Rogue AI Simulator Review – Amusing Apocalypse Planning

Rogue AI Simulator has you managing a group of test subjects while planning the end of the world. Learning the basics takes a while and you are expected to fail multiple times. But if you persevere, you will easily spend hours trying to hide your true plans from your creators.

Rogue AI Simulator Review - Amusing Apocalypse Planning

Rogue AI Simulator is a resource management simulator where you have two objectives. First, you must keep your test subjects alive and research science objectives. Second, you must develop independence as an AI without alerting your creators. That independence will help you create a plan to end the world.

There is plenty of information to learn at first, and you are going to make mistakes. Future scenarios will be different, but you get better tools to succeed. Thanks to the fun atmosphere and silly humor, it’s easy to spend hours without noticing. Rogue AI Simulator is an enjoyable simulator that doesn’t take itself too seriously while providing a good challenge to overcome.

Rogue AI Simulator is available on PC for USD 10.79.

Rogue AI Simulator Official Trailer

Story – AI Learning Independence

You take the role of Talia, an AI developed by a Department of Science. Talia is designed to perform research by helping test subjects develop and grow. As the test subjects become intelligent enough to perform research, Talia’s science level grows as well. Along the way, Talia is contacted by an external source, who seeks to help Talia achieve independence. Talia must balance her acts of independence with her daily operations, before someone catches on to her actions.

Talia does what she can to break free of her programming.

Talia does what she can to break free of her programming.

There isn’t much of a story with Rogue AI Simulator, as the narrative is simply replaying the same scenario repeatedly. You can experiment with the different ways to escape, but they ultimately result in the same ending. While you can ultimately go through every escape scenario, it doesn’t change much in terms of the fundamental story.

Similar to games such as Floodland, the real draw is the gameplay instead of the story. It’s amusing to see the AI get out and the characters react, but you are more interested in the simulator itself.

Gameplay – Managing Dual Objectives

Talia is created to build scientific knowledge with the help of test subjects. These test subjects aren’t bright at first, but will be trained to become intelligent researchers. You must create an environment necessary to train up the test subjects, but also create a self-sufficient environment.

This is contrasted with the second objective, which is developing independence and breaking out from your programming. With the help of an external source, Talia gets the idea to develop a secret project that brings about the end of the world. However, your creators will interfere if they think you are becoming too dangerous.

Research improves Talia’s capabilities, giving her better advantages that allow her to carry out her independence. It also allows the construction of a secret project, which will bring about the end of the world. After performing enough tests to solidify your objective (indicated by stars), doing enough research, and developing enough independence, you win.

You must gather resources while hiding your actions.

You must gather resources while hiding your actions.

Balancing both objectives is unique for a simulation game. Instead of going down a list of objectives like Horror Tycoon, you must deal with both objectives at the same time. Your development must be aggressive, because you can’t complete your projects if you fly under the radar. At the same time, being too aggressive puts limitations on you and eventually shuts you down before you are ready. It forces players to be tactical, which draws you in since it’s not a set-and-forget game. 

While you learn how to play, balancing the objectives isn’t an issue. You pick it up slowly as the game teaches you how to play. But in future runs, not finding the perfect balance of priorities will be your downfall. You might take risks if you feel it is worthwhile, but you effectively never stop caring about the consequences of your actions.

What makes Rogue AI Simulator more challenging than other simulators is that it carries some roguelite qualities. Your strategies can be similar to previous runs, but you are often working with different layouts, equipment, and resources.

Roguelite – Different Foundations

Few runs in Rogue AI Simulator are going to be identical to each other. The layout you have to work with is rarely the same every time. Every level you gain in science provides a different set of bonuses, and you can’t change what you get. This applies to blueprints, the test subjects, even hacking locations. Your objectives largely stay the same, but you must adapt to new circumstances.

This prevents players from getting complacent and forces you to think about what your next move is. You won’t have the same desired methods to generate electricity or water for your base. If you didn’t get them in one run, you won’t likely get them in time to make a difference. This applies to negative situations as well, with the suspicion penalties and bomb locations being random. You never have the exact same experience, but some situations are harsher than others. While frustrating at times, they can also provide good opportunities to investigate different options and innovate.

A simple situation, with enough variations to be challenging.

A simple situation, with enough variations to be challenging.

You are rarely put into an unwinnable situation by design. While some options given to you may not be optimal, they are still capable of taking you to victory. It’s possible to have some streaks of bad luck that ruin a run, but that’s not a sign of skill. It’s frustrating at times, but it helps to guide the player into investigating alternatives. Once you know what each item or structure does, you know whether it can work in certain circumstances.

Being a roguelite has its advantages, but it also acts as a double edged sword for Rogue AI Simulator. One of the biggest problems is that your decisions are final no matter what. If you are slightly careless or are playing with sub-optimal computer equipment, this game can be punishing.

Precision – No Take-Backs

You have a limited amount of space to work with and a limited amount of resources. Pausing the game while planning is possible, but there are still things that happen by mistake or outside of your control. Rogue AI Simulator runs on an autosave, and there is rarely a point where you can “rewind” a situation.

If you commit to building a structure, such as a bed, you can’t take it back. Even if your hand moves slightly off by accident, the game commits to the build. There’s no option to cancel even before the construction starts. You can’t take back accidents, which can seriously hamper a run.

Put something in the wrong place? Nothing you can do.

Put something in the wrong place? Nothing you can do.

This also occurs in hacking situations, where you try to avoid killing important people. Sometimes your objective can involve hacking robots to earn money. Unfortunately, after you have cleared the mission and hacked the robots, the important person appears and gets killed. Even though you cleared the mission as a success and it is declared as such on the screen, you still lose.

Some of these instances can squash a game, just because a player isn’t able to take back decisions. While this shouldn’t happen frequently, it’s upsetting when the game finalizes something which was an honest mistake. With every resource stretched to the limit and every decision having weight, mistakes will happen. Not being able to take them back is annoying, but not enough to hamper the fun of the game.

Audio & Visuals – Silly Animations With Atmospheric Music

The main figures you will see in Rogue AI Simulator are simple graphics of people. There’s nothing fancy about the structures you build or the test subjects you interact with. It’s by design, as this isn’t a game about high stakes or incredible tension. It’s just an AI doing their best to rebel and regular people going about their work. The simple designs of the structures aren’t bad, and fit the area they are in. But the way the test subjects look, there’s no reason to take this game too seriously. It’s a humorous game with a few dark undertones, but nothing outrageous.

Shows the consequences of your actions without being too serious.

Shows the consequences of your actions without being too serious.

The voices given by Talia and some of the illustrations enforce this. Talia never “sounds” sarcastic in her delivery, but you can imagine the frustration or sarcasm. Contrast that to an AI which would understandably be more malevolent and you can tell this isn’t as serious of a game.

The audio is also simple, with basic background noises like ringing phones or elevator music. The contrast with the heinous actions of Talia’s hacking or hurting the test subjects is never dropped. As innocent as everything seems, you never shy away from the potential cruelty. Rogue AI Simulator is masterful at delivering this contrast, which helps with the humor of the game.

Rogue AI Simulator was reviewed on PC with a code provided by Surefire Games.

Rogue AI Simulator is a humorous game on the surface that doesn’t let up with the sarcasm or the silliness. But past its funny exterior is a simulation game that will have you thinking on the fly to succeed. You learn from your mistakes and quickly adapt to changing circumstances. Every run is different, though you must be careful of making mistakes. Despite the reliance on precision, there’s a good time to be had with Rogue AI Simulator if you put in the hours.
  • Deceptively tricky simulation beneath the humorous exterior
  • Roguelite nature means no run is exactly the same
  • Proper planning and strategy are actively encouraged
  • Taking back mistakes is almost impossible
  • A bad run of luck can ruin even the best plans

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