Although rogue-lites are generally very hit-or-miss with me, that was never much of a worry where Rogue Legacy 2 was concerned. The first game was not only the first action rogue-lite I’d ever played, but has remained one of my absolute favorites for years. Although I had some truly surprising issues with this new game’s performance, there are some substantial improvements on display here. Regardless, the question stands: is it already worth it, or are you better off waiting until it’s further along in development?
Baby, what happened to your pixels?
One of the most immediately noticeable differences that Rogue Legacy 2 boasts is a new art style. The first game was made with pixel graphics, while everything is done via vectors this time. The characters and environments look good, although whether or not this look is better will come down to which style you personally prefer. I like both of them myself, and am pleased with the new direction.
The other huge change is that there are now multiple main weapons available. The original game just had a single type of sword that characters could attack with. Rogue Legacy 2 has axes courtesy of barbarians, bows via the rangers, and wands if you pick mages. There are supposed to be even more coming down the line to boot.
You’ll also come across more Metroid-esque elements this time. There are large statues that unlock challenge levels when you come across them. Successfully completing these will net you new abilities, such as the returning ability to dash or the option to talk to fireplaces for the purposes of receiving hints. Characters even have a new default move where they can do a spinning kick in mid-air in order to bounce up certain objects.
Going for the gold
Structurally, Rogue Legacy 2 plays out in a very familiar way. Each run presents you with three randomly-generated characters with a variety of characteristics. They have different weapons, health/mana pools, and start with different spells. The approach ensures that the heroes offer you markedly different experiences during runs.
Early on, your goal is to find as much gold as possible in the castle so that you can spend it on permanent upgrades upon death. Entering the castle with unspent gold still depletes your coffers, however. You can purchase an early upgrade that allows you to retain a certain percentage of your gold in a safe, which you can spend freely.
The upgrades are much like they were previously. You can increase your starting health/mana pools, damage, critical chance, starting armor amount, and more. Much of the perks haven’t been implemented yet though, so it might be a while before you can dump enough cash into your skill trees to steamroll the game. You can also spend money on equipment again, which you’ll have to find blueprints for while exploring.
You’ll likely need them too, as Rogue Legacy 2 is rather difficult early on. Make no mistake, this is a tough game that has no issue with raking players over the proverbial coals. The new weapon types are enjoyable, with the ax’s spinning air attack being particularly fun. The bow works well too, and gives you clear indication of where you’re aiming. However, the wands feel too weak to me, as they hardly do any damage at all. Then again, the mages are supposed to be using their spells.
Stutter and hitch
My only big issue with Rogue Legacy 2 as of now is that the game hitches almost constantly for me. I don’t think I’ve ever played a 2D game that had this issue. It makes an already tough game that much more difficult, as the hitches make it borderline impossible to react correctly. I don’t know how widely people will be affected by this, but I’d certainly suggest that anyone wait to purchase until the issue is solved. The game isn’t worth it to me as long as the problem persists. I’m sure the issue will be fixed in the next week or so, though. Regardless, I have no doubt that the game is going to end up being a worthy successor to its predecessor. Rogue Legacy 2 has everything I loved about the original and more. You can find the game on Steam.