“Rogue Legacy” isn’t for the faint of heart. Five minutes after I began my first session, I was immediately chosing an heir for my character met a rather untimely death. Normally, death in video games is a bad thing. In, “Rogue Legacy”, it’s a standard that occurs quite frequently. It’s not a matter of whether or not you survive, it’s a matter of how long it’ll take for your character to kick the proverbial bucket. “Rogue Legacy” is an action side-scrolling rogue-like that I didn’t think I’d enjoy due to its difficulty, but I’m happy to have been proven wrong.
The overall gameplay can be a bit confusing at first, but it’s not so bad once you get the hang of it. You’re character starts outside of a castle, where you’ll be able to purchase both permanent and temporary upgrades with the money earned from your immediate ancestor’s run. Upgrading your manor unlocks more rooms and passive bonuses, giving your next of kin a better chance of surviving…at least for a longer period of time. Some rooms, like the blacksmith, allow the current character to purchase temporary upgrades for their current run. Before you enter the castle, you’ll have to pay a toll equal to all of your gold…a point of no return, if you will.
Once inside the castle, you’ll be free to explore it. It randomly generates with every heir, giving you a different layout every time. You can, however, lock a castle’s layout via the architect upgrade (for a price). Your goal will be to get as far as you can and collect as much gold as possible until your demise. When that happens, you’ll choose between one of three heirs, upgrade what you can at your manor, and repeat the process. As I said, death in “Rogue Legacy” is just a means to an end as opposed to simply being “The End”. The castle doesn’t pull any punches, so expect to go through a lot of characters within your first half hour of playing.
What I enjoyed the most were the unique traits that your heirs possess. Some have issues with eyesight, making everything far away blurry on your screen. There’s also a few different classes in the game and each heir comes equipped with a unique secondary weapon. Going through the available heirs made me think a bit on how I’d treat the next run. The action itself is very fast-paced…it’s easy to die in the first room if you’re not careful. Health pickups are rare, making vampirism-like equipment very popular. In order to get said equipment, however, you’ll need to find the appropriate blueprints locked away in the castle.
This review is admittedly shorter than most, but that’s because there’s not a lot to say. The game is very skill-based and difficult in terms of difficulty, which may turn some folks off. What attracted me and keeps me playing is the unlock system…I’m just one of those people who HAS to know what other buildings and features could be available to me if I keep at it. If you’re easily frustrated by death in games, then “Rogue Legacy” may not be for you. Once you accept that death is simply a means with which to progress, you may find it to be a fun, if not sometimes frustrating experience. In the end, it does a lot more right than it does wrong. As such, I highly recommend picking it up, especially if you can catch it during a Steam sale.
Final Verdict: 8/10
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