After several years have passed since the original, Rogue Legacy 2 is upon us, sort of. It’s out in the wild as an Early Access game, and Cellar Door games isn’t approaching this method in the traditional sense. Still, a big slice of game is available right now, giving fans the chance to try out what’s ready so far and offer their opinions directly to the devs. But even early on, Rogue Legacy 2 is a totally massive-feeling sequel to the first, and it’s already jam-packed with Rougelite depth and nuance. And you know what “rogue” means. This is not an easy game.

Rogue Legacy 2 : 5 Beginning Tips

If you’ve played the first Rogue Legacy, you’ll mostly feel at home here. However the number of options and changes is huge, and there are features and mechanics in this game that were not in the previous game at all. And if you’re new and don’t know what’s going on, you definitely might end up looking for some help. And that’s what Prima Games is all about! For me, there were a few key aspects of the early game that felt foundational for having a good time. Check ‘em out:

Related: Baldur's Gate 3 Enters Early Access in September

Master the Downstrike

The first Rogue Legacy had this little downward sword attack that was more meant for opening certain platforms than, well, any other purpose. Rogue Legacy 2 introduces the Downstrike, which is a much beefier, multifunctional tool that is crucial for leveling up as a player. Pressing down and attack in mid-air will make your character do a spin attack, which stays active for a good amount of time. It also has a bouncing effect, which not only works on enemies but also certain parts of the environment. You can use this to navigate, get around enemies, expand your movement options in a bind and more. Figuring out the Downstrike’s utility is super important.

Treat it Like a Shmup

One of the common criticisms I see of Rogue Legacy is that it’s “floaty.” Your character has a pretty high jump, and comes down pretty slowly compared to other action games. This ain’t Mega Man. But this isn’t just a physics mistake or design mishap; the “floating” serves a specific purpose. Projectiles are everywhere on the screen, with enemies more often shooting or throwing stuff at you than charging you (but some do that too). 

Your character jumps high and falls slowly in order to facilitate a shmup-like combat system that emphasizes control over speed. Rogue Legacy 2 is faster than the previous game, but that aspect of the physics is still here, because that’s your primary tool for not getting ventilated by enemy shots. You can alter your direction at will while you’re in the air, and your character’s hitbox is much smaller than its actual model. This is a distinct characteristic you find in games like Galaga, and Rogue Legacy leans into that without drawing attention to it. But just keep in mind that when the screen is full of projectile death, you’re more capable of maneuvering around it than you might think at first.

Get the Safe ASAP

Rogue Legacy is a roguelike game, but it’s more commonly referred to as “roguelite” because there is some permanence to the game if you die. You get to keep your money, and purchase static upgrades and tools before you jump back in for your next run. But before you do that you have to give up anything you have left over. In the first game you could purchase a percentage drop for your entry fee, but in the sequel you can get the Living Safe, which actually stores some of that cash for you instead of just letting you keep it ahead of your next run. That way, even if a run doesn’t go so well you can still set some money aside for your upgrade plans.

Don’t Avoid Troublesome Traits

One key feature in Rogue Legacy is Traits. These are part of your randomized character rolls before each run, in which you get to choose from one of three options. Traits can be both positive or negative, and can really impact how you need to play the game to survive. In the first game, negative Traits often didn’t have any positive aspects, making the really bad ones run-ruining experiences. Now, the kingdom has embraced socialized healthcare a bit, so if you have a Trait that really hinders normal play, you’ll get a proportionate boost to your gold earnings. So even if you end up with the one HP Trait, it’s worth at least giving the run an honest shot for all the potential financial gains.

Try all the Classes

Back in 2013, Rogue Legacy had one character, with one major weapon, and a selection of sub-weapons. Rogue Legacy 2 introduces classes, and at least three of them are available in the initial Early Access offering. Besides the original Knight there’s the Barbarian, the Mage, and the Archer. These classes change your core combat options significantly, opening the door for new kinds of play and approaches for players of varying skill levels. This is a huge deal for this sort of game, and once you get your hands on the class that clicks for you, a tough game can suddenly feel a lot better. More classes will be added as well, so whenever a new one shows up we recommend jumping out of your comfort zone and trying it out.

Have you picked up Rogue Legacy 2 since it came out on Early Access? Or are you waiting to see how it pans out as a sequel first? Are you a fan of the “series,” or is this your first time checking it out? Let us know what your experience with Rogue Legacy is, and if these tips were helpful over at the Prima Games Facebook and Twitter channels!