If I say the words Rogue Legacy and you’re not nodding enthusiastically in agreement, I’m 99% sure you haven’t played it yet. Or you’re some kind of gaming genius who finished the game with the very first hero. (And in that case you’re not a human being and I’m terrified of you.)
This game is incredibly fun. But mostly frustrating at first, and awful if you hate losing, but so worth the pay off if you stick with it for a few generations.
The goal of the game is quite simple: run through this castle, collect all the gold from enemies, furniture and chests, and try not to die so you can defeat the bosses. The execution requires a ton of practice, patience and smart thinking though. When you die you don’t simply respawn, you’re dead forever and that’s it. But fear not! You were very smart and decided to reproduce shortly before you went into this blasted castle (or one of your siblings who lived did, who knows!). Upon your death, up to three descendants of yours will have grown to maturity and acquired their own special skills, traits and abilities to follow in your footsteps. You get to choose to play as one of them.
I truly commend the developers for the humor here! If a character has vertigo, you play the game upside down. And I mean upside down in the literal sense. When one has I.B.S. the character randomly farts when you jump, and characters with coprolalia ‘swear’ when they get hit by enemies (little text balloons with @*$#! in them, it’s adorable!). I’m not sure if certain traits have any effect, such as on Sir Jacob here. “The One” and “Gay” traits appear to do nothing at all other than being amusing, but I might look into it and see if I missed something.
Before you go into the castle, the gold your ancestor obtained before they died is passed on to you, allowing you to purchase upgrades for your manor, buy equipment and runes to make you stronger. You find blueprints in the castle to allow the blacksmith to make you new equipment, and you find runes that the enchantress uses to give you new abilities and effects. As you try to enter, a character named Charon, who resembles Death himself, steals your lunch money before you can proceed, so it’s always a good idea to spend all of it on upgrades before you go on.
Once in, dying is only a matter of time. On my first couple of runs I didn’t even last a minute. Not a minute! It’s super hard and the controls take some time getting used to, especially if you’re used to different setups in other games. The upside is that the cycle repeats itself endlessly so you get to buy upgrades, pick a new hero and try again. Each run is different, as every room is randomly generated, but if you run through a castle you particularly like you can unlock the Architect in your manor and he can lock the castle down for your next run. He takes 40% of all your gold though, which can significantly reduce your progress to almost nothing.
There are special chests called Fairy Chests that require a special conditions to be met in order to unlock them, such as taking no damage, or not fighting the enemies, or killing every (sometimes unreachable) enemies. Locking down the castle when you run into one such chest can be worthwhile, as certain traits are necessary to get to many of them. That’s when you pick a hero who fits and try again.
While easily frustrated people may find little enjoyment in a game that is designed to kill you for a hundred generations straight, it pays off in the long run if you stick with it. You grow stronger and start killing enemies in single blows, which means you’re ready for the next areas of the castle with stronger enemies. But they all also grow stronger the more you go on. It remains challenging, and I highly doubt anyone will ever breeze though. But for all of the challenges it has, it’s not unplayable, and it’s easy to get hooked to it.