Rogue Legacy (PC)

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Protip; if you like being productive, do not buy Rogue Legacy. For everyone else, you have been warned. Rogue Legacy already has quite the following, popping up on a near endless amount of best of 2013 lists, and for good reason. This game is filled with so many good ideas, and it executes so may of them so well that it’s impossible to hate. It’s also addictive. Really, really addictive. The ultimate reason for this is due to the beast this is, taking the difficulty and common death of roguelike games with the mesmerizing grinding of a good JRPG. It’s almost terrible in how good it mixes these things together, and I mean terrible for any free time you may have wanted to use for other things.

Does a purple moon mean a rave is starting?

There is a story here, but it’s understated. The game is more interested in humor and references, as to be expected from this particular circle of indie, but that works out fine. There’s a good use of dark humor over the entire game, along with a lot of out of place moments that leave a smile on one’s face. What I did find interesting is that the plot itself is actually very good. For as little of it is present, it’s a surprisingly effective and tragic tale with a really well done ending that is all summed up with a single line that leaves you feeling a bit horrible about what you just did. That is hard to pull off in a game as constantly silly as this.

The presentation is simple and sprite based, which fits since this is yet another game trying to capture that old-school feel. The soundtrack is all bits and boops, mixed with some interesting instrumentation, like what appears to be slamming on objects for percussion. It gives the game its own personality, all while emulating the styles of other classics, mainly Castlevania. The graphics are so simple that even a decade old Windows XP can run it (I know this due to knowing such a person who ran it in such a computer), but there are a few issues here and there. The physics are a bit off, leading to some glitches from time to time, such as money disappearing into the floor. It rarely occurs, though, and can easily be forgiven due to how each and every area is randomly generated. For an indie title, the complete lack of problematic bugs is impressive.

“Never more MY DI-“

That leaves the gameplay itself, and I saved the best for last. Rogue Legacy‘s popularity is solely because of its brilliant concept and how well it’s done. See, You always play the game in a single location, a castle with multiple parts. The trick is the castle layout completely changes each time you enter, and you re-enter via dying and having your successor enter next. What results is a roguelike style game, with death and randomness requiring heavy amounts of skill, and the grinding mechanics of a RPG, with a mansion you can spend gold on to upgrade and gain new classes and stat upgrades, along with various servants and perks. This idea is brilliant and so well implemented that I lost roughly an entire day of my live in collective play hours in the span of a week. This is a fucking addictive bastard of a game.

Here’s how it works. You start out as a random hero and go kill some monsters. You die pretty fast. Afterwards, you can use some of the gold you earned to get upgrades. To re-enter the castle with a newly picked successor, you have to give up all your money (but a later perk will allow a max of saving 50% of your cash). You rinse and repeat while making progress, with the ultimate goal of beating the four bosses in each of the castle’s four sections and unlocking the door near the entrance to face the final boss. To further spice things up beyond the randomly generated castle layout, all successors have different possible classes (based on what you’ve unlocked) and various traits that completely change how the game is played. Some have sight penalties, some are frightened of chickens and cause those delicious wall chickens to come to life and try to hurt you, some are big, some are small, some travel the world upside down, some can’t see an enemy or themselves for a brief moment while turning, some lose tons of money upon being damages, some can’t be knocked back, some knock others back further, some are huge, some are small, and so on and so forth. That means that no one trip in the castle will be the same as the last due to a massive set of variables and a lot of random chance. Each class and trait also requires different play styles to boot, making things even more varied.

Hey, old people are filled with wisdom and strange smells!

The result is a game where death barely matters and just means that you get to experience something different each new play. With the constant sense of progression. the game taps easily into the more obsessive part of the mind and sticks there, like an octopus squatting down. It’s absolutely addictive and constantly entertaining in a good way. It’s not so much dull grinding as a mix of grinding and experimentation with different play styles. Certain spells and sword sings work completely different and have different uses with each new trait and class, and how you tackle enemies and obstacles is rarely ever the same. Hell, I haven’t even gotten into the rune system that grants new abilities, or the various armor and weapon abilities. It’s absolutely nuts. This game is a big explosion of ideas, and they all come together so amazingly easy that it puts most major game titles out now today to shame.

The first go through the game is really enjoyable, despite how simple the bosses are once you realize they’re just much larger regular enemies, but New Game Plus comes with a lot of extra stuff and some really nasty new bosses. The real challenge from some of these comes from having to use a pre-set character instead of just dying and coming back with a random character of a new class and trait set to see what works better. It’s truly stuff for the people looking for a real challenge. For those not as talented, the random factor and use of avatar strength, where you can constantly upgrade yourself, makes things much less stressful, especially if you manage to get some armor early on. The game manages to make an experience just about anyone can enjoy, except for those absolutely new to the idea of a videogame.


Rogue Legacy is addictive and brilliant, an endless blast that will eat up your free time if you’re not careful. This is a game that was truly deserving of being among some of the best of 2013, an instant classic in not only its genre but the medium itself. It’s cheap and packed with content, go buy it as soon as possible and enjoy constantly dying!


The first and former writer for Caiminds and owner of OTDSOT, one of the partnered blogs. Has a love and hate relationship with Bleach, due to equal parts nostalgia and masochism. DarkSide may of moved away from Caiminds but his legacy will remain.

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