I’ve never played the original Rogue game that the term “roguelike” stemmed from, but the general idea is that roguelike means hard as balls, man. Since I have such a weak grasp of the term, I couldn’t tell you if Rogue Legacy is roguelike or not, but it is, as I so elegantly put it, hard as balls, man. I don’t mean difficulty alone, either. This slash-em-up reaction time platformer is draining to play for extended periods, and despite it’s cute little quirks, it’s dead set on inciting as many irked sighs and eye rolls from you as possible. So, let’s talk.
Rogue Legacy is about an old hero who went through an enchanted (cursed) castle and became a corrupted king. Now, your family must destroy this king and bring peace to the kingdom. Simple? Hell to the no. Your family is a ragtag band of inbred miscreants that call themselves knights, and you’ll go through them so fast you won’t even get to choose favorites. You throw bodies at the castle until you clear four bosses and the final boss, got it? Good.
I’m not messing around about the inbred thing. Just so it doesn’t seem like I’m being a biological elitist, having a disease doesn’t make you a freak. But when you have a family that consistently has baldness, no foot pulse, irritable bowel syndrome, tunnel vision, vertigo, Alzheimer’s, giantism, dwarfism, inability to feel pain, and many other genetic defects, you start to wonder what the hell’s going on. Oh, you don’t get it? These are the quirks. Each descendant of your line randomly acquires some nifty diseases. Every time you die, you get to choose between three of ‘em. If the game wasn’t such a pain in the ass, they could raise a grin or two. But… yeah.
Death. If you die, the castle jumbles up and resets (bosses stay dead). If you want to keep the castle the same, your income is reduced to 30%. If you want back into the castle, you have to pay Charon all of your gold. Like saving up? Too bad, this game doesn’t want you to without spending stupid amounts of money in order to let Charon leave you with even 5%. Thankfully, you like having to grind up increasingly large sums in order to purchase miniscule perks, right?
Now that’s all well and good, but what is money for? Why, upgrades and equipment, of course. Lots and lots! Of upgrades. If you buy an upgrade, all other upgrades cost 10 gold more, or something around there. What I’m saying is, buy upgrades until you can’t afford to, and then focus on equipment. Or focus on equipment then buy upgrades. Just be aware that this game is trying to trick you into thinking that it’s not wasting your time with laborious grinding, yeah? They’re permanent, so you can be a little happy if you like.
Fairy chests. These contain runes. Runes can be applied to equipment to give you nifty abilities, like dashing, extra jumps, awful lifesteal, and short-term flight. You have to buy runes after unlocking them, by the way. Ha ha, fuck you. So, fairy chests. These guys are set in rooms with random unlock requirements. Sometimes you have to reach them as quickly as possible. Sometimes you have to kill all enemies in the room. Take no damage is by far the worst, as the obstacle courses would try jaded platformer enthusiasts. I guarantee that you’ll find the fairy chests annoying, because they often make themselves accessible via the use of one specific feature, i.e. only flight will get you through unharmed, only a no-knockback trait will get you to the chest in time, only a vertical spell will let you hit an awkwardly placed foe… Ugh. Rolling my eyes even thinking about it.
Long story short, the diseases and the higher level of difficulty are the only things that truly set this game apart from other platformers. Maybe you’re looking for a challenge, though? If so, please do believe me when I say the game is designed to draw itself out. If you’re looking for content quality beyond difficulty… maybe you’ll get a cheap laugh when your IBS afflicted character farts when they jump? Ah ha… ha?
Advice? Get to the Miner class as quickly as possible and play them as often as possible. Get loaded. Get lifesteal. Get Lich. Play Lich, win, bing, bang, boom!
Hell if this isn’t a contrast. Mitchell Saltzman of GameFront tossed a 90/100 Rogue Legacy’s way. Perhaps I’ve delved into a much-loved genre where difficulty means more than creativity? Alright, well, if you think you’ll like the game and disagree with many of the opinions that I’ve sprayed all over the face of this indie platformer, then you deserve a much more positive review. Viola! Your new muse: http://www.gamefront.com/rogue-legacy-review/
(Addendum: Surrogate “easily frustrated” with “easily bored by repetition” and you’ll better understand my perspective.)