Rogue Legacy Introduced Me to Indie Games in a Great Way
Rogue Legacy was really my first foray into the world of Steam. I made an account years ago but never did anything with it. I briefly dabbled with a few games but the recent resurgence of gaming in my life prompted me to check out more of what Steam has to offer, then I heard about this specific game. It went up on one of Steam’s notorious sales and I picked it up, along the way updating my steam account. Rogue Legacy’s initial appeal to me is definitely rooted in nostalgia, but it also came into my life based on a new found curiosity about indie games. I had spent all of my recent memories of gaming playing only the biggest and best that my console had to offer without ever exploring the Xbox Live Arcade or any of Steam. I enjoy big budget games, but iteration has staled them to a degree due o risk aversion and I wanted to see what smaller passion projects from lean and mean game development teams looked like.
Rogue Legacy blew me away from the get go, I only recently got to give it the time it deserved though.
As a gateway into the world of games that don’t feature high end graphics and often pay homage to the greats of the past while refining them, Rogue Legacy was a perfect introduction. I’m not crazy familiar with what defines a rogue-like games, but I have enjoyed quite a few of them. Run around in a dungeon killing monsters with a sword, all the while improving your characters stats is a great formula for me having a good time. Rogue Legacy gives it an interesting spin by making you play a different character every time you make a run, the son or daughter of your previous character.
There’s several classes to explore, they’re similar with little tweaks that make them just different enough. Characters also feature little quirks in addition to the classes to change up each experience more, great examples are making one character not perceive pain or having them imagine enemies that aren’t really there. At first, I thought the combat based ones were all just about the same, the magic users were too fragile for me to play as fast as I wanted, but then I found myself making my best runs and beating nearly every boss with the Shinobi class. I started focusing on the class differences much more after I shined with the Shinobi and found that even though every class looks almost identical, the subtle changes could lead to drastically different paths to success.
The gameplay is a huge aspect of this and every game for me, and Rogue Legacy feels tight and amazing the whole time. The lack of focus on stunning graphics and innovative gameplay mechanics led them to honing a more simple game than my usual affair and results is a higher quality project because every aspect that they included was crafted to perfection. The procedurally generated castle added great variety and, when you’re really making a push to beat a boss, you can lock it in place by sacrificing some gold. This forces you to make a choice as the bosses are the biggest gold drops in the game, is an easier time getting to the boss worth only reaping 60% of the rewards?
The game is rather simple as so much of what it offers comes from tight gameplay. There is a story, but it’s pretty simple and not entirely essential to enjoying the game. The developers did add parts of their story to the game as well though, and the hints at their progression as a game development team are far more interesting to me than the character’s.
Throughout the castle and surrounding areas, you can find rooms dominated by large portraits and nothing else. These portraits depict screen shots from the team’s previous games and offer a description of the game as well as a snapshot of the state of the developer during the games development. They had a variety of games featured with development times ranging from months to only a few days and described the reaction the games received from critics and players. I believe one game portrait also was described as being potentially the studio’s last game as they ran out of capital. These rooms offer dramatic and interesting looks at the struggles of an indie game development studio inside a contrasting game without much drama. While progressing through Rogue Legacy and encountering these story portraits though, you get the feeling that Rogue Legacy’s success has given Cellar Door Games another lease on life to keep doing what they love, and that alone made the game feel special and interesting.
Final Thoughts on Rogue Legacy
I loved every moment of Rogue Legacy and am well through a second play through in their New Game + mode. I have already recommended it to a few people and have had a great response from all of them. If you’re getting a little tired of the iterative cycles of AAA developers and are curious about what else is out there in gaming, Rogue Legacy is a prime example to experience the the smaller scale of game development and start a new journey.