Thursday, June 27, 2013

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Cut a Few Limbs Off of The Family Tree With Cellar Door Games' Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy title screen
Janine "Iris Ophelia" Hawkins' ongoing review of gaming and virtual world style

There's an interesting new game available today, and although it might seem like nothing special at first blush, it's definitely not your parents' action platformer. In Cellar Door Games' Rogue Legacy your goal (at least in the short-term) is to die. Die splendidly, die stupidly, die often. Just make sure that you die with a few coins in your pocket to pass down to your children so that they'll be better equipped than you were.

... Because they're the ones you'll be playing as next.


Rogue Legacy is a "rogue lite", an offshoot of the increasingly fragmented roguelike genre in which procedurally generated maps and permanent character death are staples. If you're not used to these games that might sound incredibly frustrating, but their charm is in how diverse and surprising they can be. Success requires equal parts skill and luck, and even the tiniest amount of progress can be tremendously rewarding.

Rogue :Legacy heir

Rogue Legacy takes this a step further. The characters you play are not random strangers, but successors in a long line of heroes, with different classes and skills available to them. It's not just skills that separate sibling A from sibling B, though; almost every character you can choose from has more than a few pros and cons. An exceptionally strong heroine might also be nearsighted, or colorblind, or even have certain phobias, all of which manifest in some way while you're playing. It might be a filter effect over what you see, it might be a simple change in how you move, or it might even change entire features of the game, like mapping an area. There seem to be dozens of these character traits, and they help keep the game fresh and entertaining on top of the random dungeons the game generates for you each time you start a new hero.

Rogue legacy stats card

Of course this is essentially an RPG too, so you'll be upgrading your characters, their equipment, and the resources available to them as you proceed. That means that even the absolute sloppiest players (like myself) can make steady progress that will carry on to the following generations of heroes. More hit points, more mana, and access to features like map-locking are some key examples, but there's loads more the further you advance in the game.

You can snag a copy of Rogue Legacy on Steam for $14.99 or download the demo if you want to try it for yourself first. Although it's currently only available for Windows, Cellar Door Games has mentioned that they intend to release Mac and Linux compatible versions as well.

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Mixed reality iris 2013Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.


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