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New Steam platformer turns Mega Man into a roguelike, and it rules

With a demo at WASD 2024, Elsie is the perfect blend of fast-paced 2D platforming, stunning pixel visuals, and modern roguelike elements.

Elsie Steam WASD: a cartoon drawing of an android woman holding a gun

If like me you adore fast-paced pixel art platformers with stellar soundtracks, and almost any roguelike or roguelite you can get your hands on, Elsie is a game you should be keeping an eye on. With a smattering of Enter The Gungeon’s bullet hell and procedural generation, the platforming of Mega Man, and the impeccable vibes of Sonic Mania, Elsie gives you plenty of reasons to keep playing and replaying.

A demo has been live at WASD 2024 if you were lucky enough to be there, but for the rest of us, Elsie is a healthy mix of some of my favorite genres. The platform game puts you in the metallic shoes of the titular Elsie, where you’ll have to navigate the Mega Man-style levels filled with technicolor dreamscapes and robotic enemies, all bookended by one of the bosses – The Guardians.

While you’re dodging and parrying the enemies and their barrage of bullets, Elsie’s true twist on the platforming genre comes in its roguelike elements. All of the levels are procedurally generated, and you’ll have a wide array of upgrades, skills, and weapons to choose from for each run. So instead of completing every level and being done with the game, you’ll be given a choice after each boss. This means you’ll only do three of the five levels in each run – encouraging you to start again even if you ‘beat’ the game.

Games like Berserk Boy have been keeping classic platformers alive on Steam in 2024, and the absolutely gorgeous visuals and frenetic combat of Elsie are poised to do the same. The big difference though, between the random levels and suite of upgrades and weapon choices, is that no two visits to the same biome will be alike. Elsie sounds perfect for the Steam Deck, then.

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You’ll spend your downtime in the hub area of Sapir Wharf, where you’ll no doubt find NPCs, stores, and upgrades to help with your next run. You’ll start with the aerial level of Eclipse Skyport, but from here you’ll have that choice I mentioned earlier after beating the boss.

If Elsie’s gun combat isn’t really your thing don’t worry, because this wouldn’t be a proper roguelike if there weren’t more characters with more ways to play. You can instead opt for Andru, a melee-based fighter with their own augments, weapons, abilities, and upgrades to completely shift how you play.

At its core, then, Elsie is a modern retro-inspired platformer in the vein of Shovel Knight, but with roguelike progression that wants to change how you engage with each level, making them more replayable than any others in the genre.

You can wishlist Elsie on Steam right here, with a release still “to be announced” for the frantic 2D platforming roguelike. The latest trailer says the team at Knight Shift Games is shooting for summer 2024. There are plenty more WASD 2024 games to play and keep an eye on too.

In the meantime, you can check out some of the best roguelike games that’ll keep you playing forever alongside some big upcoming PC games to keep an eye on.

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