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Root Indie Game Review

We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Deep Fried Enterprises for the review copy of Root used for this review. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to review, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this review. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this review or the final score.

Concept

In Root you play as expert hacker Edward Summerton. You are trying to hack into one of the most secure networks at a powerful and dangerous corporation. In order to successfully enter the network you must fight your way through the security robots and other security measures that stand in your way.

Root plays like an old school FPS combined with some stealth elements. Each level can be approached in multiple different ways since each level has multiple different paths that you can take. You could decide to play the game as a pure stealth game using your club to knock out all of the guards without having to shoot any of them. You could also play the game like a traditional FPS and shoot any guard that you encounter.

Review

The first person shooter genre is probably the most popular genre in video games today. While it is not my favorite genre I would probably consider it to be one of my favorites. For the most part I also enjoy stealth games. While I am not the stealthiest player, I have really enjoyed the Splinter Cell, Thief, and Dishonored franchises. Add these two genres to a cool looking Tron art style and I was interested in checking out Root. Unfortunately Root didn’t really appeal to me but fans of classic first person shooters might really enjoy the game.

Generally I like to play these type of stealth action games in a way where I try to be as stealthy as possible. I won’t obsess over knocking out every guard but I will try to use the stealthy path when possible. So when I first starting playing Root I approached the game in this manner. I tried to be as stealthy as I could but this just made the game kind of dull. I just wasn’t really having that much fun with the stealth aspects of the game. While the stealth mechanics could use a little polish, there isn’t anything particularly wrong with them. They serve their purposes but don’t do anything special either.

At this point I was about to write the review since I had enough of the game and it just wasn’t appealing to me. Before starting to write my review though I decided to look at some other reviews on Steam to see if there was something that I was missing. One review in particular stood out to me which mentioned that they played the game more like a traditional FPS shooter and they got considerably more fun out of the game. I decided to give it a try and I have to say that playing Root as a more traditional FPS makes the game considerably more enjoyable.

I think the main reason that playing the game as a FPS was more enjoyable is that while the stealth elements work fine, they are just kind of dull in Root. Other people might find the stealth elements more enjoyable but going full stealth in Root is just too slow and boring. If you want to play relying fully on stealth you have to spend way too much time waiting for guards to turn around and the guards are too good at detecting you which means you have to move really slow in order to sneak through the levels. All of these elements just didn’t make the stealth worth it in my opinion.

This doesn’t mean that the shooter elements of the game are easy. While you could theoretically run and gun in the game, you will likely die really quick. Root is not meant to be an easy first person shooter and it isn’t. You really need to be careful in order to avoid as much damage as possible. You can only be hit a couple times before you die especially since there is no way you can heal yourself. Once you lose health you lose it for good. As far as I could tell there are no health packs anywhere in the game.

For the most part Root plays like traditional first person shooters where you needed to take your time and use cover to prevent being hit by enemies. Hiding behind walls and objects while you reload is key. Basically the only way you can survive in the game is to find cover and take your shots when the enemy is unable to shoot you. You also need to reload your gun after every enemy you kill since you should always have a full clip. If this sounds fun for you, you will probably enjoy Root.

The one thing that I disliked the most about Root was the lack of direction. The game doesn’t feature a map at all so you are forced to find your own way through the building. None of levels appear to be huge but I think the game could have done a better job guiding players to where they needed to go next. The game pretty much just forces you to find your own way through the building which wouldn’t be such a bad thing but the game appears to have a bunch of dead ends and paths that loop back over themselves. Some players will enjoy this since it gives you a lot of freedom and doesn’t hold you by the hand. I didn’t like it since it felt to me that I was just wandering around the building aimlessly looking for the area that would take me to the next level.

The art style/theme reminded me a lot of Tron which makes a lot of sense since the game does take place inside a computer after all. The different colors used to indicate different items is a nice touch especially since it makes it a lot easier to spot enemies. So far I have found the story to be so so. I haven’t played through a lot of the game though so I am guessing that the story is going to pick up but in the early stages the story starts kind of slow. The game is a little hit or miss in the humor department with some of the jokes being somewhat funny (mostly making fun of video game tropes) while others were not that funny in my opinion.

Even though the game started to pick up when I started playing it more like a shooter than a stealth game, there is just something about the game that prevented me from really getting into it. I didn’t really mind the difficulty, the story is decent and the controls work fine. Root just never grabbed my attention and forced me to finish the game. This doesn’t mean that Root is a bad game since I know some people will enjoy the game a lot more than I did.

Bang For Your Buck

Since I have only played the game for around an hour at this time I haven’t played through a lot of the game at this point. Based on the level select screen the game appears to have ten levels. This might not sound like a lot of levels and for some players it might not take that long to beat. I found the game to be pretty hard but if you are really good at first person shooters I think you could quickly move through the game. If you are not great at FPS though you could get a decent amount of time out of the game since you will probably die quite a bit in the game.

At this time Root retails for $9.99. Overall the price is not bad if you like old school first person shooters. If you are not a big fan of the genre though I would recommend at least waiting for a sale on the game.

Should You Purchase Root?

While I wasn’t a huge fan of Root, it doesn’t mean that it is a bad game. The setting is interesting and the gameplay should be fun for people who like old school first person shooters. The game is quite difficult so people who are looking for a challenge will probably really like Root. Root for some reason didn’t really appeal to me though.

If you are mostly looking for a stealth game or don’t particularly like first person shooters, I don’t think you will really enjoy Root. At least in my experience the game is more of a first person shooter than a stealth game. If you are looking for an old school first person shooter though I think you could have some fun with Root.

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