestone gauges do not recharge over time. The recharging nature of mana is important as performing high jumps and levitating drains mana.

When engaged in combat with an enemy the game feels like it speeds up as I often found myself weaving in and out of cover and using mana to jump behind an enemy and use my remaining mana to despatch it. Although, I will see say you need to be careful about engaging enemies because if you can see them then they can likely see you, so I recommend zooming in and firing a barrage of spells in order to defeat them before they can react.


So, what do you do in Rogue Islands? Well in the game you travel around a set of islands with the objective of restoring the Great Tree Network and defeating the demonic invasion of the islands that are bound to the network. To save an island you need to complete the quests you are given upon arriving on said island. For example, on the first island, your task is to find and close a demonic portal followed by collecting fuel for your boat in an effort to continue to the next island. In terms of objectives, it is straightforward, although I did find it difficult to complete the first island as to reach the portal you need to climb floating pillars while dealing with floating heads that can knock you off the pillars.

So, besides combat and completing missions what else can you do in Rogue Islands? Well, the game does have a crafting system that allows you to unlock new spells by way of spirit gems, which are created by combining gems with spirit dust. These spirit gems can be placed in your wand and unlock a new spell or upgrade an existing one in your spell book.

So, now let’s look at some negatives. For me, the most notable negative is the requirement to constantly eat food. It seems like an unnecessary survival element in a game that is already challenging enough. Also, in regards to food, the buffs and the amount of health they regenerate feels a tad odd as I found myself not knowing what food did what because I was just picking up and eating food because I didn’t want to starve to death. Personally, I think the best solution would have been no survival aspect and have food give buffs and regenerate health. Also, for those curious, the game doesn’t feature automatic regenerating health, which is a shame when you don’t know what food is best for recovering lost health and you find yourself worrying that you might run out of health before you complete a task.

In regards to graphics, the voxel-based design made the game stand out and the procedural generation created some truly amazing looking locations. In regards to audio, my only issue was that I did find it difficult to hear some enemies approaching.



Rogue Islands is an enjoyable game that may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get into the rhythm of things you won’t want to put the game down.

SCORE: 8.5/10

Pros Cons
+ Adaptive AI engine  – The survival mechanic seem unnecessary 
+ Procedurally generated voxel-based worlds   
+ Combat can be unforgiving if you don’t pay attention   
Developer Publisher Genre Rating Platform Release date
Big Fat Alien  Keystone Games  Adventure  N/A  PC  September 12, 2017 

*A review code was provided by the game’s publisher.*

For more information on Rogue Islands, visit http://rogueislands.com/.

Author: Ash Meehan

Hi, I’m the creator of SG Gaming Info. When I’m not working on my writing or creating content for this site’s YouTube channel, I like to relax and enjoy character driven story games.

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