UPDATE: Review | Rogue Legacy
Update: It’s been almost a year since the PC release of Rogue Legacy, and the PSN version is now available.
While almost original to the PC version, there are a few things that make the new version stand out. The most important is the continual need for a controller, which this game requires for it’s pinpoint platforming and fighting through the castle.
I also feel the graphics are better for the PS4 and PS3 version. Playing on a bigger screen made them look crisper and made it easier to see what lays ahead as you press on.
The biggest draw for Vita owners is the ability to play on the go. Rogue Legacy is made for short runs for money and killing, and getting a few rounds in on the train or bus is perfect. Plus, for those longer runs you can put it into standby mode and pick it up later.
Another good feature, besides the cross-buy (buy once, get all three version) is cross-save, letting you pick right up where you left off between systems.
Overall, Rogue Legacy is still a great, challenging game that everyone should check out if they never have before. If you’re torn between what version to get, though, go toward the PSN.
Original: No matter how prepared you are, Rogue Legacy will always have some surprises for you.
Are you ready for a room made of spikes with only tables to jump on? How about a teleporter that takes you to one of the hardest areas in the game? Or how about a rare monster that you’ve never seen before.
Rogue Legacy will always have new dungeons ready to take you on and destroy you. The good side about this destruction is that it’s so enjoyable to run again and again that you won’t mind the dozens of deaths on the way.
The game is classified as a rogue-lite title. It’s definitely hard, but does reward players that can master the mechanics and overcome obstacles by giving you permanent weapons and stat boosts along the way, provided you can stay alive long enough to make enough coin.
After your first playthrough with the main character, you get the choice of three heirs, which will continue the rest of the game. Classes range from the standards, like mages and barbarians, to miners, liches, ninjas and more, and even a rare class after buying at least one of every item to fully unlock the manor. Each class has its own specialty, such as the miner getting more gold and the lich getting more health for each kill after starting with almost nothing. This means players will quickly have to learn how to best utilize each class and run in a dungeon, whether it be to try and get farther or just get coins.
In addition, characters also inherit traits from their parent. The traits can range from being just additional quirks, such as popping up an expression each time they get hit, to changing the gameplay in huge ways. Some traits can make your character bigger or smaller, others can make fake enemies in dungeons (dementia), and some even completely flip the screen upside down (vertigo).
All characters also start with a different spell as well, such as a scythe, teleport, fireball or other spell, although new spells can randomly be found in the dungeon to change out. This makes your beginning character that much more vital to select at the beginning. A miner with a great spell may be good for a coin run, but vertigo on them can make your life hell for the short time he’s alive. Meanwhile, a female barbarian could be a great tank to try and take on a boss, but dwarfism could render her pointless.
An interesting side note to mention is that, while choosing your class, you can also see your past characters by going left, all the way back to your original character. A fair warning, though, your family tree will get long by the time you finish the game, but it’s always interesting to remember some of your stronger fighters.
As you can probably guess, the main objective here is to get the most amount of coins possible while defeating four bosses and a final boss in different areas of the castle and surrounding world. Each of the four areas increase in level as you go to them, although you can go into them at any time. I found this out the hard way the first time as I dropped into the dark depths as a level 7, only to meet a level 56 monster that obliterated me.
When you finally do die, you use up as much money as you can buying new skills and stat boosts, along with items and runes, before giving the rest to Charon to go back into the dungeon again. You can eventually get a perk to keep some money away from Charon, but the majority of your cash will still come from in the dungeon as you run around breaking stuff and killing things.
As stated at the beginning, the castle randomizes itself each time you go in, unless you give up 40 percent of your coins to keep your previous dungeon. However, eventually you’ll probably come to some rooms that look identical. It’s an eventuality as you keep dying again and again that the game only has so many rooms to load in and show off, but you’ll never have a reason to complain about it.
The monsters don’t seem to be as varied, though. Enemies tend to stay the same in the different areas, just becoming stronger and with more health. Very few get added into the mix as you go along. Even boss fights seem like bigger variations of enemies you’ve found with new attack patterns. Combat is also a bit simple, just swinging a sword or using a spell as you run along. However, these both suit the nature of the game well, which is to get as far as you can as quick as possible.
This balance seem perfected in the game. It’s made for short, quick bursts of gameplay to get coins before trying a longer run to get to the bosses. Then you rinse and repeat for each new area before completing the game and moving to new game plus. Honestly, it seems like it would be a perfect fit as a Vita title for on the go, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this game announced for the handheld someday.
The game also contains plenty of secrets to find in dungeons. Some chests contain blueprints for new items, and journal entries can randomly be found as you go along. Some rooms also contain Fairy Chests, which only unlock as you complete certain tasks, such as not taking damage or killing everything in a room. These chest contain either armor or a rune that can augment abilities, such as giving a double jump or leaching life after killing enemies. Runes can also be stacked, allowing for even more jumps or more health gain as well. There is also a random Charon Coin that will spawn that can give you entrance to the dungeon without losing any coins you have, provided you can find it.
One thing to note about the game is that you definitely need to play it with a controller. The keyboard isn’t a deal-breaker for the game, but will make your life a lot harder than just trying to run through with a 360 controller or PC controller because of accurate jumps needed when platforming around.
The pixel look of the title is great and fits nicely with trying to bring back memories of harder retro titles. Both the environments and enemies are always good to see, even if the occasional glitch pops up, like spells going through walls when they previously didn’t. The soundtrack, while limited, is catchy to listen to again and again. In fact, because I heard that castle theme so much, I caught myself whistling it sometimes at work.
Except for a few graphical glitches here and there, Rogue Legacy is a great title that has a lot of polish. Even though it’s made with difficulty in mind, the game will get its hooks into you and won’t let go, keeping you coming back for run after run after run. Hopefully, the next time I hear something about the game will be when bigger companies like Sony and Microsoft take note of the game and want to bring it to their consoles.
Final Score: 4.5 out of 5