I’ve been really obsessed with Rogue-likes lately. I don’t know what it is, but I can’t get enough of them. Games like Spelunky and Risk of Rain has taken hold of my attention. Rogue Legacy is no different. It takes the basic concepts of a Rogue-like and adds on to them with some unique ideas.
The story of Rogue Legacy is simple and barebones. Most of it is presented through diary entries and tells the story of a man’s exploration into the castle. Your goal is to battle through the four areas of the castle and then take on the final boss.
You will play as his several – perhaps hundred – children. Every time you die, you get to select from one of three different children. Each one has the potential to be a different class, each with their own stats and abilities. On top of that, each child with have a few traits that differ them from their counterparts. Most of these stats won’t affect gameplay and are more for humor’s sake. For example there’s a stat that turns everything black and white, or makes you afraid of chickens. One of my favorites makes the entire game look like it came out of the Matrix. But there are a few select stats that could make or break a run. Ones that increase or decrease your size can change how far attacks knock you back, if at all.
The crux of any Rogue-like is the gold. Your money is everything in Rogue Legacy. It buys your equipment, your runes (which gives extra gameplay mechanics), and allows you to level up your various skills. Unlike other Rogue-likes, dying will not completely reset your progress. You’ll still keep any equipment you earned and bought, and any levels and skills you gained. That said, the castle does reshape itself every time you enter it. And – even more devastating – you have to surrender all your gold to gate keeper at the beginning of every run.
This heightens the tension of each run. You want to make sure that you get enough gold to spend on leveling up or unlocking that new weapons. The last thing you want to get nearly enough gold, only to get killed by a random flub. Then you’ve got to start all over.
But that’s half the fun. When you choose from the three different children, you’re choosing the kind of run you want. Do you want to get more gold? Go with the miner class. Thinking of taking on the bosses? Then the hokage is the way to go. Some of the classes aren’t as useful as others. I found that playing the magic based classes were not nearly as satisfying or fun. The magic area of Rogue Legacy is pretty lacking, only giving you one spell. It doesn’t make sense to surround an entire class around such a limited concept.
Aside from the magic based classes, Rogue Legacy is an exceptionally fun game for anyone who is interested in Rogue-likes. It’s charming and has a great sense of humor. The gameplay mechanics are sound and easy to use. I recommend using a controller though, because the PC controls make absolutely no sense. The game is available on most consoles, and even the PS Vita. But I played it on Steam, so a controller is an absolute must.
If Rogue-likes are you kind of poison, I cannot recommend Rogue Legacy more. It falls along the lines of Spelunky and Risk of Rain as a classic example of the genre.