I love a run-based game. A roguelite (controversial topic calling things roguelikes!) is something that’s become very much a part of my wheelhouse over the past couple of years, largely thanks to Hades. So when I’ve heard and seen the buzz around Rogue Legacy 2, I’ve been itching to give it a go!
Released at the end of April 2022, Rogue Legacy 2 is the successor to the very popular 2013 release of Rogue Legacy. I didn’t know much about it to be honest, just that it was a roguelite game and that everywhere I turned it was getting positive feedback.
Knowing full-well I won’t commit to finishing it (see also: Hades, FTL, Into the Breach and a dozen other games I love…), I waited a little while for a sale, and the Epic Game Store came through! So here I am, I’ve sunk a few hours into it and honestly, it’s been a joy.
The key to a roguelite is generally the randomly-generated maps, permanent death and loss of gear/buffs, and all progress lost when you die.
Rogue Legacy 2 does this in spades, and then it ups everything to 11. Even your character is a random generation of stats and abilities. With different classes like a chef, a barbarian, a ranger, a mage and plenty more, you have ample approaches to a run. Mastering a class and getting familiar with their movement and main attack is crucial.
But you can only pick from 1 of 3 randomly selected characters when your run ends. You might not get that one class you really love. Rogue Legacy 2 is always forcing you to adjust and adapt.
Classes aside, you have abilities. Guess what? These are randomly selected, too! I’ve had a ranger that has little-to-no health and no weapon because she was a pacifist. But……that also came with a bonus of +350% gold on the run. It meant dodging and honestly, not lasting very long at all. But I earned a small fortune from a few rooms.
The dungeon is randomly generated, as you would expect. No single run is ever the same (unless you unlock the architect….), so you can’t map-out your plan of attack. Rogue Legacy 2 is definitely a roguelite.
Classes and abilities aside, your character can also have family traits (I love that each hero is a direct descendant of the last), the traits can be dwarfism, giantism, colourblindness and a whole host of things. Once again, you’re impacted by randomness before you even start your run!
Rogue Legacy 2 is total chaos, and it’s all the better for it. This is probably the most randomised roguelite I’ve played, and I love it. I don’t get stuck trying to work on a specific build of focus on a specific class. You just roll with it, learn and improve.
If you like this style of game, Rogue Legacy 2 is all of it but a little more amped-up on the randomness.
Looks and feels
I feel like a roguelite can live and die on how well it controls, and often how good it looks. A game as quirky as Rogue Legacy 2 can’t get by on randomness alone, and thankfully it’s snappy controls and lovely 2.5d art style just add a level of depth that only a great developer can pull off.
Cellar Door Games clearly know their stuff and Rogue Legacy 2 feels like it’s been crafted with devotion.
Any time I’ve been let down by controls and movement, it has been my fault. Not reacting quick enough, or not having the right heirlooms (permanent items you unlock on play-throughs). It handles great, and the changes between the classes, traits and abilites all feel significantly different as you play.
Tie the controls in with the art style that’s bright, colourful and offers layers and depth to see what’s going on at all times, and you’re onto a winner.
Rogue Legacy 2 is a well-crafted game and even if I never finish it, it’s easy to enjoy. Both on how well it controls and how good it looks. Incredible work here.
A core feature of a roguelite, is of course earning permanent upgrades to help you improve slowly, over time. Increased health and damage output. Perhaps bigger mana pools. Even a bad run can turn out to be beneficial, because you bring back coins which you can use to buy upgrades and unlock new classes.
Rogue Legacy 2 adds some flair even to this element. Every time you pick a new part of the skill tree, it adds to your manor and builds out a new tower, additional people at the docks, higher towers etc. This is really cool and ties-in with the “legacy” element of the game. Each time you have a run, you are a descendant of the original hero you played, the castle is your family home and it’s being built over generations.
Combined with special areas in maps that give you the opportunity to unlock “heirlooms” (I can air-dash now!), you might die easily or not get many kills, but you could get a permanent ability, so who cares?
I love the systems at play here, and I’m particularly keen on the legacy element of the game. It’s just a nice touch and makes you feel perhaps slightly more attached to this family of heroes trying to achieve something (I have no idea what’s going on….)
All in all
This is just a quick look, and I highly doubt I’ll ever finish Rogue Legacy 2. I can’t lie.
But…. I’ll be playing it for a good chunk of hours. And I know for a fact that it will stay installed on my PC for probably years to come. Just dipping in for a couple of runs here and there really appeals to me with these games. And with the randomness at play here, I know I’m never having the same run twice.
If you enjoy a roguelite, you’ll be right at home here. Although the additional layers of random generation might be off-putting to those who like to work on a specific play-style or character build.
Trust me, you won’t regret giving it a go. Good clean fun, challenging, lovely to look at and it feels great to play. Absolutely highly recommended here at ninjarefinery.com