by Matt Porter
reviewed on PC
Lady Chun Li II, The Divine Barbarian Queen has been my most successful adventurer so far in Rogue Legacy. Many came before her, and many came after her, but none have quite lived up to her fame, yet. While exploring Castle Hamson in this procedurally generated ‘Rogue-lite’ game, she killed a massive eyeball boss, found thousands of gold, but sadly she perished to a spike trap and never got to use it. When you die in Rogue Legacy you have to start again from the beginning, but thankfully your new character inherits all of the gold accumulated from the previous attempt, so the memory of Lady Chun Li II lives on through the ages. A decent legacy, if you will.
Traits and classes
Each time you start a new game, you are granted with the choice of three randomly generated characters. You can get any combination of names, traits, classes and spells. The thing I was most excited about upon finding out about the game were the traits. These range from useless to pretty handy, and some are just for show. For example, O.C.D. grants you mana back for smashing objects, and Perma-Roided means you knock back enemies further when you hit them. Dyslexia means any words you come across in the castle are jumbled up, and Color-blind turns the entire world black and white. I definitely ended up preferring certain traits over others, and avoided some altogether. Vertigo causes the entire world to be flipped upside-down, and makes the game almost unplayable. While I was excited by the traits to begin with, they ended up just being a gimmick for the most part, especially when the majority don’t affect gameplay. The real draw for Rogue Legacy is the gameplay and sense of progression, each of which are truly excellent.
After choosing your character, you are able to spend the gold accumulated in your previous run in your family manor. Early heroes will only bag you a handful of gold before dying, so you won’t be able to buy much to begin with. Over the hours you spend playing the game – and you will spend many hours playing it – you will eventually upgrade stats like health, damage and magic, buy new armour and weapons, get the enchantress to put runes on your equipment and even unlock new classes. You won’t be able to hoard money though, as Charon guards the entrance to the castle and requires a toll to pass. As with the traits, when you don’t get the choice of a class you want at the start of the game, you end up being pretty disappointed. However, you can still probably earn enough gold to make it worth your while, and thankfully the game is fun enough that you will have a good time trekking through the castle regardless of what character you are playing.
The controls are simple. One button to swing your weapon, one button to jump, one button to use your magical attack and one button to use your class’ special ability. Some way into the game you will find runes that will allow you to double jump and perform a quick dash to the sides. The one annoyance about the controls is that some platforms need you to hit down and attack at the same time to activate. Combine this with jumping sideways and it never feels precise enough. More than a few times this led to me falling onto some spikes, however this can generally be forgiven.
Wonderfully engaging gameplay. Great progression.
The traits aren't that interesting, despite being one of the main selling points.