Rogue Legacy put to the test - heroic death for the whole family
Recently in the family home of those from and to GameStar: The old patriarch's bones have not yet cooled down, the descendants are already rushing to inherit. "Only 120 gold pieces?" Complains one. "That's not even enough for a new sword!" The other two nod in agreement, the dear father is immortalized in the ancestral gallery as "the feeble knight".
The only question left is who will take over the family business of fighting their way through the cursed Hamson Castle in the action platformer Rogue Legacy . The choice falls on Sir Hero. He is color-blind and sees monsters everywhere that are not there, but he has a powerful fire magic and his siblings have only learned to throw daggers. He sets out without a new sword and, less than five minutes later, bites the grass himself. He is the thirtieth offspring of his clan who gives his life in the castle. He won't be the last.
Death of the father, death of the son
In Rogue Legacy, the life expectancy of an average hero can be measured in the single-digit minute range. Actually, our goal is to fight our way through the four sections of a dark castle and kill four infernal bosses - only then does the golden gate in the entrance room open and the walls reveal its secrets. So we hop through trap-infested castle rooms and knock all sorts of monsters out of the way, both the structure of the levels and the opponents (skeletons throwing bones!) Are strikingly reminiscent of old Castlevania times and provide pleasant nostalgia shivers.
But even the bravest warriors can only dream of building the castle in one go. Instead, we set ourselves smaller interim goals with each hero, usually just accumulate as much gold as possible for our descendants. Because Rogue Legacy remains true to the roguelike tradition that once dead heroes stay underground forever and we have to start again afterwards, but not entirely. Because we always continue to play with the heir of the previous hero and gradually upgrade our family home to increase our chances with each attempt. .
Born to be a hero?
However, our heirs do not always find it easy to be a hero. We can choose between three each time, but all of them get their class, a spell and their genetic traits randomly. That might result in an archmage who can switch between spells at once, but has two left hands and cannot use either of them properly. Or how about a paladin who is as short-sighted as it is color-blind, who only perceives its immediate surroundings blurred - and in black and white? But maybe we will also get a powerful dream combination - the random descendants present us with new challenges every time, but also always enable new strategies.
And even the blackest sheep has all the improvements that we bought with their ancestors. We are expanding the family mansion with, among other things, wings for more life points or stronger classes, and we get new equipment from the blacksmith. The various swords and pieces of armor usually just offer better values, bonus properties such as deprivation of life are rather rare. We can use them to improve them with runes, for example, which allow us to do a double jump to reach previously inaccessible spaces - or a five-fold jump if we use the same rune in several objects. Clever: Every time you enter the castle, the gatekeeper unbuttons us all excess coins, so we always have to invest the booty of our predecessor smartly immediately instead of saving long.
Explorer's joys and sorrows
Not only the heirs, but also the loot castle is randomly generated every time. And there is a lot to discover. Well, the thin scraps of story in the form of the unaudited diaries of a previous adventurer leave us rather cold. But we are all the more eager to hunt down new blueprints for the blacksmith or fairy boxes, which we are only allowed to open if we can reach them under certain conditions ("Don't look at the box!"). After a while, however, we recognize certain set pieces again and again, and the opponents are often only newly colored and stronger variants of old enemies - even the four boss monsters.
But that doesn't mean that at some point they will no longer pose a challenge, on the contrary: the bosses in particular, but later also completely normal enemies like to fill half the screen with projectiles, if you don't remember their attack patterns exactly and counter them with lightning-fast reflexes, you will join us soon to his ancestors. After all, for a fee we can try our hand at the same castle again with a new hero in which his ancestor died instead of breaking into a new random layout. Then all opponents are back, but we can target the boss or the fairy box again, which we failed at the first time.
Economical retro charm
Rogue Legacy not only plays like a classic platformer, it looks like it too. The pixelated graphics lack any modern paintwork, but it is precisely because of this that they awaken their nostalgic charm. Sometimes the game rests too much on its retro style: a little more creative opponent design and less sterile environments would have been possible without looking overly modern.
We are also happy about the chiptune catchy tunes in terms of sound, but the faint fighting noises and the lack of voice output leave a lot to be desired. But Rogue Legacy combines the nostalgia for it with a very well thought-out game concept. The uncompromising level of difficulty spurs improving skills and families, and permanent character death never feels like a punishment - our next legacy will only be stronger.