Rogue Legacy Review (PC)

very good
key review info
  • Game: Rogue Legacy
  • Platform: PC
  • Gamepad support: Yes  
  • Reviewed on:
  • Written by:
  • Show system requirements
Legacy look

Roguelike is one of the genres that indie development studios love to use, mainly because it focuses on randomly generated areas, punishing difficulty and interesting gameplay mechanics.

Rogue Legacy is a roguelike because randomness is all around the player, built into the structure of the experience, but at the same time, it is an action role-playing game that has a clear path, which challenges players to finish it using its unique mechanics.

The development team at Cellar Door Games manages to mix the best of both worlds and the result is an experience that often feels challenging while hardly ever devolving into frustration.

The big twist in Rogue Legacy is that everything but the main character is persistent, which means that the player always progresses through the game despite the fact that death might be a very frequent occurrence.

Basically, this is a game where the children are compelled to follow the destiny of their forbearers (male or female) by assaulting the same cursed castle that took their lives, a place that has the ability to shapeshift and present new challenges for each generation.

Rogue Legacy is played in 2D and uses classic mechanics, with the player asked to jump, parry and attack in order to deal with a diverse menagerie of monsters, ranging from evil eyes and cursed knights to paintings that develop sentience and attack on sight.
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Choosing an heir
Battle time
Defeated enemies and some world objects (smash everything that’s not nailed down) offer money, which might seem a little useless as yet another character dies because he is hit by fireballs from dying warlocks.

But once an heir is selected, the player can build up the manor, opening up a series of upgrades and gaining access to new abilities, like an architect who can lock down an area of the castle or a blacksmith who can deliver more powerful items.

All the money of the inheritance must be spent, otherwise Charon will take it before the gamer can venture into the castle again.

The cycle is then repeated and more enemies are uncovered, more crafting options become available and more small narrative elements are revealed.



Rogue Legacy offers a lot of variety when it comes to the heirs that players can choose from and their various characteristics can change the very core of the gameplay.

There are a lot of traits that the various characters can have, some of them offering an advantage in the castle exploration, like peripheral arterial disease, while others make it harder to fight enemies, for example having two left hands.

The combat can be a little awkward at first, especially if using a keyboard, but as the game progressed, I was able to pull some impressive moves, clearing out whole areas filled with wizards, traps and cannons with one character.

There is one disease that actually makes players question the reality of the whole experience, which can be seen as a clever commentary on the very nature of video games.

My biggest problems were the bosses, which seemed gimmicky and often required the player to lock down the castle in order to have a chance at taking them out.
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End of the line
Upgrade mechanic
The traits can also feel like limitations at times and I actually looked to kill some of my characters in order to get access to a better progeny.

The graphics of Rogue Legacy are decidedly retro and might be unsuited to the tastes of some modern gamers but all long-term role-playing fans should adjust quickly to the clean enemy design and interesting castle layout.

The music that accompanies the heroes is surprisingly well suited to slaying monsters across generations, although it can induce a positive outlook that’s soon shattered by constant death at the hands of some troublesome monster.

Rogue Legacy can be an addictive game, with FTL a distant cousin in terms of overall experience, and although I have seen about 90 characters die before my eyes, I still have more castle secrets to uncover.

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story 9
gameplay 8
concept 10
graphics 6
audio 7
multiplayer 0
final rating 8
Editor's review
very good
 

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