Rogue Legacy is about to become my “background game.” Basically, the game I play when I’m not playing other games. This is despite it being part of a genre I’ve avoided for years.

Typically I don’t like the idea of a roguelike because I don’t like the idea of losing my experience and equipment after a long slog through an RPG. Maybe I still haven’t warmed up to it because Rogue Legacy technically calls itself a “roguelike-lite.”

Rogue Legacy is a much quicker burn than say, Mystery Dungeon or Nethack. You can run into the castle, die, and restart possibly dozens of times within an hour, somewhat trivializing the sense of loss. There’s also the fact that you don’t really lose money or equipment, just progress, but the point is that Rogue Legacy has taken the most harrowing part of roguelikes and turned it into the most addictive part.

My “background games” tend to be games I can jump into real quick and play in short bursts. Rogue Legacy is exactly this kind of game, but it’s much deeper than a Tetris or other puzzle game. 20 years ago running through intricate maps and dealing with diverse sets of enemies was considered high-end gaming, and now I can blast through that kind of experience in perfectly digestible chunks. Turning something like Castlevania into a quick-fix roguelike with a completely new map every time I start the game is the perfect balance between accessibility, thickness, and replayability. I honestly don’t care when I finish Rogue Legacy because I have a feeling I’ll be playing it for a long time.

A handful of other games seem to have a similar idea, Rogue Legacy seems to have simply made it to release first. A while ago I wrote here about Chasm – another Metroid/Castlevania-style game with randomly generated levels.

FTL is a slightly different case. It’s got the same addictive nature as Rogue Legacy but is a slightly slower burn, being based on exploration and strategy. It’s the kind of game I might start a voyage on once a week instead of once a day. Maybe that’s what normal roguelikes are supposed to be. I was mainly attracted to FTL by its unique take on the roguelike and the role-playing game in general.

Honestly I’m a bit surprised big-budget console games haven’t started to rip off this trend. I could definitely see it becoming a big new thing next-gen.

I think Dead Space 2 (or 3?) has permadeath on the highest difficulty but that’s it. It’d be nice if more mainstream console games at least had some kind of roguelike mode (or even a mode with lives). When you think about it, in the context of console-style play it’s like trying to one-credit clear an arcade game. You end up spending a ton of hours on it because of how many times you try and retry if the game is addictive enough.


  • Man, Guacamelee’s gonna be on Steam too?
  • So the original Kid Icarus is coming to Wii U Virtual Console? People who buy that game should know it’s one of the most unfair in existence, even for an NES game.
  • Eastern European reactions to Company of Heroes 2.
  • In case you don’t already know about the La-Mulana Steam Trading Cards, Playism has a nice comic about it.
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