I have high hopes for Rogue Legacy 2. When developer Cellar Door Games announced its deserved, but unexpected sequel back in April, I didn’t realize how excited I’d be to play it. The 2013 original, with its then-unique progression, was my gateway to the roguelite and is still one of the best blends of an RPG and a run-based roguelite structure.
That’s high praise, and it begs the question: How do you top that? In the seven years since Rogue Legacy launched, the roguelite genre has expanded. Countless games have riffed on the blend of run-based Roguelike mechanics and RPG-style progression it helped popularize. What could Cellar Door Games possibly do to make its sequel feel as fresh and revelatory as the original? After spending more than six hours with the current Early Access version of Rogue Legacy 2, the answer isn’t clear. The game doesn’t try to meet those expectations.
Rogue Legacy 2 is building out, not up. The sequel expands on the ideas that made Rogue Legacy stand out years ago, like adding more ways to earn incremental progress between runs and creating flashier, visual-forward family traits. However, the overall experience hews very closely to the Rogue Legacy fans know. In each Rogue Legacy run, you control a new generation of a long-time adventurer’s bloodline, who all explore the same mysterious, dangerous castle and usually die in the process. Between each adventurer’s journey, you have the ability to spend the gold their predecessor amassed to upgrade the family castle, improving the prospects (and stats) of future generations.