Gaming, Reviews

Review: Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy

I complained before that Rayman Origins was “too difficult to complete“. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of playing through platformer Rogue Legacy, and it’s a game where the inverse is absolutely true – it’s a game of challenging difficulty that just keeps you coming back!

Rogue Legacy

The game’s title is extremely apt. Rogue Legacy is a rogue-like platformer in which the arenas you play in are randomly generated each time a new game is started, but instead of death being the end of the game, the player picks up as one of the descendants of the previous character. It’s a quirky but innovative twist with hilarious results. Each descendent can be of a certain class that steers toward certain play styles – the Knight being a good all-round bruiser apt at soaking up damage whereas the Mage is more of a glass cannon – and have traits that vary from purely visual (Nostalgic puts the game in sepia) to game-changing (Vertigo inverts the playfield). The random nature of the permutations of classes and traits adds a lot to the game’s replayability and appeal.

The story of the game is lightweight, though a game like this needs nothing but a cursory narrative. Each stage in the game ramps up the difficulty considerably, with new enemies to develop tactics for and evolved versions of previously-encountered foes. The game is linear in the sense that the stages are clearly defined in terms of which you’re supposed to progress to but there’s a refreshing element of exploration, tied in large part to the random arrangement of rooms, that empowers the player to be a little foolhardy and explore these new and dangerous areas.

Rogue Legacy

Certainly, there’s incentive to keep diving in to try to do a little better each time; the player can elect to permanently unlock new abilities, upgraded classes and find equipment and spells with which to further augment the character. There’s a definite sense of progression – unlocking a new piece of armour or spell, or getting enough gold to upgrade one’s critical damage – that keeps the player not only striving to unlock these abilities but also to carry on to another play through where they can experiment with them. It’s a game where the player will find themselves grinding away at enemies to both improve their abilities and tactics and also farm enough gold to play with new toys but rare in the sense of being a game where grinding through levels is part of the fun, and not an accepted chore.

Rogue LegacyI found Rogue Legacy’s pseudo-8-bit aesthetic to be charming and a really authentic throwback to the retro era it aims to emulate, with a certain Castlevania feel with a modern twist. The game is colourful but also atmospheric and with personality. It’s slightly cartoony and whimsical but with enough detail and variation to keep interest. Some of the more visual character traits play with the aesthetic too, adding to the game’s innate charm.

Another key part of the game’s appeal is its excellent score – again harking back to the glory days of 2D platformers but with enough personality and tunefulness to stick in the player’s head. It’s an accomplished soundtrack that really personifies the “feel” of the game and I, for one, really loved it.

Rogue Legacy

One thing I’d have liked to see, and maybe will in a sequel, is some form of co-operative or combative multiplayer; the former especially with a game like this. But overall I was thoroughly impressed with Rogue Legacy and I’ll be keeping an eye on the developer’s further titles and for more games like this. I’ve rediscovered a love for platform games of Rogue Legacy‘s ilk and Rogue Legacy is only the first barrage against the itch!

Buy Rogue Legacy on Steam here; also available on GOG and other good online storefronts, as well as PS4/Vita.

Gaming, Reviews

Review: Rayman Origins

Rayman OriginsNostalgia is a great thing, especially when it revives an interest in something I’d not experienced since my childhood. A good friend of mine recently recommended platform game Rayman Origins to me and I jumped in – Rayman was a franchise I’d not dipped into since the original game for the PlayStation. I expected good things and wasn’t disappointed.

As a pure, old-school platformer, Rayman Origins features a simple premise: Rayman (or the character you elect to play as; a selection is unlocked as you progress) must free as many Electoons from their cages as possible to restore the balance of the game world. These cages are usually hidden in secret areas of levels or amongst elaborate traps and puzzles. Additional Electoons can be freed by completing each stage to a certain degree of competency measured in the number of “lums” collected; I frequently called the lums “tings” in error in a nostalgic callback to my time playing the original game.


Rayman Origins is not a perfect game, but gets a lot right (and a lot wrong, but I shall discuss that later). Artistically, it’s a standout title that I can’t commend highly enough. The graphics are joyous and  whimsical, slightly cartoony and giving the impression almost of a “kids game” when it’s anything but. I really enjoyed experiencing some truly beautifully sculpted levels. The cel-shaded animation style is refreshing, crisp and engaging. Vivid colours and exciting effects drew me in and kept me playing, as traversing frankly beautifully layered levels was simply enjoyable. Standing out for me was the “Gourmand Land” levels that are a juxtaposition of ice-cold and red-hot, but avoid the typical snowman and lava tropes in an inventive, whimsical and fun way – instead of dodging lava monsters and snowmen the character glides through levels filled with dragon waiters, lemons on forks and giant chilli-fuelled heat streams. One overall theme I didn’t really approve of was the overall raunchiness in the design of the fairies that granted additional powers.

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