Rogue Legacy and Gaming on a Budget

High on graphics, but low on funds? This is Gaming on a Budget, an #indie #game review. This week, I’m talking about “Rogue Legacy,” a platformer by Cellar Door Games. “Rogue Legacy” is available on Windows, Mac and Linux. Inspired by the niche genre of “roguelikes,” “Rogue Legacy” embodies all the strengths of its predecessors, especially in its simplistic, unmerciful and ultimately addicting gameplay, but brings it to a new audience in a new way.
After a brief tutorial sequence, the game tosses you into a large, explorable castle. The goal is simple: beat the four bosses and multiple environs scattered throughout the massive estate in order to open the large golden door at the entrance of the castle, before battling the final boss within. Throughout the castle are breakable objects, dangerous traps and aggressive enemies. As you journey throughout, you collect gold and treasure, until you inevitably fall to the dangers of the dungeon. That’s when “Rogue Legacy” reveals the feature that separates it from its competitors.

Rather than respawn your character, you must choose an heir from three options, with a random class, gender and selection of traits. While gender is little more than aesthetic, each class requires different play styles, and each trait can change the game experience by draining color, reversing directions, or depriving you of much needed information. Your heir inherits the gold you just collected, and has a chance to buy skills, power-ups and items before he must offer the remainder of his gold to re-enter the castle and continue his quest. However, you’ll notice some changes, such as the castle being completely randomized, spawning new rooms, enemies, treasures and challenges each time.

From there, the game continues on the simple formula: enter the castle, gather gold, choose an heir, buy more skills and equipment to strengthen that character, and enter the dungeon again. Each time you enter, your characters become stronger and will get further than the last; you find more powerful items, more gold, and more difficult enemies and traps. “Rogue Legacy’s” strength lies in its simplicity, making it easy to just play a quick life here or there and get further, but it also keeps you coming back for more as you learn more tricks or earn more skills. Despite the random nature of the dungeon, the game does suffer somewhat from its repetitive gameplay, but the wide array of enemies and challenges tend to make sure you stay hooked.

Overall, “Rogue Legacy” is a challenging, but extremely fun experience. It can be bought on Steam for only $15, or from the game’s website, Rogue Legacy.com. Nervous about spending that money? The website also offers a free short demo that gives a good sample of the gameplay.

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