The Rogue-like game genre is all about throwing yourself at the same wall repeatedly, getting stronger with each new attempt. The first Rogue Legacy was released in 2013 and became famous for its whimsical take on the genre. Each new run would introduce a unique descendant of your previous character with randomized class, abilities, and traits inherited from previous generations.
This randomized gameplay leads to some interesting combinations, each successor with buffed stats thanks to the shops and infrastructure investments. Any gold earned from the previous attempt has to be spent before the next descendant can enter the castle, or you will give it to the ferryman Charon.
Now, a new family has stepped up to the challenge, ready to solve the mysteries of the Kingdom, gather the six Estuaries, and travel through The Golden Doors. The story picks up as the first descendant ventures into the fortress, unaware they will be the first of many to venture in. That’s not what it’s about, though. It’s about their duty.
The traits are something special in their own right. The player never knows what offspring they’ll get stuck with. Often the player will have to choose the lesser of three evils, and that’s part of the fun. Making the best out of a tricky situation is where this series truly shines. Rogue Legacy 2 doubles down on the traits, introducing new combinations that are sure to make each attempt interesting.
The game’s controls are pretty easy to get used to and are similar to the 2013 game. The game relies on basic platforming mechanics and rewards players who have fast reflexes. The difference between death and staying alive can often be attributed to one wrong move, so planning or being able to adapt on the fly is imperative.
As players work through their first few characters, they’ll get a feel for how the game works. Try to collect gold early on so that you can buy better stats or invest in items early on. This is also how the player will unlock new classes with unique weapons and abilities. You’ll also meet interesting characters on the dock, who will offer you everything from weapons to advice.
The characters that the player can buy for the dock have their own cute stories, and it will likely bring smiles to even the most serious of players. In addition, it works as a great break between attempts, taking a moment to understand how the characters have further interacted while you were in the Kingdom.
These NPCs also offer a great set of tools that players can spend their gold on — unlocking the ability or gear transfers to all future descendants. Also, wearing a collection of the same gear will grant buffs to the player. However, you can also volunteer to go with a lighter equipment load and be rewarded with more resolve.
Earning enough gold to buy all the castle upgrades can feel grindy at times. If you get a bad roll of characters, you’ll likely have to go into the dungeon several times to earn enough gold for the next upgrade. The Living Safe does help in this regard, and increasing the amount of gold it can hold ensures that you have a savings account to draw from in addition to what you gather.
The player is allowed to choose how they want to play and improve their game. The options are near limitless, from the range of classes to the gear. Rogue Legacy 2 takes this to another level by introducing the House Rules mode, where the player can customize certain game features.
With the House Rules section in the pause menu, players can adjust some of the significant factors in the game, like the enemy’s health or the ability to disable traits. With these tools, the player can make the game as accessible or challenging as possible. With the recent discussions on accessibility in gaming, Cellar Door Games has put the choice in the hands of the player, and that’s refreshing to see.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the game’s difficulty. The game is tough but fair, rewarding the player when they’re quick enough and dealing blows after the slightest mistakes. However, unlike other challenging games released this year, making a mistake in Rogue Legacy 2 is easy to recover from. Sometimes it’s about knowing when you’re outmatched and coming back stronger.
Players are encouraged to explore instead of heading for the boss immediately since gold and other currencies are found in chests. Each new map offers new puzzles and treasures waiting to be discovered if you can get far enough. Even after playing for 10+ hours in the same area, only one lantern puzzle stuck out, with every other room feeling like a new challenge each time you drop in.
Something else the game does to reward exploration is giving the player items they’ll need to get to different areas in a very Legend of Zelda-like way. These tools introduce new ways to interact with the environment and boost mobility. As the player unlocks these new tools, they’ll be able to search further in the fortress and have a unique advantage while fighting monsters.
The different areas feel distinct in layout and content, and the little pieces of lore spread through the world make exploring that much more worthwhile.
The result of each section of the game will see the player fighting the different Estuaries that serve as each area’s boss. Each new Estuary brings an extra challenge, and the player will need to level up their descendants if they hope to defeat even the first Estuary. These fights are uniquely challenging in an already challenging game, but getting a hard-earned win is an unmatched feeling.
Something that deserves its notice is the music in any part of the game. It’s easy to get lost in Rogue Legacy 2, primarily due to the spectacular music accompanying every aspect of the game. Players will be humming some of these songs for days after beating the game. It feels like a good mix between classic RPGs soundtracks and a unique flair.
The Final Word
Rogue Legacy 2 is a leap above its predecessor, which was already great fun. The music, characters, and world blend to create one of the most enjoyable Rogue-likes of this decade. The sheer level of content will allow players to engage with this world for hours and hours, and the House Rules enable the player to make it more challenging after that. Rogue Legacy 2 is a must-have for fans of the genre.
Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website!