Hugh Likes Video Games: Rogue Legacy
Cellar Door Games
Available for Steam and the Playstation Network
Rogue Legacy
“Rogue Legacy” is one of those indie games that feels both nostalgically familiar and refreshingly novel at the same time.  A platform game set in a randomly generated castle, “Rogue Legacy” put me equally in the mind of the old school turn-based dungeon explorers and punishingly difficult 8-bit platformers like “Castlevania” and “Ninja Gaiden.”
The player controls not just one character, but a family of adventurers.  You navigate the castle in one of eight classes, fighting monsters and collecting treasure.  When you lose a life, you choose an heir, who inherits your gear and spoils.  You can use them to improve your stats, buy new gear, or equip magical runes. These give the player special abilities such as air dashes, double jumps, or steal health from monsters.  Each heir has their own class and physical characteristics which subtly change gameplay.  Barbarians have better health but weaker attacks while Shinobi are fast but can’t land critical hits.  Individual characteristics such as an Eidetic Memory or Dwarfism affect gameplay while baldness or colorblindness change the graphics.  There are a variety of different effects that change up the game without being too distracting.
Each castle is randomly generated, but the gameplay and layout will seem very familiar to players of games like “Castlevania: Symphony of the Night.”  The player explores rooms in 2-D, fighting a vast horde of enemies and leaping over traps.
While you can improve your abilities, players will still die quite often, because the game is quite difficult.  Enemies fill the screen with projectiles and attacks, which can be extremely difficult to avoid.  I’ve had enough generations go through this castle that they should have jetpacks and phasers instead of swords and armor by the end.
In spite of the extreme difficulty of some of the layouts, the game rarely feels frustrating, and the generation mechanic ensures that each run-through feels different.  It’s an easy game to pick up intending to play for only a few minutes, and find that hours have passed, saying ‘I’ll just do one more run.’
“Rogue Legacy” is a charming game for old-school platforming fans looking for a modern twist, with gameplay that can be picked up on the go.  It is available for Mac, PC, and Playstation consoles.