Monday, 15 July 2013

Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy is a platformer with a fun twist, and that twist is getting killed a lot of times.

Death in Rogue Legacy is permanent in a sense but for a game with permanent death, death has surprisingly little impact on your progression.  Each time you die you immediately begin a new hero, one of the descendants of the previous hero.  You get to spend the gold you earned in the castle on upgrades which carry over from generation to generation, so your heroes are constantly getting stronger and you are making progress, but each time the castle is randomly generated again and you start from the beginning.

The story of the game is a simple veneer to put over the gameplay.  If there was no story and the game was simply about generations of adventurers going to die in the same inescapable castle I don't think the game would suffer.  That being said, I like the story, and the game actually does a good job of interrupting your flow of video game logic with the horror of what this would be like from an in-game perspective.

To make things more interesting your descendants have all kinds of problems.  These range from the relatively benign dyslexia - which scrambles the letters in words in in-game messages - to the nearly unplayable vertigo - which turns the screen upside down.  There are advantages too, like Peripheral Arterial Disease which makes it so you don't set off spike traps due to your lack of foot pulse.

The game feels extremely unforgiving at first, but just like any platformer things get a lot easier once you get a feel for the controls and an understanding of enemy patterns.  I personally found the difficulty just about right, with the bosses and mini-bosses feeling tough but fair.  One of the nice things is that the difficulty is self-correcting in a way.  If you are finding it hard you'll die and spend your gold on more damage and hit points to make it easier next time.  It's an RPG where you only go up levels when you need to - that is, after you have died and shown your current level isn't high enough.

The controls are very responsive.  I have not once felt like the little hero on the screen didn't do just what I told them to - even though I've given some pretty poor instructions on occasion.  The art style is adorable and endearing.  I love to see my little knight high-stepping his or her way towards doom.

I have two complaints about this game.  One is that the New Game +2 ramped up way too much over New Game +.  After easily breezing through the second playthrough I was stopped cold by the third one and pretty much had to delete my save so I could start again and buy more skills before winning the second time.

The second complaint is that it is too small and too short with not enough things in it.  That is not to say it is small or short or that it doesn't have a lot of things in it.  Really what I'm saying is that I hope Cellar Door Games is already working on expansions or even on Rogue Legacy 2, which I would buy in a heartbeat.

This game is outright super-awesome.  It easily deserves my highest rating.

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