Rogue Legacy Review

By Mike Sousa on July 31, 2014

Despite the fact we are moving on to a generation where great graphics are the highlight of most games, there are several games out there that prove that all you need to have an awesome experience is strong gameplay. Such is the case with Rogue Legacy, an indie platform game developed by Cellar Door Games.

Rogue Legacy can be considered a typical 2D hack and slash title. Players can attack enemies with their sword, and depending on what kind of character you have, it's possible to use magic, throw knifes, or use other abilities. Rogue Legacy is not even close to being considered easy or lacking in challenge. In fact, on your first time playing the game, it is very difficult to survive more than two minutes when entering the castle. And this is one of the key elements that helps Rogue Legacy to separate itself from the crowd - dying is the only way to progress through the game.

The overall objective is to progress through the castle, defeat four bosses, and then defeat the final boss. However, the equipment and level you start with won't be enough to give you a fighting chance. When you enter the castle, you have to defeat several enemies while surviving as long as possible, and most important of all, collect as much gold as you can. Gold can be obtained by defeating enemies, destroying objects or opening chests.

If you hadn't figured it out already, when your character dies you have start all the way at the beginning. In addition, you won't play as that character anymore either, you will play as descendants of your character instead. Here is where another of the game's key elements comes in to place, genetics. You can choose between three heirs, each of which might be different in comparison to their fallen parent. They might be taller or shorter, stronger or weaker, have different job classes, or possess some kind of special trait. These special traits will in one way or another change the way you play the game. For example, dwarfism means that your character will be really small, which allows you to access secret areas and shortcuts, while sightedness and near-sightedness makes your vision blurry far and near your character, respectively. Each trait will have its very own advantages and disadvantages, adding a certain degree of challenge, and trial and error. In addition, when you die, your descendent will keep all your equipment and gold you earned.

Before you re-enter the castle, you can once again use this gold that's been earned to upgrade your character's stats, buy new equipment and abilities, and even new classes. It's advisable to spend as much gold as you can, because in order to enter the castle once again, you have to lose all your remaining gold. It might be frustrating, especially if you were considering buying an expensive upgrade, but that's where the challenge of the game lies. If you want to buy expensive upgrades, you have to survive as long as you can and collect the amount of gold you need for upgrades.

One thing that you will notice when you enter the castle once again is the fact that its layout will be different every time "“ it's randomly generated. This means that all the rooms you have been before are no longer there, including the rooms where the bosses are. Fortunately, for those that are less patient, there's an upgrade that allows you to keep the castle's previous layout. However, every time you use this upgrade, you will receive only a small percentage of the gold you obtain the next time you enter the level, which makes this upgrade useful in particular situations such as finding a boss, but not in others. Thankfully, you only need to defeat each boss once, so if you die after defeating a boss, it won't be there any more in the future.

Adding to what is already a game with great diversity, Rogue Legacy features a wide variety of enemies, from skeletons and ninjas, to portraits and fireballs, and even the bosses themselves. Each enemy has a different attack pattern too, which helps to keep things fresh. The game also offers tons of mini-challenges such as defeating all the enemies in a specific room or get to a treasure chest without taking damage. Upon completing these challenges you will be rewarded with gold, equipment and other items.

Final Thoughts

Rogue Legacy is one of those games that despite being simple, delivers a challenging and addictive experience. The death and genetics systems along with a layout that changes every time you enter it, allows you to take part in an "infinite" loop that doesn't ever feel repetitive. Although it may sound like a short experience, you will easily invest 15 hours into the game before you can actually complete it. And even after you complete it, the game offers you an even more challenging New Game+ mode. Considering its price and the fact it's a cross-buy title, Rogue Legacy is one of those games you should consider giving it a try.

Lots of customizations, character classes and traits.
Great pixelated presentation.
No variety in melee attacks.
Genetics might sometimes make you chose between 3 bad heirs.
Sometimes dodging enemy attacks is impossible.
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