During the winter sale on Steam, I decided to pick up Rogue Legacy which I had my eye on for quite some time. Even though I had my eye on it, i wasn’t entirely sure what I would think of it. The game was largely billed as an homage to Rogue and Castlevania. Well I can deal with Rogue, but it’s easy to do wrong. And I’m not the biggest Castlevania fan in the world. I also haven’t been as big into platformers as my youthful self would have liked. So I was a bit dubious of this game.
After a month of play, I must say that I not only love the game, it has completely sucked me in. I will say that its stay got lengthened by me going to a new hard drive and losing my progress. But it still interests me. Part of the reason is that its progression seems non-ending and the difficulty isn’t really low.
The game is a level based game. You start out at level 1, you go through the castle and collect money, then once you die, you go and buy skills. Each skill raises your level by 1. There are a ton of skills to choose from, and most skills let you level them up which also increase your level. I say skills broadly, but some of the skills also unlock new classes for you to play and advance current classes that you already have.
When you die, you get a choice of your successor, and that is when the class comes in. You get a selection of 3 (which you can reroll later if you take the right skill) randomly generated successors to your previous character. The name of the character, the class, deformities and enhancements are all randomly generated. One generation of character you might have an uber powerful guy, the next time you might have an uber gimp guy and this adds a lot of variety to the game. You never know what you are going to get even from your character.
Once you have your skills bought, you go into the castle. The castle is also randomly generated and you have to pay a toll to death in order to enter. This toll is anywhere from 100% of your coin to 50% of your coin depending on your skills. Once you enter, there are 4 main areas, each with its own boss. You kill all 4 bosses and you unlock the end boss sequence. Each area has its own difficulty from easy to hard, and in fact the hard can be so difficult at times that even when I can fight the first end boss, I still have a hard time in the hardest area. The castle contains various traps, and events and the game itself feels a bit like Duck Tales crossed with Ghouls & Goblins. There are a lot of platforms to jump on to get through the castle and the Scrooge pogo stick thing is in full force (this seems to be increasingly popular these days).
There are also skills that unlock a couple of “vendors” in the game. A blacksmith, a magic shop, and an architect. The architect allows you to go into the same dungeon so that it doesn’t regnerate, however you only get a fraction of the gold from it. I don’t use this function often, but is nice if you run through it with a spelunker (who gets a bonus to gold and can see where treasure is) and then follow through with a tougher fighter to kill the bosses afterwards. The blacksmith allows you to find recipes in the castle which unlock better weapons and armor. The magic shop allows you to put enchantments on the armor. You can put one enchantment on each equipped item and these enchantments have handy bonuses to them like gaining health with each kill or more gold on each kill or double jumping. It is a good compliment to your already growing skills, however they don’t level up with you quite as well as normal skills do.
Overall the gameplay is really fun. I find myself getting drawn into the game to unlock just one more level of a skill or to try to beat a boss that has been dogging me. It accomplishes this trick really well and almost gets to the level of Civilization which might be the biggest culprit to this trick. I definitely would recommend at least trying the game out. You can generally find it on sale at various times of the year. The cheapest I have found it has been around the $5 mark which is definitely worth it for this gem!