Almost a decade ago, Cellar Door Games burst onto my PC and millions of others with a game that arguably changed the industry. After checking in a couple of times in its two-year early access run, I am confident thatRogue Legacy 2 is a sequel that is not only a blast to play, but builds and improves upon its predecessor in every way.
We missed you Sony! ❤️
Rogue Legacy 2 is now available on the PlayStation Store.
And for PS Plus Extra subscribers and above, you can enjoy, completely for free!
Similar to the first adventure, Rogue Legacy 2 throws you into the middle of a dungeon-diving story with generations of history and a mystery full of personality and excellent writing. I don’t believe you come to a rogue-like adventure game for the story (initially, I didn’t). Still, I quickly found myself reading every last bit of lore and speaking to every character, so I dig into the witty, charismatic writing at every turn.
Like the first game, Rogue Legacy 2 allows you to dungeon dive and slash your way through baddies and bosses with an endless array of heroes. The class system has been expanded to everything from a Boxer to a Ranger, Assassin, and even a Chef who waves around a hot pan that burns enemies. All of this creates a beautiful chance to play this game for hours upon hours without feeling stale.
History Doesn’t Repeat Itself
The gameplay loop in Rogue Legacy 2 is mainly unchanged; you pick a class and new heir (one of three characters) and begin your journey to collect gold and see how far into the world you can go. Crafted stages and areas with randomized order give the game a procedurally generated feel that keeps things fresh with various battles and platforming, whether you turn left, right, up, or down towards the next screen. Those are the basics, but the game goes much deeper than that.
For starters, the aforementioned heirs become increasingly diverse and, in my experience, increasingly more fun to play. Each class has its own skill and a randomized spell that can range anywhere from a shockwave to a fireball, a poison spore, or a magic 8-ball that bounces around the screen. On top of that, there is a random assortment of traits that could be as simple as your heir being small or large and others that will give you a boost or create a more difficult new run.
And this is just a fraction of the setup for each run in Rogue Legacy 2. The castle and hub-world are massive this time, with many characters and unlockable skills you will slowly accumulate the more you play. It can seem daunting at first, not knowing where to put your gold or where to focus your time, but after a few hours, I began to tailor some of my earnings to my typical playstyle, and things felt manageable.
Once you dive into the gameplay itself, it’s time to put your investment and skills to the test. Rogue Legacy 2 is a very tight game; the two years of early access and beta testing through the Epic Games store paid off. I have sunk over two dozen hours into the game already, and I have never felt like I was cheated or like the game was unfair. The difficulty progression perfectly matches the progression at your home base and your growing skill level. This is an impressive feat as you often unlock skills like double jumps and dashes requiring more twitch-like reflexes. They’re not only fun to use but essential in later stages.
If you played the first game, you might recognize some enemies. But now, everything feels and looks smoother. It all feels approachable, from the traps firing arrows at you to the biggest boss imaginable. When I failed a run, it was never the game pushing back at me, it was just a learning experience, and that’s what you want from a rogue-like dungeon-crawling game. Your death isn’t a failure; it’s an opportunity. What also feels great is that each class has its own feel, pros and cons, and never feels like the wrong choice. For example, I initially didn’t see how the Gunslinger or Bard was at all effective, but after a couple of short runs with each, I found what made them just as special as the Barbarian or Valkyrie.
Rogue Legacy 2 may have some of the best gameplay loops available today, but it also looks and sounds fantastic. Looking at the game, you can see the love put into this title. Cellar Door Games has outdone itself with a cartoony look that looks like you’re playing a children’s TV show. Every character, whether the Blacksmith or the minor enemies in a snow-covered forest, is drawn and brought to life with eye-catching visuals outlined with thick black lines commonly seen in colouring books.
It doesn’t just help to see what and who you’re fighting in Rogue Legacy 2; audio cues are also important. Without even thinking about it, I instinctively knew that sound that dozens of enemies made before they were ready to attack. This not only helped me become a better player, but it’s also a clear sign of excellent sound design. On top of that, I’ve been humming and bopping my head to the background music for days now. It does its job in every game area, creating an enjoyable atmosphere even if the current run was cut short by a floor trap you happened to miss while dashing toward a chest of loot.
Simply put, Rogue Legacy 2 is a fantastic game. Sure, the difficulty and sometimes repetitive dungeon crawl early on in the game may not be for everyone, but I assure you it’s well worth the investment. The game is a near-perfect example of the difficulty, progression, and skill working hand-in-hand to provide a rewarding experience each time you start a new run.
If you’ve played the first, Rogue Legacy 2 is a no-brainer. If you haven’t, it still is. Cellar Door Games has once again created a game I’ll be considering for years to come.
[The publisher provided a copy of the game for review purposes.]