Game: Rogue Legacy
Platform: Microsoft Windows, Linux, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Xbox One
Rating: E for Everyone 10+
Rogue Legacy has recently updated this game. Now it’s about time to give some credit to the progenitor of the numerous retro throwback pixelated rogue-lite games. This is a silly and entertaining game that seamlessly blends platforming and role-playing elements with procedural generation.
The story is not a very important aspect of this game. The main goal of this game is to explore a dungeon and defeat the final boss. The main problem is that every time you die, the player has to choose one of their descendants to continue the journey that has been left behind. The dungeons are procedurally generated forcing placers to adjust to completely new layouts and enemy placements. Throughout these dungeons are various diary entries that explain the backstory if you wish to delve into the lore. With these being optional, the simplistic story can be understood whether or not these are found.
The descendants and their traits are what gives this game most of its charm. They start with three basic classes: the mage, knight, and shinobi. Over time, the player can upgrade these groups and unlock different varieties that have their own upgrades. Along with their class, the descendants typically have one or two distinctive traits. These traits vary heavily from having dyslexia (jumbling the text in game) to vertigo (which causes you to play the entire game upside-down). A good amount of these are meant to be comedic and don’t have much in-game effects, but some actually substantially add to the game like gigantism (which makes it easier for you to be a target while simultaneously making it easier to aim at enemies and dwarfism does the reverse.
The game is packed to the brim with humor. Most of the trait effects are delivered with subtle jabs at the player and some contain meta jokes about games as a whole. The numerous characters found throughout the dungeons also have humorous dialogue to keep the player laughing. The game’s charm can also be seen through its retro aesthetics. The enemies are in-tentionally simple and easy to engage. The main issues arise when multiple enemies are placed in precarious positions to ensure you continually adapt and don’t stagnate while playing through the dungeons.
The main gameplay is a side-scrolling platformer that cleverly implements role-playing elements. Each class has a unique skill to fend off enemies that can vary from throwing an axe to stopping time. Using these skills depletes your mana points (MP) gauge, which can be refilled with items found throughout the dungeons alongside items to replenish health points (HP) as well. Gold is scattered throughout these dungeons and can be used to buy permanent upgrades for individuals or for broader improvements that apply to everyone. Gear can also be purchased to enhance your character’s defense, double jumps, life drain effects, etc.
Unfortunately, some of the traits seem to wear out their welcome towards the end of the game because of their outlandish effects being detrimental to playing seriously. The game’s difficulty can also fluctuate depending on what type of dungeon the player ends up in. The variety of enemies starts to wane towards the middle of the game. Some of the enemies are simple replicas of previous enemies.
Though there are a few issues with the game’s framework, Rogue Legacy is still a passionately made and entertaining game that continually changes and asks that the player change along with it. The game’s charm shines through in just about every aspect of playing this game. Most of the issues seem to fade away while you’re having a blast playing as a gigantic, ironclad, vampiric dragon for the third time.