The Metroid-Vania style of game design is one that spotlights not only dynamic platforming at its finest, but also exploration of unique and diverse environments. Some of the very best titles have taken the genre in many different directions and added their own unique touch of style into the mix. Cellar Door Games has created a game that takes some of the very best elements of the genre in the form of Rogue Legacy. In this game, your venture will last you a long linage of heroes exploring a randomly generated castle, with many challenges and treasures to be found.
Let’s get one thing out of the way right now, Rogue Legacy is, simply put, addictive. VERY ADDICTIVE. The game is so addictive to the point that you will not want to stop playing and may find yourself having sleepless nights from saying to yourself “just one more time.” This is due in part to Rogue Legacy’s ever-changing level of challenge and randomly generated stages. Not only does the layout of levels change each time you dive into the castle to explore, but the enemies and their stats and placement change as well. Outside of getting an ability to lock the levels at a price later in the game, you will never really get the same layout twice each and every time you play.
But this is only part of what makes this game is such an addictive experience. The real pull here is the way you develop your character and progress through the game; mostly through dying and passing into the next generation of your legacy. Each time you lose a life when exploring the castle, you restart the game but with a new “heir” with varying abilities and traits. Many of the traits vary from hilarious deformities to genetic characteristics and handicaps, all of which affect the game in varying degrees. This is influenced by the difference in character classes and number of heirs you have gone through. There never really is a game over, as each time you lose you restart with a new character to continue the adventure, with all your unlocked abilities and equipment carrying over.
The controls are super solid and rival that of many of the classics in the genre. Many nuances change up during the course of the game depening on what your character is and his/her abilities and traits, sometimes even changing the aesthetics and properties of the stages themselves. Exploring all the different traits and how they influence everything in the game is half the fun of playing Rogue Legacy. The other half is trying again and again to get further and further deeper into the levels of the castle.
The game isn’t without its problems however, despite there being very few. Sometimes the hand you are dealt, in terms of character class and traits, can lock you into some ridiculous situations. Getting to some treasures or even just merely progressing through a stage can be rendered impossible if your character is of a class or has a trait that makes things tough for him/her. This is mostly due to the inability to choose out of all the classes each time you select a new character, as you only get a choice out of three heirs with pre-selected classes and traits. This would make the game easier with the freedom of choice, but would take away the charm of surprise from seeing what your heirs will bring to the table.
The other lesser annoying issue is the tedious customization which revolves around finding money within the castle. Some of the abilities and equipment are a bit overpriced and can force you to grind for cash many times over. This is only made harder from the miniscule drops from enemies and objects, but with a little patience this should not bother too much.
Rogue Legacy is a great game that everyone should play. Not only does the game provide endless hours of entertainment and replayability, but a super easy cross-save feature between all three PlayStation platforms. You’ll be able to tackle the castle on your home consoles with PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3, but can then take experience on the go with PlayStation Vita. The auto-save automatically makes the save data ready to download on any of the three platforms making it super easy to jump between each one. At such a low price on the PlayStation Network, and with such addicting gameplay, what more can anyone really asks for from any game? Simply put, Rogue Legacy deserves a spot in your gaming collection. You definitely won’t regret it.
This review is based on a PSN review copy of Rogue Legacy for PlayStation 3 provided by Cellar Door Games.