Rogue Legacy 2 is an action roguelite with a heavy focus on sending children into fraught platforming battles. That’s not as dark and twisted as it sounds. As the legacy part of the title implies, the key thing about this game is that it’s all about family. Every time one of your adventurers dies (and they will), you get to take control of one of their progeny for your next run. The thing is, your genealogy isn’t great, and each of those kids has some kind of quirk to them. Sometimes that means they’re only able to see in black and white, sometimes it means they’re giant, and sometimes it means they fart instead of casting magic.
If you’ve played the original game, you’ll be familiar with the basic gameplay here. You run around, jump a lot, try and hit enemies, fail, and die. The moment-to-moment gameplay feels very similar, it’s still infuriatingly enticing, combat still feels delightfully old-school, and it’s still incredibly hard. However, the difficulty is one of the biggest changes, because Rogue Legacy 2 adds in House Rules.
House Rules are a collection of difficulty options designed to help more people enjoy the game. You can alter enemy health and damage, turn off contact damage, and even enable flight mode if you’re not a fan of platforming. It’s not the biggest change for this sequel, but it might be one of the most important ones.
Outside of that, there’s a lot… just so much of Rogue Legacy 2 to play. There are more classes, more spells, more areas, and more bosses. Not only that, but the story is easier to follow and develops over multiple playthroughs – you can unlock lore by helping to heal scars you find around the world, and you talk to a lot more Gods than before too.
There are also more mechanics. The first of these is something called resolve, which is a new currency of sorts that you can spend throughout your adventure to unlock powerful relics. Relics often grant huge buffs to various stats or attacks. You can find relics that set your weapon on fire, or even ones that will resurrect you if once you die. It’s a fun balance trying to figure out how long you should hold out before spending resolve.
While Rogue Legacy 2 still procedurally generates the world for each new attempt, there are now Metroidvania elements incorporated into this. Some of the areas in Rogue Legacy 2 can’t be accessed properly until you’ve unlocked certain skills. You find these by completing tough challenges dotted through the map, but once you’ve got them once, they’re unlocked permanently. This, on top of upgrading your castle, gear, and a few other bits, makes for a roguelite that offers a very tangible sense of progression beyond just your own skill as a player.
If there’s one thing that ardent roguelite fans might about Rogue Legacy 2, it’s that the combat is rather simplistic. It’s still fun to take part in, but it lacks some of the variety offered by games like Dead Cells or Hades. The game can also feel a bit grindy at times as you work towards some of the more expensive unlocks, though the House Rules can help to offset that a little if you’re trying to speed things up.