Rogue Legacy 2 Review – Successful Succession

The original Rogue Legacy released in 2013 is one of the finest examples of a roguelite, and now it has a sequel.

First released in Steam Early Access in 2020, Rogue Legacy 2 is now ready to continue the legacy of its predecessor with a full release.

And thankfully, developers Cellar Door Games succeeds in improving every aspect of the original.


You might not notice this by looking at the screenshots at first glance, but Rogue Legacy 2 has an art style switch. Instead of 2D pixel art, the game is now using 3D models all rendered to look perfectly flat and retain that cartoony aesthetic of the original. The background meanwhile is all hand-drawn art.

And it works wonderfully well. The fact that it’s hard to tell if it’s not 2D sprites by looking at the art style and animations prove that.

There’s plenty of nice detail when you stop to see it, like how indirect lighting from fireplaces bounces off an enemy’s metal armour. Yet it feels like you still playing a 2D side-scrolling platformer, with the animations and graphical effects having this flat and jerky (in a good way) feeling to it.

Nothing has been compromised with the move to 3D models, it just adds more nice stuff to look at.

Though it overused the moody orange tinge, with one too many biomes sharing a similar colour palate.

The audio cues and sound effects are clear and distinct to help you traverse the randomly-assorted rooms of death.

And the music is amazing. Each biome has at least two different tracks, and since you will be listening to these songs over and over again through your many attempts, it’s nice that the soundtrack is chock-full of bangers. A lot of melancholic gothic tunes, with a hint of a shredding electric lute (guitar) here and there.


In Rogue Legacy 2, you are tasked to explore the ever-changing dungeons of a fallen kingdom and defeat the evil that lurks in there. Should they perish, the burden to continue this mission falls on their chosen heir. This keeps on repeating until you eventually beat the game.

Each heir can have cool and/or weird traits. Some might suffer from panic attacks, which darkens the screen when they get hit. Some are nostalgic and see the world through a sepia filter. Some might just be blue. Some are vampires. Others can be clowns. The many traits can be advantageous, or a hindrance, to how you can progress, and it’s part of the randomness the game offers.

Despite the genealogy aspect, traits are all entirely random. You’re not passing down particular traits, so you’re completely free to mix things up from time to time by picking oddballs just to see what happens.

Invest In Yourself For The Future

Whoever your chosen successor is for the next run, they will inherit all the money you drop once you’re dead and you can spend that to improve your manor. The manor is the physical manifestation of the game’s persistent skill tree. So investing in gold in the math club give you more points in intelligences, installing a fruit juice bar gives you more HP, and upgrading the laundromat, apparently a front for the Dark Arts guild (because they need to clean the stains) gives you more damage on weapon critical hits.

The manor starts small, but slowly you get to see your humble abode being built to be this one huge castle residing aside from a cliff. And you can even see it in the background when you’re off to the docks to begin your next run, which is a cool detail.

But there is a catch to the money. You cannot hoard it. To begin each run, you have to pay a price to your boat driver Charon. And that price is 100% of all the gold you have. Oof.

What makes Rogue Legacy 2 a roguelite rather than a roguelike is that it has a strong emphasis on progression by way of the manor upgrades. That persistent skill tree will ensure you will be getting stronger over time and able to keep up with the dangers within this fallen kingdom you have to traverse through.

Don’t Bring Bad Habits, Break The Cycle

The main gameplay loop in Rogue Legacy 2 is pretty much similar to what you saw in the original. But there are many slight changes and tweaks that has made this roguelite more accessible and completable for the average player who’s no good at 2D-style platformers.

For one, having to forfeit leftover gold feels less bad now. You can unlock the living safe that, through some creative accounting, lets you keep a percentage of gold for later use. And there’s another upgrade that lets you get bonuses based on how much gold you’ve paid to Charon, because it’s now a charitable action.

One of the biggest gripes I had with the original Rogue Legacy is how this particular mechanic works, and I’m glad that it has made Charon’s toll fees not feeling as punishing as it was.

Also, all traits that give you a disadvantage will provide higher gold bonuses. Now there’s an incentive to play as the one-hit-and-you’re-dead character, or the one who has vertigo which then flips the screen upside down.

That said, you still have to make meaningful progress and bring back a bigger stack of gold at the of a run as you keep levelling up. Upgrades get more expensive (justified in-game as “inflation”) to scale alongside your current level.

Later in the game, you also find a way to permanently unlock a shortcut to go to the different biome entrances. A really handy feature as you reach mid-game.

Play Your Class

Rogue Legacy 2 also introduces classes, proper classes. Not everyone carries a sword anymore except for the humble Knight class. Classes doesn’t just confer different bonuses and stats (which they still do). They now have a unique starting weapon, talent and playstyle.

The Ranger lets you shoot arrows from a distance with free aim. The bard is a ridiculously technical class where you have to master the art of spin kicks as their flute don’t deal damage directly. You shoot a ball of melody and spin kick that to deal area-of-effect damage.

Not only that, each of the weapons has a skill crit, a guaranteed critical hit designed to make you have to play that class as it was designed for. The Astromancer’s black hole deals skill crit to enemies that reach the center of said hole, so you have to be up-close and personal to deal big damage.

Inversely, the Ronin deals skill crit when the attack connects from the very tip of your long hitbox, so you have keep away and gauge your attack range correctly.

Meanwhile, the Barbarian always skill crits their ground attacks, so you want to stay grounded as much as possible and whack enemies with big hits. It’s brainless and easy to crit but balances out as your aerial attacks are weak.

And then you have the Pirate, which on paper sounds bonkers and broken. They have a melee and a ranged attack. Their talent lets you ride a pirate ship that continuously shoot cannons which also flies, and you can hop of it so it shoots at the same location during the duration of it being active. But it balances out by having a very hard skill crit where it doesn’t work with the Pirate’s playstyle at all- unless you can somehow play a dashing pirate that loves dashing attacks for the skill crits.

The class system adds a new depth and also complexity in Rogue Legacy 2. There are more things to learn, and more things to mess up. But the variety helps keep the game from becoming stale.

You Like Metroidvania, Don’t You?

If Rogue Legacy had four biomes, the sequel here has six. The room layouts may be random, but the general map has some parts of it anchored. After a few more runs you should be able to tell which direction will eventually lead you to that specific biome.

And they not only look different, they play differently as well. Citadel Agatha gives you a vanilla Metroidvania dungeon crawl, but then go to Axis Mundi and it’s essentially two long and gigantic rooms.

And conversely, the Sun Tower will have you not travel horizontally, but vertically, involving a lot of potential platforming mishaps. Juggling yourself on a rotating platform that will hurt you if you’re not spin kicking it is quite the challenge.

Make no mistake, Rogue Legacy 2 is still hard. This game will test your 2D platforming prowess and your ability to survive a bullet hell, and it will kill you multiple times. It never feels unfair- all moves are telegraphed and predictable. But it definitely can feel overwhelming, especially when multiple enemies with multiple projectiles are filling the room.

This will become more apparent in the late game, where later biomes require you to be absolutely comfortable with spin kicking, dashing and jumping in long strings.

Rogue Legacy 2 makes an effort to be a bit more Metroidvania by having heirlooms. These are new abilities that unlock permanently once received, and lets you easily access the other biomes. To get the heirlooms, you need to find them (which involves looking for clues), and once found, you need to pass a test, a tutorial of sorts, before you are worthy of getting that new ability.

Also like a Metroidvania, it’s possible to sequence break. If somehow you can fly (either from a relic or you turn on House Rules), no one’s stopping you to go that higher-level area that requires a double jump to pass the entrance.

In This House, I Make The Rules

One of the coolest addition to Rogue Legacy 2 is House Rules. This is a suite of difficulty modifiers where you can fine-tune exactly how easy or hard you want to make the game. You can reduce enemy health and damage down or crank them up. You can enable free-flight to pass through any platforming challenges.

I like this way of handling difficulty. It could’ve been labelled as an accessibility option, but calling it House Rules is a great call. It shows that any difficulty switch is a valid way to play for anyone and you won’t be judged should you want to bump the difficulty down a bit. The game never judges you for doing so. And so should others, the only giveaway is the UI showing that House Rules are enabled.

And on the other end, hardcore players can boast their masochistic tendencies as well with House Rules, even letting you show the numerical value of how hard you’ve cranked it up. Anything above 5000 shows that person is making it hard for themself. It’s a win-win situation, it’s great.

The game can be a slog, in that you will need to make many, many runs just to get enough upgrades to pass a diifuclty hump. The level indicator can be misleading. You can see an enemy’s level, but comparing it to yours won’t give you the right idea. This is due to your level also counting all the upgrades that do not increase stats. I have to beeline in increasing a stat to ensure I can go into a biome and comfortably one-shot most normal enemies for a comfortable dungeon run.

Relics Of The Past

One other new feature in Rogue Legacy is the introduction of relics. These powerful artefact confers bonuses to the current run, but requires Resolve to equip. Some can add additional damage or beneficial properties, others can be trade-offs (the ability to fly, but take double damage for example), others are outright cursed, requiring you to fulfill a condition before you take a hit or you’re dead.

You can equip multiple relics, but once your Resolve drops lower than 100% you have less health to work with, so it balances out that way.

If you’re lucky, some heirs will start with one relic- an antique- giving you a possible advantage for that run.

This addition makes the game more in line with other rougelikes, and gives you an incentive to do longer dungeon runs so you can find these hidden around in the world.


It should take you about 25 hours to beat Rogue Legacy 2. As for me who’s a total pleb in this genre, that extended to about 30 hours. There are a lot of game to be played here. Most of it involves doing the same thing over and over, but not the exact same thing. That’s how roguelike and rougelites do.

There are optional challenges for folks looking to go for high scores in the form of Scars of Erab. For the completionists, the unlocks are way too many to unlock in full just in the first playthrough, some are even reserved for after you beat the game the first time.

Once the game ends and you reach the ending, there’s New Game+ waiting. New Game+ will require you to make the world harder by selecting a burden. You can choose your poison, either stack the same kind of modifiers (make the enemies incredibly beefy with HP, for example), or dabble a bit here and there.

A New Game+1 means you have to have at least one burden toggled on. And a New Game+10 means there are at least 10. So more ways to show off how much suffering you can go through/how good you are with these sorts of games.

There are actually new enemies, even new boss variants, for you to tackle in New Game+. There’s also more equipment to unlock and new lore to find. It’s a well-thought-out addition, giving hardcore fans more reason to keep playing long after the credits rolled.

If you really like this pizza flavour, you’ll be glad that you can keep eating more and more after the first meal.

Personal Enjoyment

I love the world of Rogue Legacy. It’s an anachronistic fantasy world, with many of its out-of-place elements being played for laughs, if you read all the flavour texts. It’s a game where one you can find a legendary weapon that’s a pizza and you can get killed by enemies with hilarious names like a McRib, a Skranger Danger or a Skubidydoobidyboobat.

But it’s also a somber, grimdark and corrupted world filled with despair and agony, if you choose to read the lore dumps. If you like lore like the Dark Souls series offers, you’re in for a treat.

The game’s writing manged to be goofy and still tell a serious story. And it hits a nice balance between the two which is amazing. It also has a nice ending, something fans of the first game should see.

The variety that Rogue Legacy 2 brings from its new classes helps keeps each run fresh- it took me past the 20-hour mark before I feel I have exhausted and seen every random trait, spell and other bonuses from an heir.

But the game does feel like it’s running too long for my liking. The levels are decently sized, it’s just that for me (who’s no good at 2D platformers) I have to make a lot of effort trying to grind enough gold to upgrade and overpower the enemies.

If there’s a sore spot, it’s when you successfully transition into a new biome. I found myself too often stuck between two biomes where the first one I should be able to clear but not strong enough and doesn’t reward good enough gold to suffer through it, yet the new biome is ridiculously challenging at first and you barely can pass a few rooms yet the payout is much better to level up. Maybe something can still be addressed in this particular part of the progression.

The game is beatable for anyone this time around thanks to House Rules, but still, a good chunk of time investment is required to beat the game if you’re not a skilled player.

I might have found a couple of sore spots during my first playthrough of Rogue Legacy 2, but overall I still enjoyed it nonetheless. Unlike the previous game, at my skill level, I can actually beat this game this time. If you’re a beginner like me, the game can still be fun and worth your time.

I can see hardcore players having a much better time than I did though.


Rogue Legacy 2 is everything you know and love from Rogue Legacy, but more. It’s not trying to reinvent the series, but rather to continue the legacy of its predecessor by expanding and improving the core formula in almost every way.

The sequel also provides options to cater to both beginners and veterans. That two years of Early Access, developing the game with the feedback from the community, has worked out well.

Rogue Legacy 2, the heir to the rougelite king, is one that should not go unnoticed. It’s a good indie game.

Played on PC based on version 1.0, review code provided by the developer


Rogue Legacy 2

Rogue Legacy 2 is everything you know and love from Rogue Legacy, but more. But it also provides options to cater to both beginners and veterans. That two years of Early Access, developing the game with the feedback from the community, has worked out well for the sequel.

Rogue Legacy 2, the heir to the rougelite king, is one that should not go unnoticed. It's a good indie game.

  • Presentation 9
  • Gameplay 9
  • Content 9
  • Personal Enjoyment 8
  • Design 8

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