Rogue Legacy is a rogue-lite game released in 2013. It was developed by Cellar Door Games. Rogue Legacy is currently available on Microsoft Windows, Linux, OS X, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and iOS. I’ve played a lot of hours into this game and it is worth every one of them.
What is Rogue-lite?
Before we take a look at Rogue Legacy you need to understand what a Rogue-lite game is. It is a genre of a video game where you normally battle through dungeons to an end game objective. Death is part of the process of getting to the end. When you die you receive resources to improve your chances of getting to the end. Because of that aspect, there is a lot of re-playability and retracing steps. If you hate dying and restarting then this isn’t a genre I would recommend to you. But if you enjoy constantly seeing progress in both your character’s stats as well as your own abilities this genre is worth picking up. If you like the Souls series as well, this is worth picking up.
So What’s the Story With Rogue Legacy
In Rogue Legacy you play as a prince of a castle. Your quest is to beat the four bosses and secure the castle for your legacy. Each time your character dies, they are replaced with a descendent who can be one of many classes. As you progress through the castle you receive gold and a number of upgrades. You can then spend the gold when you die on further upgrades to your stats or new classes. Upon each death, you have a choice of three descendants with different classes and perks.
Some of the perks your descendants can be helpful. One of the perks makes your character small, which makes him harder to hit. While others are not so useful such as black and white vision. This makes each descendent more unique than the other characters. This is one of the main reasons for its surprising replayability.
The game is a 2D side-scrolling action title. You move up, down, left and right to try and progress through the castle to find the bosses. On the way, you will meet a number of obstacles. There is a huge variety of enemies from skeletons, to armoured knights. There are also environmental hazards including spikes and fireballs. You need to keep your eyes on everything, trying to dodge fireballs while also fighting enemies makes it adrenaline filled.
Since the game is tricky when everything lines up and you get the perfect class/perk combo you’ll smash through the enemies one by one. The bosses however provide a huge difficulty spike. They normally take up at least 3/4s of the screen and have attacks that are difficult to dodge. But once you beat them it feels very rewarding. Especially after receiving the gold to improve your odds for the next run.
A feature that I have only recently taken advantage of is locking the castle. Normally when moving through the castle it will be different to the previous run. However, if you lock the castle it remains the same. This comes at a price with a reduced amount of gold received. During a normal run, this isn’t worth the hassle. But, if you find one of the boss’s lairs then it is worth the reduction in gold.
A Graphical Legacy
The visual style is 16-bit pixel art. The sprites are highly details and characters and levels have a unique style. Even the playable characters have a unique design and aren’t simple clones of the previous generations. It’s a beautiful game that reflects the tone at all times.The levels are also varied considering it’s meant to take place in one castle. The beginning of a run you go through a normal castle. Then depending on whether you go up, right or down will determine the change of the environment. Go down, and you enter the dungeon of the castle. Go right and you enter a dark forest.
While writing this review I am listening to the soundtrack. In-game you don’t have time to focus on the music. It sits in the background while you complete your run. But listening to it on its own without the game as a distraction I am surprised how relaxing it is. Even though it is a 16-bit title, the developer didn’t reflect that in the audio. I would recommend listening to it if you have the chance.
Entry Point to Rogue-Lite
The main reason I picked this title up is because of the Rogue-Lite features. If you have never played a game from that genre this is a great entry point. This doesn’t mean this title isn’t difficult. It is, but as you learn and grow your abilities it does become easier. You start to understand the mechanics of the game as well as the routines of your enemies. It’s very similar to the Souls series in that respect but is a lot less painful when your character dies. Once you’ve played a few runs of this I would recommend checking out other titles of the genre such as:
- The Binding Of Isaac
- Darkest Dungeon
- FTL: Faster than Light
- Dead Cells
There are a number of reasons why you should play this title. I’ve played it on the Switch which is perfect for this type of game. Easy to pick up with little story to bog you down. It’s also not a very serious game. The graphic style is beautiful, the music also. So for the first time, a game I have reviewed has got more than three stars.
This title receives 4 stars. I’m looking forward to playing the sequel and would recommend this title to anyone especially people with not a lot of time. You can invest countless hours while still feel like you are making progress. If you can purchase this title on a handheld device even better. It’s a great jumping-on point for the genre.
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