The original Rogue Legacy is one of my all-time favorite roguelites and I gave it a glowing review back when it was released. So of course I am excited to try out any sort of sequel to that, even if it may be in Early Access.
So I’ll start with the most obvious change: the art style. They dropped the pixel graphics that the original had going for it in favor of 2.5D, with most assets being in 2D, but the characters and such being in 3D. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss the original style, but I’d also be lying if I said that this new style wasn’t good. It’s a solid pick for the game and the devs really did a good job with the various models, textures, and the overall detail within the game world. It kinda reminds me of the recent Shantae games, and that’s definitely not a bad thing.
Now in the sound department, I wouldn’t say that the game does a standout job, but it’s not bad. Apparently a lot of the sound effects are currently placeholders, so this is an area that will likely be improved with time. The music on the other hand, is a bit better, but still doesn’t quite match the quality of the first game. Granted, I haven’t been able to hear most of the soundtrack given that the other biomes are locked, so I’ll be withholding a final judgement on that for now.
However, the gameplay is what we’re all here for and, just as with the first game, Rogue Legacy 2 really excels at it. The core loop is all here. You enter the castle with a randomized character, take down a bunch of baddies, amass a small fortune, take on the boss, and die and repeat. In the game’s current state, all of this is present and it feels nice to play. The combat is solid, the movement is smooth, and it’s still just as challenging as ever. In fact, it might actually be even harder this time around. That or maybe I just got worse at video games.
As the game is a roguelite, you will be dying a lot, but you get a bit stronger every time by way of the skill tree and the different items and runes you can purchase. The best mechanic though (at least, in my opinion) is the randomized characters you get at the beginning of each run. One run could have me near-sighted and unable to see enemies farther away and another may have me playing the whole thing upside down. There are a lot of these different traits, most of which make the game more difficult, but all of which I had a good time messing around with.
The different classes, the random traits assigned to them, and the gold modifiers brought on by these traits really make each run its own thing. Couple all of that with the randomized nature of each level and all of the upgrades and such to find and you have a really solid foundation for a good roguelite.
I say foundation because, although I like the gameplay here, it is desperately lacking in content. There’s only one boss, one full biome, and four classes. It’s a start, but you’ll pretty much see everything in just a few hours, although it will take longer to actually unlock all the skills and such. The game is in Early Access though, so this is expected. The devs obviously focused on the core to the game first before just adding in a bunch of content, which I feel is a better place to start than the alternative of offering a large amount of content, but having broken and shallow game mechanics.
Rogue Legacy 2 is a good follow-up to the original, even if its Early Access is light on content. Rather, it focuses on providing a very solid base, with all the core combat mechanics, the gameplay loop, and other such essential elements all present. All of the content that is there is fun, the only thing that’s really missing is, well, the rest of it. With updates, I can see this turning into a very cool sequel, maybe enough to surpass the original. The devs already have a nice roadmap laid out, so it’s only a matter of time.
You can buy Rogue Legacy 2 on Steam here.
I was provided a review copy of the game in order to write this review. Read more about how I do my game reviews here.