Roguelite is one of the fastest-growing genres in recent years, with standout works such as Hades and Dead cells. Even though they don’t have the same scope as a blockbuster, these games won the hearts of many players, including being awarded at annual events. Here comes another strong candidate, called Rogue Legacy 2 . As soon as I started my journey, I thought it would just be another genre game, but I can say that we have something different here, and you will find out in the following review.
A DISTANT KINGDOM
We start our adventure in an empty realm and a dock that still doesn’t have many options; we move forward with our warrior; as we advance through the map, we have the first encounters with our enemies and the first death. Here comes the great insight of Rogue Legacy 2; after we are resurrected, we keep our loot like gold coins, jewels and ores, something that will help in our evolution.
These resources are used to improve our castle to unlock attributes, new classes and improvements. Several times during our journeys to death, we will return to this point to study our next move. Also, during our incursions, we will be able to meet new characters who will become popular on our dock, which serves as a large market.
The basic premise of Rogue Legacy 2 is identical to that of the first game. You play as a brave adventurer who’s sent to explore the ruins of a mysterious castle. Your ultimate goal is to find and defeat six unique bosses to unlock an imposing door that leads to the final area. As you gallivant across Rogue Legacy 2’s six varied and increasingly treacherous biomes, you’ll accrue golden coins by opening chests and defeating enemies.
This wealth can then be used to purchase permanent upgrades like increased health, strength, intellect, etc. Unfortunately for your intrepid explorer, they’ll never get to spend this money themselves. Each time you die in Rogue Legacy 2, you return to the beginning of the castle as your previous character’s offspring, inheriting all of the gold and upgrades they acquired before perishing.
At the start of each run, you’re asked to select from a trio of potential heirs, all eager to venture off into what is usually certain doom. Sometimes these progenies arrive with randomly generated traits that can benefit or hinder them. Sir Timothy II, for instance, was an heir of mine who had hollow bones that made him fall slowly. In contrast, Lady Jane suffered from a functional neurological disorder that rendered her unable to attack for a few seconds after sustaining damage.
Sometimes these traits have no gameplay implications, like Lady Michelle and the irritable bowel syndrome that made her fart a lot. Other times, the complete opposite is accurate, and you end up with someone like Sir Shawn, a particularly unfortunate descendant. He had a case of osteogenesis imperfecta, which is a fancy way of saying a single hit was enough to kill him. You won’t know what impact these traits will have until using them at least once, but the game adds gold modifiers to entice you to pick an heir with less-than-ideal traits, so there’s an element of risk and reward goes into each decision.
Rogue Legacy 2 Gameplay
This genetic variation ensures that each run through the sprawling castle feels fresh. Yet, Rogue Legacy 2’s chromosomal lottery also takes things a step further than its predecessor by introducing distinct character classes. The first game had different character classes that would grant you specific spells and passive abilities, but each scion would still charge into battle wielding the same greatsword with the same basic sword-swinging mechanics. This time around, combat has been expanded, with each class brandishing a signature weapon.
Barbarians carry an ax with a slow overhead swing and an aerial spin attack. Valkyries utilize a spear that can attack in four directions, making it one of the few classes to strike directly upwards. Boxers build up a combo meter, with each punch gradually increasing in damage. Gunslingers, meanwhile, can rapidly shoot in any direction, with the final eight bullets in a magazine dealing a critical blow. There are also knights, chefs, mages, assassins, dragon lancers, and more, all with their specific armaments, spells, health bars, mana pools, etc. No two classes feel alike, which, along with the randomized traits and spells, makes each new run a unique experience.
Getting to grips with each playstyle and finding which ones work for you is part of the joy of Rogue Legacy 2’s first couple of hours. Combat is engaging across the board, too, regardless of the 15 classes you’re using. There’s a lovely heft and chomp to the action, with enemies erupting into a shower of gold as you dash between fiery projectiles and slice through them with emphatic momentum.
The delightfully varied enemy types that congregate in each biome are also why Rogue Legacy 2’s combat is so enjoyable. From detached, floating hands wielding knives and mallets to poison-spewing mushroom creatures and zombies who suddenly emerge from the floor, learning each one’s attack patterns and knowing how to counter them is crucial to staying alive. It makes each encounter a tense and dynamic affair.
When you’re not fighting for your life, you’ll explore a procedurally generated world rich in aesthetic diversity. The cold stone walls of the initial castle eventually give way to snow-capped mountaintops, an opulent study where paintings come to life, and a hollow underground cave system that feels like it’s descending straight to the Earth’s core. The gorgeous new art style does a fantastic job of bringing these areas to life, preceding the previous game’s 16-bit stylings in favor of a cartoon look that utilizes sharp lines and vivid colors. The backdrops are all entirely hand-drawn, while the characters and objects are 3D, making the action pop off the screen.
On the dock, we have several options that will help us on our journeys, such as the gunsmith that can provide you with new armor, weapons and even capes. Another important character is the woman from the rune shop, which brings essential improvements that will be used to advance in more difficult places. We also have the architect, who can make essential changes, such as blocking maps from being randomly generated.
Still, we have a mysterious house on the dock, which has several challenges that will bring prizes that can only be collected there.
Our kingdom has one level, so as we buy new structures, we see a noticeable improvement in what the player will be able to do in the next generations.
Another important character in your kingdom is the boatman, better known as Charon. Once we’ve spent our money on upgrades, the leftovers are left to pay the fare to the next adventure. Anything left goes into this figure’s pocket, so spend whatever you can on upgrades. Over time, we can reduce what Charon takes and put it in a safe, something that helps a lot.
The story is told through texts found in the game, so don’t think it’s all chewed up; you’ll have to read it if you’re interested. But the story is something very superficial, leaving all the focus on the gameplay, which is the highest point.
HONOR YOUR LEGACY
The most crucial word in Rogue Legacy 2 is inheritance, in which our heirs tend to get better with each generation. In the first few minutes of each journey, we must choose between three random classes, which have abilities and special attacks that are random in addition to their standard moves.
Another interesting issue with classes is that they can have traits that drastically change the gameplay, such as a colorless world or even a weak point, such as an exposed heart. The amount of classes is insane and very surprising; I can highlight the Astrologer who can fly and create singularity explosions and even a cook, who attacks his enemies with a hot pot and can still recover mana and health, making a delicious stew.
The possibilities are enormous, making the player already think about the next move, which increases the replay factor even more. Each class has its level, which increases as we gain experience and evolve. Each level increases health, mana, or other stats, but this will depend on the type of class used.
Rogue Legacy 2 Classes
Classes have different types of gameplay, defined in detail, that bring surprise to each chosen heir. Attacks from close range, far away, spells and much more complete the pack of 15 classes in the game. Some of these classes have more of a learning curve attached than others. The bard, for instance, is exceptionally distinct: They use a lute to shoot out musical notes that don’t deal a lot of damage by themselves but can be spin-kicked to create a powerful explosion. Each class also has a singular talent, usually acting as a defensive maneuver. Valkyries can spin their spear in a spry circle to deflect projectiles while the chef cooks up a stew to recover health and mana.
A WORLD FULL OF SURPRISES
The world of Rogue Legacy 2 is full of possibilities by bringing randomly generated levels, even following a logical order of locations. Each generation that sets out on an adventure will have to find its way, even if it is a little familiar. Each stage has its difficulty level, which can be overcome as the player progresses. We have portals unlocked as we advance in future journeys through purchase with friendly help to facilitate the incursions. But it will not be an easy task, as this figure will not be in every portal, something that will take time to unlock the most critical paths.
Each location has a mix of unique enemies and some that spawn everywhere, with variations ranging from level, type, and even more powerful legendary versions. Each class has advantages or weaknesses against certain types of enemies; it’s up to you to define the best approach.
In addition to the traditional enemies, each map has a boss, which brings an exciting challenge in which we have to use our skills to defeat this powerful enemy. At the end of the fight, this enemy will stop at a picture frame at the entrance of the first dungeon, in which we have a door to the final location. This is the challenge to beat, but for that, you’ll have to explore all the possibilities.
It is not necessary to eliminate all the bosses in a single generation, and I believe this is impossible, at least in my view.
EXPLORE BRINGS REWARDS
Our life in Rogue Legacy 2 is not easy, but it can be made more accessible if the player likes to explore every corner of the location. Relics and hidden artifacts can help or hinder us at the cost of our conviction rate, which will be deducted from our HP if it is less than 100%. These items modify our powers, bringing new possibilities that inheritance cannot give.
Some secret rooms can provide us with abilities that help us move on to more advanced locations. Some challenges can also give us access to chests with powerful items, which can be unlocked in the shops on the docks.
Rogue Legacy 2 has a very competent art direction, with a unique style and full of personality. There are countless characters, enemies, weapons, spells, and blows majestically illustrated. The level design also hits the nail on the head, with a variety that doesn’t get boring, even playing repeatedly. The soundtrack is also great, with catchy songs which match all its cartoonish atmosphere. Localization in our language is very well done, with well-translated menus and texts. All dialogue is written and not voiced. The quality of the game is so excellent that I don’t remember any bugs or crashes, even playing for many hours without stopping.
Rogue Legacy 2, for sure, is one of the best indies I’ve ever played, addictive and fun to the extreme. Even dying several times, I never get tired of playing and testing new possibilities with my favorite classes. The visible improvements in our realm well represent the evolution curve. Something that stimulates the player to conquer each new attribute.
The title also has a large number of enemies and stages that are different in every aspect. Bosses challenge and force the player to test different strategies to defeat them. The game is still very competent in technical aspects such as graphics and sounds and has no crashes or bugs, something commendable for a low investment game.
Rogue Legacy 2 is one of the best games of the year, beating several big-budget AAA games, winning my heart from the first few minutes, and even making me repeat each location countless times, something unique for games of this genre.
Although Rogue Legacy 2 is built on a grind to purchase more upgrades and become stronger, it always respects your time. If you use a key to unlock a door, that door will remain unlocked forever. Minibosses don’t return after you’ve beaten them. You can pay a fee to permanently unlock teleporters at the beginning of each biome, letting you jump ahead without finding the area’s entrance again. An architect will also lock the world for a percentage of your gold, preventing it from changing at the beginning of each new run. This way, you can quickly jump straight back into a boss fight without fighting your way to it.
All of this makes Rogue Legacy 2 challenging to put down. The “one more run” effect is in full force as you choose another new heir to embark on another arduous journey. The introduction of distinct classes with their unique weapons is a masterstroke that elevates this sequel by building on what was already a fantastic premise and satisfying roguelike loop. House Rules make it more palatable for a wider audience and allow players to tailor the challenge to their liking, even increasing the difficulty. The breadth of its biomes can sometimes induce backtracking as you search for the path forward, but this is a minor blemish on what is a fantastic game. Sacrificing your family tree has never felt so good.
Is Rogue Legacy 2 fun?
As the successor to the original, it expands and improves the gameplay genetics it inherited while also carving out an identity apart from its predecessor. For gamers, this all makes Rogue Legacy 2 a fun, fast-paced, and constantly evolving action/adventure that’s not for the faint of heart.
What can you play Rogue Legacy 2 on?
Rogue Legacy 2 was released out of early access on April 28 on Xbox Series X, Xbox One, and Windows PC.
Will Rogue Legacy 2 have achievements?
There are 36 achievements in Rogue Legacy 2, which you can find below: Good Practice: Spinkick every object on the Dock without touching the floor. A Glimpse of the Future: Complete the Nightmare Premonitions Scar.
Is Rogue Legacy on the switch?
Unfortunately for us, that console is the Xbox — but the fact that it’s Xbox One and Series X/S only gives us hope that it’s merely a timed exclusive and that we’ll eventually get Rogue Legacy 2 in our grubby, Joy-Con holding mitts as well. “Not quite a fun game – yet – but close!”