Rouge Legacy is a 2D dungeon delving hack ‘n’ slash platformer that borrows heavily from the roguelike genre: play randomly generated levels to improve your character’s abilities, bang your head against challenges, die, and repeat. What makes Rogue Legacy stand out is that each new hero is a descendant of the former – each with unique skills, abilities, and (importantly) flaws. Most attempts are fast, varied, and require exacting precision.
You begin Rogue Legacy as a knight, approaching a castle in search of riches and revenge. The hulking armored brute you inhabit looks powerful, but don’t be fooled, you are no match for the fort and you can expect to die many times before you make progress. Each time you die, one of your hero’s children takes their place, inheriting their equipment, skills, and sometimes their flaws - enabling you to slowly improve your chances for each subsequent fight.
There are a total of 8 different character classes, ranging from Paladin to Wizard, and Barbarian to Ninja. Each class brings a different subtleties to the gameplay, all of which should be mastered to ensure maximum efficiency.
Rogue Legacy’s implementation of the roguelike mechanics work perfectly. The money you earn in each adventure can be used to upgrade your castle, unlocking skills, character classes, and merchants. Once you have unlocked the weapon-smith, you can purchase swords, shields, and runes to provide your heroes with permanent enhancements. You even gain the ability to lock the current dungeon layout in place (so your next run won’t be randomly generated) by bribing Death.
The ultimate goal is to explore the dungeon and kill the five bosses. To achieve this you will have to subdivide your tasks, such as using some runs to gather enough money to reach the next castle enhancement, while using others to fight the various bosses.
Good responses with zero complications
While the gameplay is great, the most entertaining thing about Rogue Legacy is its heroes. Each new protagonist inherits improvements from the last, but they can also gain flaws to provide some unique flare to each run. For example, some heroes are colorblind which plunges them into a black and white world, while other heroes suffer from gigantism which makes them more of a target for enemies. There are dozens of combinations of these problems, and finding out which will prove harmless and which will completely stump you in your next run is half of the game's fun.
Rogue Legacy is a pleasure to control. The game responds immediately to every input of the intuitive interface, allowing you to focus on the action at hand. The various upgrades you can gather (such as rune and weapons) alter your stats... but everything is easy to understand and straightforward. This is more of an achievement than it sounds in a genre that usually manages to overcomplicate itself.
The visual style of Rogue Legacy is also very successful. The 2D sprites and backgrounds are filled with colorful detail and wonderful animation. The only real problem is that constantly running through the game’s initial area does become repetitive – as does the range of enemies you face within it. Despite the dungeons being randomly generated you will still regularly see the same locations.
The music matches the action perfectly - although again, given how often you pass through each area a little more variety would have been appreciated.
A roguish master piece
Rogue Legacy is one of the best games in the genre. It's quick, funny, well-balanced, and controls incredibly well. On the downside, the nature of the game does make you notice its looping content and lack of music – but these are problems easily overlooked.