So this past weekend I spent five minutes with Rogue Legacy, a rogue-lite game as they called it, after picking it up on the Steam holiday sale. What is a rogue-lite game you ask? Well first you have to understand what Rogue is, a dungeon crawl first developed in the 1980's it features randomly generated dungeons and permadeath. It's had a cult following of diehards for decades now and been recreated time and time again. At this point there is an entire genre labeled Rougelike. Games in this genre are easy to play but difficult to master and often lead to you trashing you keyboard. Rogue Legacy is a lite version of this genre and after five minutes I understood why.
One of my favorite features of the game is these character cards. Below is one of my character cards showing off stats and equipment that the character had earned prior to death. This isn't my first death, I think this is based off my 20th death. I'll be honest my first death almost made me close the game, I felt cheated. Got bumped off a platform into some spikes, and that was the end of Lady Priscila the First. I stepped away from my keyboard to grab a drink.
Minute two introduced me to the Heir System, the component that makes this a rogue-lite. With every death heirs step up to take the place of your prior character. Your money is passed down to them and all equipment you have earned as well. "Oh, that's not so bad.", I commented as I selected my heir. This second character had traits the traits of heavy and dwarf, so she couldn't be knocked back and she was extremely short. It also informed me that she liked the ladies, that made me chuckle. I proceeded onward with my journey ignoring the next screen and ready to get back into combat to prove myself. All my rogue-link game experience in the past has primarily been top-down cameras exploring dungeons, so this platform sidescrolling was a refreshing change up. After two minutes of deft platform jumping and slick sword play I was ended with a fireball to the face.
Loading up in minute 4 I selected my next heir, who apparently liked to reminisce leaving everything in an old-timey film feel as I played. I didn't skip the screen after selecting my heir, since Charon blocked my way into the castle and took all my money I knew there must be a place to spend it. This screen is the manor of your family and the place you can upgrade your characters, unlock new classes, and gather merchants. Now I could plunk down my hard earned gold instead of being robbed by that bastard in the black cloak. Seriously I thought Charon ferried the dead not trolled the living. The screen below is an example after a little bit of gameplay, my first five minutes gave me enough to get a blacksmith and a sword upgrade.
Closing in on the last minute of my preview I was sad, I was just getting the feel of the platform style antics and heir system. The game plays very much like a standard Metroidvania game, another new genre in the game space, with platforms, puzzles, upgrade mechanics, and equipment galore. While it's sad to see your character pass on into the great beyond, I find it exciting that a new character inheriting traits from the last awaits me. With the upgrade system, all the unlocks, and random maps I'll be playing this for some time. By the time you've read this I'll be on hour two of my game play, that's how much I'm enjoying it.
Five minutes in I recommend this for Metroidvania fans who don't mind letting their character die to progress their unlocks now and then. It's unforgiving in combat, but it makes up for that in the heir and manor mechanics.