With Cellar Door Games’ highly anticipated sequel to Rogue Legacy just days from launch, we dove in and sampled everything Rogue Legacy 2 has to offer in its first stage of Early Access.
Rogue Legacy 2 is a genealogical rogue-lite game that blends the most exciting aspects of the rogue-like genre with a unique character system that sees various traits, perks, and penalties, passed down through generation after generation.
And you will have a lot of generations. Although a character dies, their memories are not lost. Those that follow in their footsteps will have ample opportunity to form their own legacy in this deadly bloodline – or maybe they’ll die in the first room and achieve nothing but being remembered for being a complete and utter failure. I would estimate that 80% of my ancestors achieved that feat.
The staple aspects of the rogue-like genre are splattered throughout the game, much like the remains of my forefathers. Each run is through the same biomes but with randomized layouts, different rooms and enemies, and different rewards and challenges. Each time you fail a run and your character perishes, you bring certain gold and abilities with you into the next run, before choosing from three new characters.
Heroes, But Not As We Know Them
The character generation of Rogue Legacy 2 is one of its most standout aspects. No hero is created equal, and it has a drastic impact on your chances of success. Several classes offer different weapons, styles and skills to use in combat and each character can have a number of traits. These are not your traditionally heroic traits.
IBS has you releasing toxic farts whenever you jump, Clumsy makes you break everything you walk into, Optical Migraines make everything blurry; the traits are a challenge entirely separate to the challenges in each run. It has the power to make the run nearly impossible or massively profitable. It’s a risk vs. reward situation; do you take the basic Knight, without traits and pure? Or do you risk gold multipliers for Vertigo (playing the entire game upside down)? Each decision is tough, sometimes rewarding, but more often than not – deadly.
The backbone of any decent rogue-like game is the rewards that persist through the adventure. When you die, you retain your gold and you can spend that gold in a variety of ways. You can upgrade the castle to unlock more classes, increase your starting health, or unlock additional services like a Blacksmith and Enchantress – both able to create armor and fashion powerful runes.
Rogue Legacy 2’s challenging content promises plenty of trial and error but that trial is always rewarding as you always return with something a little extra. It can be as minor as additional armor, or as huge as unlocking a brand new Heirloom item – granting a powerful ability for completing a difficult challenge in your last run. There’s a MetroidVania-style approach to some of the puzzle content within each run, further compounding the rewarding nature of a successful adventure through the early biomes.
Early Access is Early Access
Rogue Legacy 2’s rogue-lite is also a little light on content. It currently features the first biome and a third biome. The second biome is currently a work in progress. It may be possible to proceed through the third biome, but my efforts to explore a brave new front often ended abruptly, several seconds after reaching the first room.
If the first biome is any indication on future content, there’s a lot to be excited about. Small but challenging puzzles, a very difficult boss fight, plenty of persistent rewards to unlock, you can easily sink a few days into the current Early Access build and have a lot of fun.
Whether Rogue Legacy 2 reaches the heights of its predecessor has yet to be seen, but those looking for an early peek at a rogue-like with a ton of potential can’t go wrong with Rogue Legacy 2.