I never thought I would hear the words ‘roguelite’ and ‘Minesweeper’ together in the same sentence but here we are. Lets go ! Revolution! is a cheerful mix of minesweeper and roguelite, tasking players with tracking down a deliciously loathsome king through a series of increasingly complex tile maps to pull off their titular coup. With all the tiles face down on arrival, you’ll need to jump from square to square to flip them over and reveal the king’s hideout before moving on to the next level. But with several of his royal agents stalking the roads and highways, you’ll need to choose your route carefully, making good use of your character’s unique skills to arrive at your final destination of Beebom City. That, and using a bit of the old minesweeper noggin, of course.
You see, tiles are of two types in Let’s! Revolution! The aforementioned road tiles and the surrounding landscape tiles. These all have numbers indicating how many road tiles surround it, giving you just enough information to get an idea of where the road (and the king’s lackeys) might be hiding. Be careful though. This lot is a tricky bunch, and can overwhelm pretty quickly if revealed too early and all at once. That’s it ! Revolution! in a nutshell, at least, but the real joy of this racing-based rogue comes from its gorgeous presentation and brilliantly crafted character classes that twist and shape its basic building blocks into new shapes every time. It’s great fun and I never get tired of it.
With each new class unlocked so far during my time with her, I’ve marveled again at how differently they work. There are six in total, but you’ll need to earn them by collecting gems and completing multiple runs. Your starter Trooper lets you take a classic hammer and nail approach to getting your feet wet, ferreting out each of its different enemy types with their circular swing. The Trooper earns extra coins at the end of each level for getting an “All Clear”, you see, which you can then use to buy extra items, attacks, and improve your skills later in your run through the shops and gyms you discover. Let’s not all! However, the classes in Revolution! are designed for direct combat and will require different approaches to win the day.
The assassin elf Shadow, for example, can only attack when enemies are concealed, though you can force revealed enemies into concealment by somersaulting over their heads to “flip” their tile, or throwing one of your limited smoke bombs into the fray. Unlike the Trooper, they earn extra coins by revealing as few tiles as possible, which naturally changes the cadence of your decision-making and the strategies you’ll need to deploy to root out your flying and arrogant (and highly punchable) quarry.
Case in point: the childish little Oracle, who is even less adept at facing enemies head-on than the others. She starts out with just a stun rod that extends the turn count of affected enemies before they can strike again, and must instead use her large energy pool to teleport around the map, discover its dead ends (where the king, treasury, and sometimes handy shops are always found) and move on before things get too hairy – but not before revealing as many landscape tiles as possible to get their end-of-level bonus.
Decreasing mobs and staying on top of in-game enemies is key to a successful run in Let’s! Revolution! Each guard has their own health pool and number of turns to keep track of, and landing a hit will reset their turn clock to give you some valuable wiggle room. However, if you fail to defeat them or reset that clock in time, the enemies will land a hit on your warrior no matter where you are on the map – and when there are entire enemy types out there dedicated to revealing and getting as many of their companions on the board as possible, a race can go south pretty fast if you let things get out of control.
These confrontations bristle each level with just the right amount of tension, giving you the time and space to orient yourself while continually prompting you to act and make a decision. It’s helpful that each map also tells you in advance how many enemies are hidden inside, encouraging you to take risks and gamble on uncharted tiles if you’re nearly in the clear. You’ll inevitably curse your own mistakes in a race, but when the King is such a wonderfully smug, turd-like villain taunting you about his second-rate Dr. Robotnik egg, every mistake just gives you more motivation to hang on and try harder.
The other three classes riff on its core trio of characters even further, offering more advanced alter egos from its main cast that take your understanding of the game’s fundamentals to new heights. Rather than working towards end-of-level bonuses here, this bundle is all about the system, requiring players to replenish their dwindling energy reserves on the fly multiple times per level using their abilities in the most efficient and effective way possible. I haven’t unlocked the final class yet, the Sorceress, but the Charger (the Trooper’s twin) powers up their attacks and replenishes their energy by maintaining, you guessed it, a chain of bash charges, while the Hunter (Shadow’s more aggressive variant) can lower their energy costs by chaining attacks together and moving together in an unbroken dance of death. In other words, there’s a lot to master, and peeling off its randomly generated boards is both a thrill and a brain-boosting puzzle box, reminiscent of the best bits of strategy games such as Into The Breach, married with the visual flair and panache of Hades and the rest of the Supergiant canon.
There may be a feeling of being slightly overpowered at first, as the number of coins you generate in a single run makes it fairly easy to max out your heart and energy meters, while doing regular full heals and equipping yourself with new buffs and abilities. Granted, those buffs don’t carry over to the next round, but there have been instances where my helpless little Oracle suddenly got her hands on a suitable melee ability, for example, which completely changed how she was able to conquer the remaining cards. That said, any sense of ease quickly dissipates at higher difficulty levels. In addition to ‘Easy’ and ‘Normal’, each class has five levels of NG+ to contend with, and so far I’ve hit NG+3 and still get a bit of a royal kick almost every time. Even if defeated, however, most runs still count for something, as you can usually find an extra gem or two in treasure chests to nudge you towards the next unlock tier, even if you don’t make it to the end.
Besides, it’s hard to feel mad for long when its lush visuals from animation studio Buck and the catchy soundtrack from musical outfit Antfood make it such a delight to dig through through successive runs. It’s particularly impressive to see Buck making such a strong start in full-fledged game development, as their previous game work was limited to VR demos, AR experiences, and ad campaigns for other companies. It’s great to see this animation house have such a clear and strong mastery of their subject, and I hope so! Revolution! is only the first of a long new dynastic line for them. It may not be a game that can span perhaps hundreds of hours of gameplay like some of today’s roguelike heavyweights, but I’ve had a great time with it so far, and for now, that’s good enough. I can’t stop playing it, and I don’t want to either. So let’s go ! Give it the attention it deserves!
This review is based on a retail version of the game provided by developers Buck.