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Rogue Legacy 2: Beginner’s guide

After almost 10 years since the first game and a long time in early access, Rogue Legacy 2 has officially been released to the world. This title was one of the early pioneers of the roguelite genre, and carved out its own place in the space thanks to a unique style of progression and in-game justification for repeating near-endless runs over and over. Despite the length of time we’ve had to wait for the sequel, hardly any game has really attempted to copy what the original Rogue Legacy did, meaning those who missed out on the first game or haven’t played it in many years won’t have quite as easy a time jumping straight into the sequel and completing runs.

As is the case with most roguelites (or roguelikes), death is all part of the experience. However, Rogue Legacy 2 makes each run matter even if you don’t make it past a single boss. There are a bunch of returning mechanics and features to remember, plus a host of improvements and new additions to wrap your head around. The sooner you can do that, the easier your journey will be to conquering all the secrets this game has within its shifting walls. We’ve taken all the lessons our ancestors learned to build up this ultimate beginner’s guide for surviving the deadly dungeons ahead of you in Rogue Legacy 2.

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Learn your fundamentals

Selecting an heir in rogue legacy 2.
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Let’s start simple. Rogue Legacy 2 is a 2D side-scrolling roguelite that focuses on your current hero attempting to get as deep into the randomly generated castle as possible before dying. The main choice you have when starting every run is which heir to the past, deceased character you will choose to continue on their legacy and make the next attempt. You get three choices before each run, all with their own name, class, talent, spells, and traits. All of these are important to consider before picking your successor.

Classes are the major factor here. The class a character is decides what weapon they will use, such as a sword, bow, or axe. It also determines their starting health, mana, and what talent they can have. Finally, all classes have a passive ability, such as the Bard having Performer, which causes downstrikes to stack a Dance buff up to five times. Each Dance stack increases their damage by 15%, but the buff is lost once you touch the ground. There are 15 total classes, so plenty to experiment with.

Talents are the special skill each character has just one of on a run. They cost mana to use, like spells, but usually synergize with that specific class. An example would be the Ronin’s Immortal Kotetsu talent. This allows you to teleport a set distance, while dealing damage to any enemy that is between your starting and ending point.

Spells are exactly what they sound like: You use some mana to cast a damaging spell. Spells are all random, and not tied to any class, but do deal more damage depending on your character’s intelligence stat. These can be simple spells like Fireball, or more unique ones like Magic 8 Ball that deals more damage after bouncing off the floor or a wall before hitting an enemy.

Last up, we have traits. These were included in the first game, but there are way more in Rogue Legacy 2. These can be positive or negative, but the negative ones offer bonus gold for taking them. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to see the specifics of a trait until you pick it at least once, though you can usually get a good idea, if not full picture, of what a trait is just based on the name. Colorblind, for example, is pretty self-explanatory and low risk, but also only gives you a 10% boost to gold you collect. On the other hand, Compulsive Gambling gives you a much better 25% increase to gold, but randomizes how much gold chests have, which could easily make that increase a detriment in the end. Depending on your goal for that run, traits should be a big factor in which character you pick.

Finally, there’s one major new combat mechanic worth highlighting aside from you usual jumping, slashing, and magic blasting. That is the new downstrike move we mentioned earlier. This is a universal move for all classes, and is your pogo bounce from DuckTales or Shovel Knight. This is almost more of a movement tool than an offensive move because of it not really dealing much damage, but lets you stay mobile, airborne, and fast thanks to it bouncing you off of enemies, destructible objects in the environment, and even traps like spikes to avoid damage. It is great when trying to control a crowd, or reposition and need extra clearance to get over a large enemy without taking damage. It is also essential to get good at to find secret areas and treasures in some spots.

Pick the best upgrades first

A castle-themed upgrade tree in Rogue Legacy 2.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Every roguelike handles progression, or the lack thereof, differently. In Rogue Legacy 2, everything comes down to how you spend the gold you earn during your run to upgrade your castle. Different nodes on what is essentially an upgrade tree will give you different bonuses, advantages, unlocks, and more. Technically nothing on this list is bad to get, or will make your runs worse or harder, but there are some you definitely want to prioritize getting first while gold is at its hardest to collect, and to make future upgrades come much easier.

Some upgrades only require you to buy them once and they’re done, while others are unlocked first and then can be invested in further to improve whatever it is they are giving you. Options include new classes, NPCs, areas, shops, and passive buffs to your character’s stats. For upgrades with multiple levels, each further level costs more gold investment, but more than that, every upgrade you buy also increases the cost of all other upgrades. You can think of it how spending Souls works in a Souls game, where leveling up one stat makes your next level, even in a different stat, cost more.

The Living Safe

Because of all this, the absolute first priority for your upgrades must be getting the Living Safe, also called the Offshore Bank Account, as fast as you possibly can. You will need to unlock the Ranger class and an ability to reach this part of the unlock tree, but it is worth going through those first to get this straight away. We mentioned that the gold you collect during a run is what you’re able to spend on upgrades, but any leftover gold you don’t, or can’t, spend before going into your next run normally is lost to Charon upon starting the run. With Living Safe, though, you get to carry over a percentage of that gold to add to however much loot you make on that next run. It won’t be much, but every coin you can save is important to progressing in Rogue Legacy 2.

After that, the Scribe’s Office and Courthouse are great buffs to the Living Safe, with the former increasing the amount you save between runs by 4% and the latter increasing the total gold it can hold. The last gold-related upgrade worth alternating upgrades into is the Massive Vault, which just makes your overall gold gain increase by 5% per upgrade across all characters and runs.

Blacksmith and Enchantress later

Buying armor from a blacksmith.
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Two other upgrades to keep your eye on are the Blacksmith and Enchantress unlocks, but you don’t need these until you come across your first armor blueprint or rune. Before you have either of these items, having those shops open won’t give you anything, so you’re better off spending elsewhere.

The Blacksmith takes blueprints you find and makes new gear you equip that gives different buffs to your stats, for a cost of course. You can buy new weapons, helmets, chest pieces, capes, and bands that apply buffs to all characters going forward. As you find better blueprints, better and more expensive gear will become available to equip in the Fashion Chambers.

Buying runes from an enchantress.
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The Enchantress lets you equip Runes to your character, which also apply permanent buffs to your future runs. Runes are typically found in hidden Fairy Chests that are locked unless you complete specific requirements displayed when you enter a room with one. These can be little time trials or combat challenges. If you want to be able to equip more Runes at a time, you will want to invest in the Etching Chambers upgrade as well.

Prioritize unlocking all classes next

With those upgrades out of the way, your next order of business should be to unlock all the classes. Rogue Legacy 2 has a total of 15 unique classes to unlock and play with, and unlocking one will permanently add it to the random pool of possible characters you can get when starting each run. You will likely find one, or one kind, of class you prefer, but no class is bad in this game. If only for variety’s sake, it’s fun to at least give them all a try to see how they change up the game.

You don’t need to clear every room

A knight hiding under a wooden platform.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Once you’re roaming through the maze-like halls and dungeons in Rogue Legacy 2, you might automatically assume you need to beat every enemy in every room before moving on. In many roguelikes, that’s true — they lock you in until either you or everything else dies. That’s not the case in this game, however, and you can freely escape a dangerous room just by passing through an exit. While you shouldn’t do this much early on since you will want more practice with the combat and movement, you’ll later find that normal mob fights are more trouble than they’re worth. Gold and health drops aren’t super common, and unless you’re specifically grinding for gold, you will just get chipped away at it until you die. If you’re doing boss runs especially, passing by these minor mobs is the best way to go, even if you take a hit or two in the process.

Seek out the Heirlooms

Heirlooms are a new type of collectible in Rogue Legacy 2. At launch, there are only a few to start out with, but more will be added over time. These objects not only have a little bit of lore attached for those interested but also give you new abilities. To find them, you need to locate their unique rooms, which you can identify by them being marked with an orange candle when you open your map. These rooms have a statue you can use to recover your HP and MP, as well as transport you to a little challenge area. If you can complete all the rooms in this bespoke area, you will be rewarded with one of the Heirlooms.

Find the Pizza Girl

Pizza girl offering to open a teleporter.
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A pizza deliver girl is a special NPC in Rogue Legacy 2 that is one of the most important for making progress later on in the game. Rogue Legacy 2, like the first game, is broken up into different biomes that have a rough order to them in terms of how you should progress. However, being a roguelike, by default you will always have to start from the first biome and work your way through to the later ones. Unless you pay a fee to prevent the world from resetting between runs, in which case your map will still be unlocked from the previous runs and you can teleport to wherever you’d been prior, the only way to keep these teleporters open to future biomes is by finding Maria, aka Pizza Girl.

She will always appear in the Axis Mundi biome, so make sure to talk to her when you manage to reach this area. It is a straight shot of a zone, and she will be behind a door in the upper right. Once you speak to her there, she will appear on the dock between runs. Just like everything else in Rogue Legacy 2, however, unlocking new teleporters isn’t free. Unlocking Axis Mundi’s teleporter, for example, costs 1,500 gold, with all later ones increasing in price. Spending to unlock them all is well worth it, though. Being able to skip one, two, or more zones to finally get to that one area you’re working on, without wasting any time or damage to get there, is priceless.

Make use of House Rules if necessary

A menu of accessibility options.
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Finally, Rogue Legacy 2 has included plenty of accessibility options to make the game much more approachable to people of different skill levels and abilities. Called House Rules, these options can be tweaked to do things like increase your character’s power, lower enemy HP and damage, disable contact damage, let you fly, and more. These can be altered at any time, and are a fantastic way to make Rogue Legacy 2 a more palatable experience if the default difficulty is just too much.

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Jesse Lennox
Jesse Lennox loves writing, games, and complaining about not having time to write and play games. He knows the names of more…
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