The Serpent Rogue review: The worst Alchemist in the land

Sengi Games
Sengi Games /

Title: The Serpent Rogue
Developer: Sengi Games
Publisher: Team17
Platforms: PS5 (reviewed on), PC, Xbox Series S/X, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: April 26th, 2022

Over the years, I have come to terms with the fact that when it comes to any form of survival video game that relies on gathering and creating, I won’t last more than a day. From Grounded to Green Hell and more, the only thing that has solidified in my mind is that if I were to end up in a situation where I found myself stuck in a jungle or made really small and had to survive or thrust into a magical realm, I’d be worm food within hours. For some reason, I thought things would be different with the new game The Serpent Rogue. Turns out….still no. And the worst part of it all? This isn’t even a survival game. Figures.

In The Serpent Rogue, you will play as the most adorable little plague doctor. After a global pandemic that’s still not even close to being over, plague doctors are all the rage, just ask Spirit Halloween. They’ll crawl into the closest and warmest available corpse and sell whatever screams “POPULAR.” But I digress.

This adorable game is an adventure RPG with a focus on gathering and experimental alchemy. There are ingredients strewn all about the place and the more you gather, the more you can research. By researching the item, you can see the item’s qualities. Is it food? Is it healing? Is it magical? Can I kill something with it? You also have the option of experimenting with different mixtures to create potions and dishes…or mostly rancid items that get thrown away in my case.

Parts of the land are corrupted by darkness and you can choose to kill or heal along the way but the corruption must be cleansed. You won’t be alone in your journey, however. There is the ability to tame wild animals to follow you and assist in the maiming and killing. You must use your mind to figure out what items to drop to tame them.

There are also options to modify your body, itself. You want a mushroom hat? Sure, why not. You want poison to heal you instead of kill you? I mean, that’s weird but ok. Feel like turning into a rat? Hell, yeah! The world is your oyster to create or destroy.

The Serpent Rogue
Sengi Games /

Maybe I am just not imaginative enough, but figuring out the potion process is a bit of a slog. In the very beginning, you are offered a portable research center to experiment on the go. If you happen to accidentally drop it in a lake, well then you’re screwed because it’s gone until you can make another one. I’m not saying that from experience or anything. You need a certain amount of a particular item before you can research it and researching the item uses it, so to brew potions, you’ll need more. It’s very convoluted and I never could get a good hang of it.

In true Soulsborne fashion, if you die in a playthrough, you will awake in your safe zone with nothing but the shirt on your back. You must go and retrieve your fallen pack but beware, if you die on the way, your supplies are gone for good.

Visually, The Serpent Rogue is so much fun to look at. It feels like a nostalgic PC game from days of yore and it sets you right into the RPG state of mind. The colors are bright and the lines are crispy clean. The gameplay mechanics are fairly simple and, while they don’t hold your hand in terms of actual gameplay, the game does offer information on the controls which is appreciated. It’s an easy game to play while offering a challenge along the way.

No matter how bad I am at The Serpent Rogue, I find myself walking back to it, trying to unlock more recipes, tame more animals and explore more parts of the world. Progress is slow and feels more like the gameplay is being drip fed to me as opposed to a steady clip, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After being elbow deep in games like Elden Ring where every step is a challenge and if you blink at the wrong time, you will find yourself Hulk-smashed by a giant crab that snuck up behind, something slow is a breath of fresh air. There’s nothing wrong with slow games, no matter if you are a pro at them or if you stumble around as though you were wearing a blindfold. The Serpent Rogue is fun either way.

The Serpent Rogue (PS5) Score: 8.5/10

The Serpent Rogue offers a fun and relaxing game that is part adventure and part sandbox. Whether you’re here for the gameplay or the atmosphere, I think you’ll enjoy your stay.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.