A Game for the Generations

Rogue Legacy
Reviewed On
Available For
Mac, PC

Welcome Time Wasters!

This week I sat down to play a game that I picked up during Steam’s fall sale a few weeks ago. That game is Rogue Legacy.

As the name implies, Rogue Legacy is a rogue-like game, but it’s also so much more. The story behind Rogue Legacy is that the King of a country has had an assassination attempt on his life. To save the King, the player must adventure inside the villain’s castle and defeat its four guardians and the assassin to obtain the cure.

This doesn’t sound all that bad, until the player dies after only making it a few rooms into the castle. Death doesn’t mean the end of a game though in Rogue Legacy. When the player dies, they are allowed to start the game again with a descendant of the previous character. Players can choose between one of three characters to become the heir of the hero and each of the heirs are randomly generated. All of the money that was made by the previous character can be used to upgrade the hero’s mansion, which in turn gives their descendants higher stats and more options.
The manor has a lot of upgrades available to it. Some of these upgrades will unlock new classes, such as the Shinobi, Lich and Miner. There are 10 classes total to unlock and eight of these classes can be upgraded into a better class; for example, an upgraded Miner becomes a Spelunker and an upgraded Lich becomes a Lich King. Unlocking new classes also unlocks new character stats that can be upgraded, like health, critical damage and armor.

Each of the hero’s descendants also have special traits. Some characters will be colorblind, others will be bald and there are even some that have dwarfism. All of these different traits can make for interesting changes to the game. I once played as a hero that had vertigo. This changed the whole game by turning it upside down. Needless to say, I avoided having an heir with vertigo if at all possible. The traits were an interesting feature that added a bit of strategy to choosing an heir.

Another feature that helps out the player is the shops outside of the castle. The first one that players will unlock is the Smith. The Smith allows players to buy new armor. There is quite a bit of armor in the game, but players have to find blueprints for them in the castle. There is also an Enchantress that can apply magical effects to players’ armor. These effects need only be bought once, but like the armor, must first be found inside the castle.

As mentioned above, Rogue Legacy is a rouge-like game. This means that the castle the player explores changes with every new hero. There is an option to lock down a certain castle design, but this takes 40% of the gold that the player makes in that run. While every castle is different from the last, there are a few things that stay the same. The first of these is that the castle will keep the same basic layout: the tower is at the top of the castle, the forest to the right and the dungeon at the bottom.

Each section of the castle contains a boss. These bosses are very challenging and are a combination of platforming mayhem and bullet hell. After the player has defeated each of these bosses, they will move on to fight the final boss of the castle. Fortunately, each of these bosses can be defeated by any hero and will stay dead for that hero’s descendants. This saves players the frustration of defeating all of the bosses with a single character, which is near impossible.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Rogue Legacy this week, and despite that I haven’t found myself getting bored with it. I feared that this would be the case with the game basically being about grinding for enough gold to make stronger heroes, but it wasn’t. Instead, I found that I enjoyed the challenge of surpassing my last hero. Still, I could see how the repetitive nature of the game could be a drain on some players.

Graphics in Rogue Legacy are simple. The areas don’t have a lot of detail and the heroes all look basically the same. The lack of detail noted, I didn’t find it to be a major point. After exploring the same shifting castle for so long, one stops paying attention to the background and continues to focus on earning gold and killing monsters. I also really enjoyed that all of the heroes’ running animation featured them holding their swords at an angle in front of them toward the sky. It was such a goofy little image that made me laugh harder than I should have when I first saw it.

I found the audio in the game to be very enjoyable. The tunes were really catchy and I found myself humming them throughout my work day. There is also a large amount of music in the game. Each area has its own music and boss fights have their own music. Players can also find jukeboxes in the castle that can change the music of the area. This was a neat addition that kept the music feeling fresh after hours of dungeon crawling.

The sound effects in the game are also great. Clinking armor and swinging swords sound are a nice touch to what could’ve been a bland experience.

At the end of the day, I can’t say enough good things about Rogue Legacy. The infinitely generated castle results in a lot of replay time. The extra classes add a lot of variety to the game, as does the different traits that the hero’s descendants can have. The game also features several catchy tunes to keep players entertained during their endless romps through the castle.

Rogue Legacy hacks its way to 4.5 GiN Gems out of 5!

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