27th Nov2018

‘Rogue Legacy’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Britt Roberts

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Originally released in 2013, Rogue Legacy makes its way to Nintendo’s handheld console and proves an ideal match for gaming on the move.

I’m very wary of procedural generation in video games and so when games like Nongunz, Moonlighter and Rogue Legacy use it well, it can really enhance the gaming experience and add real depth to proceedings as opposed to feeling like a time-saver. Rogue Legacy is a 2D platformer that casts you as an ancestral line of heroic (and some not-so heroic) knights that have dedicated their lives to working their way through a massive castle. When one of your characters gets killed, the games moves on to the next generation, allowing you to choose from one of three available characters and again head into the castle for some sword-swiping, magic-blasting action.

Of course, it’s not quite as straightforward as this. Not all of your characters are created equal, as I noticed when I headed into the castle and found that the screen was suddenly blurry and also monochrome, turns out I had chosen a character that was built like Lou Ferrigno in 1970…but unfortunately suffered from short-sightedness as well as being completely colour-blind. These quirks of character (and there are quite a few!) add a dash of individuality to each run-through of the game. Initially I barely made it through a few screens before being defeated by a floating eyeball that vibrated before shooting flames that head straight for my visage (typical) and of course the random generation that takes place each time you re-enter can occasionally give you an easy time for a while, allowing you to discover some hidden secrets and get a pile of cash on the go, or it can just as easily hurl you into a fight to the death with an enormous boss two screens in…as I found out.

The difference between Rogue Legacy and a lot of other games is that these random twists of fate never feel cheap because not only is the game play smooth and the controls tight but the section that takes place outside of the castle is quite fun as well. You keep everything that you earn after your death in order to upgrade yourself and your home, adding extra health and armour as well as a blacksmith, mystic and others as well as an architect who can ‘lock down’ the castle so that it stays the same on your next entry (the writing for these characters, although brief, is quite amusing) although upon approaching the door of the castle, a hooded figure won’t let you pass until you’ve given him everything in your purse, the purple git.

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The animation in the game is really smooth and the graphics chunky and colourful, the way the knights all have the same marching walk and hold their swords aloft continually tickled me, they seemed so keen to strut towards certain doom under my command, the poor blighters. It gets quite tense when you get deeper into the levels, changing enemies and biomes get tougher as the rewards get more and more saucy, resulting in the player desperately trying to rack up a load of doubloons so that you can unlock new items and weapons to make your future treks that much easier.

Rogue Legacy is a perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch, especially in portable mode as the design of the game is perfect for quite blasts and just as fun to session on for a couple of hours. If you are a fan of action-platformers, this is a highly recommended purchase; it’s great to see random generation used not as a time-saving device for the developers but as an integral part of a very polished and fun game.

Right, I’m off to have another run at it, this is the one, I can feel it. I just wish Sir Eric didn’t have vertigo…

Rogue Legacy is available on the Nintendo eShop now.

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