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Rogue Legacy


Rogue Legacy

ESRB: Everyone - E
Platform: PC Games
Category: Platformer, RPG

Give me a minute, I'm still playing... Oooh, lack of pain? Sounds useful! With that, I might have... Wait, how much health do I...? Oh, verrrrrry funny, game, you and your “no visible health bar for taking this”. Verrry funny... Oh well, back to the review. Rogue Legacy is a castlevania style game with some fun twists, and, as I've just implied, some outright dickery. Let's talk about why it's still worth the price now.


Graphically, it's very 16 bit, with simple sprites, obvious pixel-shapes, and simple colours. But don't let yourself be fooled, this is a modern game. Just take a hero with the Near or Far Sighted “qualities”, and see for yourself. It's all a trick to make it look retro. And y'know what? I actually like it that way. The monster designs are pretty much based on every castlevania style game ever, with skeletons, zombies, floating mage-ghosts, and giant, almost invincible spiky balls of death.


The soundtrack is area based, but can also be played in its entirety if you find a jukebox room in the castle, and, for what's basically midi tunes, it's not bad at all, fitting the theme of the game. I particularly like the boss themes like “Pistol Shrimp”, which is fairly fast paced and gets the blood up. The sound effects are... well, there, so that also fits, but apart from the music, there's not a lot to wow over. Still, as mentioned, the music is nice.


Rogue Legacy is a game all about getting harder, faster, stronger, better, by virtue of getting cash in dungeons, dying horribly, and somehow leaving it to your descendants, who then go into the same evil castle you did, die horribly (hopefully lasting longer than you did), and also somehow get money out of the evil castle to your descendants, who... so on, so forth. It's a game where, for your first five or so characters, you can expect to die horribly in the first few rooms, but by the time you've hit your 20th or so descendant (as I have at the time of writing), you can expect to take on bosses and survive. Maybe not survive the next boss, but still, you can beat one, and that means that, with a few more runs through, you might be able to tackle the next one. Control wise, it's a little odd, with the arrow keys for movement, space or s for jump, d or enter for attack, w for spells, a for special abilities, q and e for dashing, and... let's just say the controls aren't necessarily the strongest point of the game on PC. It's still perfectly playable though, and strangely enjoyable for what it is... grind grind grind. Why is it enjoyable? Because of the variety.

You see, as I mentioned before, you don't play one character, you play an entire family of them, one after the other, and you upgrade with your last player's money. You have to give what's left to Charon the Gatekeeper before you enter, but there's even an upgrade to partly get around that, too. So far, I've unlocked several classes and their special abilities (the first you'd get is the Paladin, and later, the use of his Shield, which blocks attacks at the cost of... well, you not moving), but even the unlocks of class aren't all the variety you have here. There's extra kit, there's stat increases, there's Runes, which add even more abilities, and then... there's the basic “qualities” of each descendant. They vary in usefulness, from things like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (like fart noises? Take this!), to the genuinely useful P.A.D (No pulse in your feet, so you don't set off spikes), to the weird stuff, like Vertigo (the screen is diagonally flipped) or Insanity (Sometimes, enemies that don't exist appear, but while you can't hurt them... they can hurt you!). This will help you get through the four areas (and five bosses) of the game much more easily.

Now, a lot of this can be earned just by getting money from your deadly adventures, but some of it has to be found in the castle. For example, most runes can either be found in secret areas, while others can only be found in Fairy Chests, which usually require a challenge to unlock (such as getting to the chest without taking damage, or in a certain amount of time, or by getting there without looking at the chest until you've touched it). Blueprints for kit can also be found in chests, and the variety continues to extend to the enemies as well. Later in the castle, you'll find plants that fire multiple seed pods, deadly paintings which spit poison gas, small ninja demons, and, of course, larger and nastier versions of the enemies you've faced before (trust me, I haven't found a palette swap yet who wasn't bigger, literally, than his little brothers)

Before I give my verdict on this game, I'd best mention one thing that I think isn't quite as balanced as it should be: The fact that the upgrades become more expensive as you buy more upgrades. Now, this would generally make sense (the more you're upgraded, the harder you are, right?), but this extra cost applies to all class and stat upgrades, and if you're not levelling just right, you're going to run into serious upgrade problems later on. Despite this, it's a good game overall, and for the price ($15), it's got some serious play-time to it. Don't bother if you don't like Spelunky style “grinding through the same areas” though.


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