Review: Rogue Legacy



I know what you might be thinking; “Rogue Legacy is a million years old man, what are you doing?” It’s a fair and valid criticism but Rogue Legacy recently went on sale for the Playstation Vita, so I thought I’d dive in.

I’ve played Rogue Legacy before, my PC play time, however, is only a few hours. I didn’t like it, couldn’t get my head around and was constantly thinking about how the offspring I’d selected always seemed to have awful genetic faults, true to life presumably. I shelved it along with several other roguelikes never to be seen again.

 Review: Rogue Legacy

Then, many moons later, the Vita version was lb3. It’s a game that I’d always imagined would sit well on Sony’s handheld, and I wasn’t wrong.

For those that don’t know, Rogue Legacy is a 2D roguelike taking cues from games like Castlevania and Metroid in its style. Randomised dungeon layouts each time you play keep things fresh, as do the traits of your offspring, and it has a nice permanent progression system, something which is often lacking in games of its type.

When you die, and it really is a case of when, you respawn with the selection of one of three offspring to continue your legacy. They often have rubbish genes; colourblind, bald, can’t see in 3D, fear of chickens, but, occasionally, have pretty good ones too. Their class and genes are randomly determined when you respawn – but you also carry over gold between runs, the cornerstone of Rogue Legacy’s brilliance.

 Review: Rogue Legacy

For many people roguelikes are in vogue; short, sharp and challenging, we’ve seen The Binding of Isaac, Rogue Legacy and FTL light up the sales charts, with good reason. Where Rogue Legacy surpasses the other two, for me, is in its permanence. I understand the harsh reality of a roguelike, but having some sort of permanence makes me feel that, when I die, it wasn’t a waste.

It also means that there’s no such thing as a failed run in Rogue Legacy. In FTL, for example, when I die I often look at the play time of the run and think “what a waste,” but not so here. Even with 10hp I’m still in the game, knowing that any gold I can accrue, or runes I can collect, will benefit any offspring I have, making my life easier towards the ultimate aim of completing the game.

 Review: Rogue Legacy

It’s such a small detail but, for me, it means that Rogue Legacy is a game I can pick up at any time and, even with one run, get myself closer to completing it. That, coupled with the Vita’s suspend and resume function, means the game has been in almost constant rotation on my Vita since I bought it, and it shows no signs of leaving any time soon.

For many the Vita might be seen as the “Indie Station” or any other derogatory term you might care to coin; for those that understand the amazing quality of many of those games it couldn’t be any more of a compliment. I rolled my eyes the first time I saw Sony employees talking about #bestonVita as a lame, organised attempt to get ahead of the indie criticism. Having played Rogue Legacy on Vita I can now use the hashtag comfortably. Well… as comfortably as one can use a hasthag in normal conversation.

Rogue Legacy? #bestonVita