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Please tell me this is not another webcomic

Rogue Legacy is a videogame released in 2013 that combines elements of roguelikes and Castlevania-style adventure/platformer. If you're familiar with The Binding of Isaac, let's just say that Rogue Legacy is to Castlevania what TBoI is to The Legend of Zelda.
  • Title: Rogue Legacy
  • Developer: Cellar Door Games (website)
  • Publisher: Cellar Door Games
  • Date published: June 27, 2013
  • Soundtrack: Bandcamp link
  • Platforms: PC (Mac and Linux not yet available as of 2013/07/08)
  • Minimum Specs:
    • Operating System: Windows XP/VIsta/7 (Support for Windows 8, Mac OSX, and Linux coming later)
    • CPU: 1.6 Ghz
    • RAM: 1 GB
    • Video Card: ATI 1950 Pro / Nvidia 7900 GT
    • Hard Drive Space: 400 MB
  • Recommended Specs:
    • Operating System: Windows XP/VIsta/7
    • CPU: 2.0 Ghz
    • RAM: 2 GB
    • Video Card: AMD HD 4770 / Nvidia 8800 GTS
    • Hard Drive Space: 400 MB

Features

  • Procedurally generated castle: Every time you play the layout of the castle changes (although there is a way around this) which calls for skill rather than memory to get through
  • 8 different classes to play, each with its own strengths, weaknesses and special abilities
  • Upgrades and equipment for your characters: You can increase your base stats and purchase gear that will stay for future playthroughs
  • Randomly generated traits for your characters: these are an added bonus and/or challenge that changes with every playthrough.

This is the spoiler line. Below this line I will discuss mechanics of the game, which may be a spoiler to some because a good deal of this game is to explore and figure out things for yourself. I will not discuss the story. You have been warned


What a regular playing session looks like

Assuming you have already completed the tutorial, which takes like 5 minutes, this is what you can expect to happen:

  1. Select your character: every playthrough you will be presented with 3 randomly generated characters, ideally you would select the best or the one that suck less. These characters differ between themselves in some ways:
    1. Their class, which affects special abilities and base stats (mages are squishy but have more MP, knights are tougher but dumber, etc.)
    2. Their traits, which may be good, bad or neutral (examples of each category are: having increased knockback, being colorblind and being bald)
    3. Their magic spell. Remember the 'heart skills' of Castlevania? (the cross, holy water, knife, axe...). In RL you only get one of these per playthrough.
  2. Upgrade skills and abilities: The skill tree includes basic stats (HP/MP), unlockable classes, crit chance and damage, gold earned, etc.
  3. Buy or change gear: Some equipment is better for some classes, mix and match to your heart's content.
  4. Buy or change runes: Runes give you special, passive abilities like extra jumps, floating, draining HP/MP from enemies, etc.
  5. Decide whether to lock the castle or not: The layout of your previous playthrough can be kept from being re-rolled at the cost of earning reduced gold
  6. Pay the fee to enter the castle: which is exactly 100% of your gold, but can be reduced in the skill tree
  7. Enter the castle: Hack and slash your opponents, avoid traps, explore the castle, find rare treasure, collect gold, kill bosses.
  8. Die: either for horribly stupid reasons like that spiky trap you saw but forgot about or due to abuse of enemy bullets. Sometimes the game hates you.
  9. Rinse and repeat

Other interesting things about the mechanics of this game:

  • The skill tree includes upgrades to several stats: HP, MP, carrying capacity (needed to equip better gear), crit chance, crit damage, gold earned, special abilities of each class, unlockable classes, reduced fee to enter the castle and some others.
  • Runes are a powerful way of modifying the gameplay. Some runes give you additional jumps, dashing ability, floating in the air for some time, draining HP/MP from enemies, increasing earned gold and others.
  • Runes can only be obtained in special chests that appear randomly and require a challenge to be completed before opening. Some of these challenges are easy ("Kill all the monsters in the room") and some can be outright impossible ("Take no damage in a room full of traps")

This is the closing spoiler line. Below are some other facts that do not spoil the spirit of the game. Enjoy.


Do you have an opinion, Andy?

I'm a big fan of the Castlevania games and, more recently, games with roguelike elements. To me, this is a perfect combination of both, with enough customization to set it apart from other games and simple enough to pick up at any time. It has the great advantage that a playing session can be 5 minutes or 2+ hours long.

However, for some people this game may come across as being too simple, relatively short and without a big storyline (which, in my opinion, isn't needed). The game is built on the assumption that the player will die repeatedly, which may be a dealbreaker for some.

For some, myself included, the self-imposed challenges that this game offers are an added bonus. Sure, there's a New Game+ that is basically an added level of difficulty, but the entire structure allows for interesting variations:

  • Speedruns (overall time)
  • Capped stats (HP/MP/Attack/Armor, etc)
  • No unlockable classes
  • No upgraded gear
  • No runes
  • Minimum number of playthroughs

Cool, I want it!

At the moment of writing this, the game costs 15 USD and can be bought on Desura, GamersGate, GOG, Steam, OnLive and the Humble Store located on the game's main website. I firmly think that the best of these options is the Humble Store, because you get a DRM-free version of the game AND a Steam Key, but that's just my opinion. If you're not sure, there's a free demo available in RL's website.

(For those who are reading this review in 2013, keep in mind that the Steam Summer Sale is just around the corner. Given that this is a fairly new game, it may not get a huge discount, but if 15 USD seems a bit too much for you, you can wait a bit) The game has a small discount on the Steam Summer Sale right now

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