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Videogame: Rogue Legacy

"My duties are to my family... But I am loyal only to myself..."

Rogue Legacy is an indie game by Cellar Door Games, combining Metroidvania with Roguelike elements. The player must explore a procedurally generated castle full of traps and monsters. When he or she inevitably dies, the player then has a choice of which of his or her character's descendants to play next. Each has a different class, subweapon and interesting genetic conditions. Over the course of a few generations, players will build up their base and armory, allowing each new generation to be a little stronger and press a little further into the depths of the ever-changing castle.

A demo is available and can be downloaded here. The full game was released on Steam and on 27 June 2013, and on PS3, PS4, and PS Vita on 29 July 2014.

Tropes to be found in the game:

  • Absurdly High Level Cap: It's not pointless since the New Game+ will keep increasing in difficulty even past where you actually max out, but by the time you've finished upgrading your manor your level will probably be four times what you were at when you first beat the Final Boss. And even when you've bought absolutely everything you can keep nudging your stats upward with no apparent cap (easily past level 500) by beating fairy challenges to collect stat up items.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: Buying a castle upgrade or rune causes the cost of every other one to increase. The cost of your last few stat-ups and runes will be astronomical.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: The Blacksmith when you start building your castle.
    The Blacksmith can build the finest equipment in the world, turning you into a veritably virtuous violent-villain vaporizer.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: The fate of anyone who drinks from the Fountain of Youth. Johannes implies that the castle's bosses — Khidr, Alexander, Ponce De Leon, and Herodotus — were all heroes who drank from the Fountain, only to fall to its curse and become giant versions of the monsters they fought to reach it.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: Spiketors (the bouncing spiked balls) will auto-destruct if they hit enough walls in a certain amount of time. This is to prevent any small areas from being blocked off by them.
    • After beating a boss, it is also impossible to take damage from spike traps or spiketors.
  • Asshole Victim: The King, who essentially destroyed the kingdom he ruled for a chance at immortality. He deserved it.
  • Asteroids Monster: Several different types exist, including a giant boss version known as The Infinite.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking:
    • The Prince, AKA Johannes, came to rule the monsters of the Castle by defeating them.
    • Averted with the king, who was a coward and a weakling.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: Giants have larger range than other characters. They also have enormous hit boxes, making it easier for them to get stunlocked.
    • Depending on class, Dwarves can be just as impractical as Giants - they have tiny hitboxes and can fit into secret areas, but their melee range is TINY, making it extremely difficult to progress later on in the game. This is much less of a limitation when using classes that rely more on magic than swordplay.
    • Dragons have infinite flight but low health. They also have a fireball attack but it costs mana to use and it replaces your default melee attack. Mana does regenerate when playing as a Dragon but not usually enough to get more than 3 or 4 shots off at a time without spilling a lot of points into upgrading your mana pool, and enemies are invincible for a moment after being hit so you can't rapid fire it anyways.
  • Badass: The Prince a.k.a. Johannes, the progenitor of your family line from the tutorial, managed to make it all the way through the castle to the central room by himself. Most players, in contrast, will take dozens of generations to get as far.
  • Badass Cape: Capes are one of your equipment slots, so there are plenty to choose from. The vampire-esque red Blood Cape is especially cool.
  • Beef Gate: Nothing is stopping you from immediately descending into the bowels of hell. Nothing except for the fact that the enemies there will skewer you unless you're leveled up and prepared.
  • Behind the Black: There are invisible corridors that can be accessed in some ways. Your character is always visible, so you're not actually going behind the wall textures, but it's the same principle.
  • Big Bad: Johannes, the prince whose diaries you find, turns out to be the lord of the evil castle, and the one who killed the King.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Johannes is destroyed, thus redeeming your family for the King's murder, but your character is left with the knowledge that Johannes betrayed his king not out a lust for power, but as retribution for the King betraying him and his other heirs, which means that the quest for revenge your family sacrificed hundreds of its children to complete was a lie all along. On the plus side, Johannes' death also destroys the Fountain, preventing anyone else from being corrupted by its power.
  • Blown Across the Room: The effect of the Hypergonadism trait. If you have the Ectomorph trait, this can happen to you instead. Barbarian Kings/Queens also have this as their special ability.
  • Blue Blood: The Prince, obviously. And the player characters, since they're descended from him.
  • Boring but Practical: Miners/Spelunkers don't have any flashy combat abilities but they gain more gold than any other class and when upgraded they automatically mark all chests and bonus rooms on the map. On top of that, they can remove some of the Fake Difficulty from the Land of Darkness by using their mining helmet.
    • The Knife subweapon launches a single blade forward through the air until it hits an enemy or a wall, with no variation or fancy techniques available. That said, it's the cheapest combat spell available, easy to use, does solid damage, and makes an effective one-two punch in conjunction with your sword.
  • Bonus Boss: A content update added these. They are quite difficult as they are more powerful than the regular bosses they're based on and you're forced to use a preset character for the fight, so no amount of Level Grinding will help you. On the merciful side, losing to them won't kill you, just dump you outside the boss door, so you can try again as many times as you wish.
  • Boss Subtitles
    • To be specific, the Boss subtitles are as follows:
      • Khidr "The Gatekeeper" (Eye boss, Castle Hamson)
      • Alexander "The Forgotten" (Flaming Skull boss, Forest Abkhazia)
      • Ponce de Leon "The Sentinel" (Fireball boss, The Maya)
      • Herodotus "The Infinite" (Slime boss, Land of Darkness)
      • Johannes "The Traitor", and then Johannes "The Fountain" (Final boss, Throne Room)
  • Bragging Rights Reward: The 1.2 patch adds five Bonus Bosses that are more powerful versions of the regular bosses. The reward you get for beating all of them is overpowered, but of course, since you've already beaten the hardest challenges in the game, all it's good for is tearing through the castle with ease.
  • Broken Pedestal: Once The Reveal occurs, the family tree is shown zooming right back to the beginning with Johannes, whose portrait is knocked off, signalling that he's essentially been disowned by the family for his betrayal.
  • Bullet Hell: Some monsters and traps spew these, and bosses turn it Up to Eleven. It gets even worse in New Game+ (and then again in the second New Game+) when all enemies are replaced by versions that put out more bullets, and in the latter many more of those bullets can go through walls.
  • The Caligula: The king faked an illness, subjected heirs to the dangers of the castle and emptied the royal coffers, bankrupting the kingdom. All for a chance at eternal youth.
  • Chest Monster: Sentient paintings will fly off the wall and attack you when you approach. You can spot them by the shaking beforehand, and their darker outline, or by pausing to reveal the stats of all nearby enemies.
    • Of course, there are also the traditional Mimics in the Maya. These have a lighter outline than the chests instead.
    • Several of the "?" rooms contain giant paintings remarking on the developers' past games. One of them is a boss mob, Sallos. What's worse, this one is smart enough to not shake when you're in its vicinity; you can only tell (short of jumping into it) if you check your stats first, or notice it's darker outline.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Johannes at the start of your family tree from the very beginning of the game.
  • Collision Damage: All enemies have this except for Guard Boxes. The player can gain it too with retaliation runes, which can even destroy invulnerable objects like spikeballs.
  • Colour Coded Time Stop: done the same as the original.
  • Cool Sword: Spellthieves and Spellswords have an invisible one.
  • Credits Running Sequence: The credits feature you briefly running through every area in the game... despite the door to the final boss being located in the entrance hall.
  • Critical Hit Class: Assassins have lower stats in return for higher critical hit rate.
  • Crutch Character: Shinobi/Hokages have great stats initially, making them much quicker at killing things with normal attacks. Unfortunately their complete inability to get critical hits comes back to bite them in New Game+ by which point you've probably upgraded critical hit chance and damage to the point that other classes that can crit will exceed them.
    • Unsurprisingly, the Bonus Boss you have to defeat as a highly-trained Hokage makes for what's likely the hardest fight in the game.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory: Dragon characters handle rather differently to all others, swapping the usual jumping ability for unlimited flight.
  • Dark Is Evil: The final boss Johannes, has a fighting style and attacks which are more powerful versions of yours but his armor is of a darker shade.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Assassins have nothing but darkness behind their visors (unless the Nerd Glasses add googly eyes) and hide in the shadows to avoid attacks, but they're no more evil than any other player character.
  • Dark Reprise: A more sinister version of the menu theme plays during the second phase of the final boss fight, aptly named "Rotten Legacy".
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Usually. You have to pick a new character when you die, but you get to keep all your gear and have the chance to buy new stuff, meaning the new character will normally be stronger (or the same if you didn't pick up enough gold to upgrade). But if all three children have bad traits...
  • Difficult but Awesome: The Dragon class can be extremely powerful if used properly.
  • Disability Immunity: Peripheral Artery Disease makes spike traps never trigger beneath your feet since they work by detecting pulse. Which your feet lack.
  • Double Jump: One of the runes you can buy lets you do this. It stacks too, so you can even jump more than twice if you want.
  • Double Unlock: The runes and the blueprints. First you have to find them in chests, then you have to buy them to be able to use them. For the equipment, you need a high enough weight score in order to wear them.
  • Draconic Humanoid: The unlockable Dragon class has dragon wings and can breathe fire.
  • Dual Boss: One of the secret bosses pits Johannes against the Brohannes, a pair of red-and-purple-garbed knights with the powers of the Traitor class.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Some traits and blessings can make difficult rooms surprisingly easy.
    • The Dragon class can simply ignore the attacks of many monsters and even bosses.
  • Early Game Hell: By design, per roguelike conventions. You will probably not make it very far in your first dozen or so generations, but things get easier with every upgrade, equip, and rune you manage to secure.
  • Eldritch Location: The castle. Its shifting layout renders maps useless and the Prince thinks it's alive, sensing him and possessing possibly malevolent purpose.
  • Evil Laugh: Every time a painting is revealed as an enemy.
  • Excuse Plot: It's rather light on story (as is standard for the genre) but does manages to have an interesting twist.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Ohhhh, yes. Even the health powerups spring up and come after you with a certain trait.
    • Taken Up to Eleven with a giant portait enemy that masquerades as one of the large paintings that can be examined to give information about Cellar Door's past games
  • Fake Difficulty: Dementia gives you literal fake difficulty in the form of enemies you can't hurt (but can't hurt you either). The biggest sign an enemy is fake is if they're out of place (like a dungeon enemy in the castle part of the game). As an added bonus, you also get to hear creepy noises from time to time.
  • Famous Last Words: Whenever your character dies, in the form of a gameplay tip... unless you have Coprolalia, in which case they just curse angrily. Johannes gets them too, since he's part of the family line.
  • Final Death: Every time, unless you have...
    • Auto-Revive: A rare artifact grants this as a one-time effect.
    • You can also purchase a small chance of automatic revival, but higher levels are ridiculously expensive and you won't exceed 15%.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Deep in the depths of the dark forest there lurks a giant skull, wreathed in flame. Its name is Alexander.
  • Flunky Boss: Alexander summons droves of his fellow flaming skull, to make up for the fact his own attacks aren't very complex. This becomes more threatening on New Game+ when he spawns tougher mooks.
  • Food Eats You: The character trait Alektorophobia, which makes it so that any HP-restoring chicken drumsticks that spawn have a chance of turning out to be headless chickens that run around and can damage you and which you need to kill to turn them back into the drumsticks.
  • Foreshadowing: Each boss has a name relating to the Fountain of Youth.
    • Additionally, the fact that Charon relentlessly takes your money and laughs at you while doing so should hint at the fact that your goal is foolish. Not only do most die within the castle, but the original goal of saving the king has long since been invalid, and was invalid in the first place anyway!
  • Fragile Speedster: The Shinobi/Hokage. They inherently move 30% faster than the other classes. Crosses over with Glass Cannon.
    • Dragons have excellent mobility but very low HP, and you'll need to get used to flight controls to use them. Their damage output isn't that great either, unless you've boosted magic damage more than most players do. Their ranged attack does mean that they can use dwarfism to get a smaller hitbox without much attack range penalty.
  • Funny Background Event: In areas where you can see the sky, you will occasionally spot silhouettes, such as Santa Claus, flying across the background.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Charon taking your money before you enter the castle? It's what kicks off the plot, as the King who entered had to pay the same price, leaving Johannes with nothing and driving the prince's descent into villainy.
    • Also, some journal entries comment on various gameplay conventions like finding money and chicken in furniture. The writer thinks he's going insane due to how unrealistic it is.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: On the other hand, your descendants somehow get the money you earn in the castle after you die.
  • Gay Option: Homosexuality is one of the traits your descendants can have. It only affects the post-credits screen.
  • Girls with Moustaches: The female Mages and Archmages have beards.
  • Glass Cannon: The Shinobi/Hokage. Enormous strength, but low HP and mana, and they are unable to score critical hits. Crosses over with Fragile Speedster.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: The Nerd Glasses upgrade corrects short or long-sightedness as you'd expect, but also all the other visual effect traits even when it wouldn't make sense such as Vertigo, Colourblind or Nostalgic. They also mark chests on your map and if you run into the guy who takes 25% of your money in exchange for tripling it if you pick the right chest, they show which chest is the right one.
  • Gravity Screw: One trait your character can have is Vertigo, which flips the screen upside-down for the whole playthrough.
  • Hair Decorations: Girls have a pink bow adorned to the top of their helmet. Even if they're playing a "dark" class like a Shinobi/Hokage, Lich/Arch-Lich, or Knave/Assassin.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The secret class. Half-human, half-dragon.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Every class uses one as their default attack, even Mages. The only exception are the Dragons.
    • And even then, the dragons hold a sword anyway. They just don't use it.
  • Heroic Albino: The Lich class has white skin.
  • Heroic BSOD: The Prince's diary has an entry consisting of just blank pages, implying this was his reaction to discovering the King's treachery and realising it left him with nothing.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: Shinobi and Hokages look normal apart from their headbands and cannot get critical hits. This is in stark contrast to the Assassin class which has boosted crit chance and hiding abilities.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: All over the place. Sometimes you can fall through platforms without enabling Quick Drop, take damage just because you attacked an enemy too close to you or get hurt from a projectile that flew through a wall when it normally crashes into them.
    • Even enemy projectiles that normally collide with walls will ignore them for a second or so after launch, allowing enemies to shoot you from complete safety.
    • The Fountain is notably guilty of this. One of its attacks involves summoning swords upwards from the ground, and these can hit you in positions where it should clearly be impossible.
    • There's also some clipping issues involving the items dropped by enemies on occasion; annoying when it's gold, but potentially frustrating with the Alektrophobia trait when the chickens clip through the ceiling (until you realize you can fix it by leaving and coming back).
  • Hollywood Tourette's: One of the randomly-selected traits that can affect player characters is this, which causes them to shout profanities (via Symbol Swearing word balloons) whenever they're hit. A patch changed the name of this trait from Tourettes to the more-accurate Coprolalia.
  • Hyper-Destructive Bouncing Ball: Spikeball traps move this way, as do the spinning maces several knight enemies use when they die (unless the ball is in a wall at the time). One spell lets you summon a load of your own.
  • Ignore The Disability: With the Bald trait the loading screen says "Balding" instead of building.
  • Immune to Flinching: If you have the Endomorph trait, you are immune to knockback from enemy attacks. Some enemies such as the zombie and horse enemies are immune to knockback as well, even if you have Hypergonadism or use the Barbarian Shout.
  • Impoverished Patrician: Charon takes all the worldly property of those who enter the castle, including the Prince whose diary you find, leaving his family destitute, and that of the King. Since the Prince is your ancestor, this may explain the poor state of your manor at the start of the game.
  • Interface Screw: Several character traits have this effect, including long-sighted, short-sighted and colourblind.
    • The "hypochondriac" trait is particularly amusing as the damage display greatly exaggerates the amount of damage done to you (a 16HP hit registers as 1654HP) even though it actually remains the same.
    • The CIP (Congenital Insensitivity to Pain) trait removes any visible indicators of your health.
    • Alzheimers disables your full-map option.
    • Dementia creates enemies that don't actually exist.
    • Vertigo takes the cake. The entire screen is upside down. This includes the loading screens and on-screen text. You'd think you could just invert your monitor (or yourself) to read the text, but the letters are also backwards.
  • Interface Spoiler: The "Katagelasticism" achievement's description gives away a big twist: "Mock the traitor."
    • Pausing the game reveals the stats of your character and all the enemies in the room. It's useful to determine whether the paintings are part of the scenery or enemies in disguise, and the same for mimics and treasure chests.
  • Jack of All Stats: Knights/Paladins have average stats, making them decent at normal attacks and magic, and a shield ability. They become more of a Lightning Bruiser once you've reduced magic costs to let them use more spells and raised critical chance so their attacks will outdamage those of Hokages.
  • King Mook: All the bosses except the final boss are giant versions of regular enemies, and many of the remaining enemy types get giant versions that function as minibosses instead.
  • Knockback: Affected by both your character's traits and the enemy; having unusually high power here can be as much of a problem for you as none (it makes two-stroke kills harder). On the other side, you have no mid-air recovery, making both platforming and aerial swordwork significantly more difficult.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Much of the humor in the diaries comes from pointing out the oddities of the game, like finding chicken legs in mushrooms.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • Miners are crap when it comes to progression due to low stats without the Knaves' increased crit chance. They shine when grinding though.
    • Dwarves don't have as much range as other characters, and they may not jump as high. That said, they have the smallest hit boxes and can utilize some shortcuts normal characters can't which may lead to otherwise unaccessible treasure.
      • An Archmage, Spellsword, or especially a Dragon with dwarfism is especially lethal, since they rely more on spells and less on swordplay (so their reduced sword range is less of a hindrance).
  • Lethal Joke Item: The sword barrier spell theoretically does a lot of damage and can stunlock enemies against a wall, but its range is so pathetic it's useless as offense and only serves as a deterrent against melee threats (and usually the chakra can do that just as well). Unless you're playing a Spellsword, in which case you get massive swords that hit above and below and do possibly the most damage per casting of any spell. Plus the giant swords form a much more effective defensive barrier as well, allowing you to refill your MP bar via sword attacks relativey safely even against melee enemies.
    • On the item front, Hedgehog's Curse makes you drop coins when it and seems like a pretty bad item (and often is). But if your gold multiplier is high you'll end up with more coins than you started with. Each level of New Game+ is an automatic +50% multiplier, and you can train up to +50% innately, so on the later runs you'll be re-earning double or triple the value of every coin you pick back up. Just make sure they don't fall into spikes.
  • Loophole Abuse: You used to be able to cheat in the "hit the targets" challenges by using a spellsword's supercharged spells and the Barbarian king/queen's shouts, but a patch disabled specials in challenge rooms.
    • The Elf NPC gives you a minigame where you have 1 in 3 odds of tripling what you wagered... but your winnings are multiplied by your gold multiplier, so you'll actually get considerably more than that and will make large profits in the long run.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Randomised dungeon layouts can furnish you with powerful new equipment or rooms full of fiendish monsters, depending on how the RNG is feeling. Fortunately your next character may be more lucky in their new castle.
    • Fairy Chest challenges take this a level further, however. Not only do they appear randomly and have varying levels of difficulty, many of them are only even possible to beat if you have the right runes or spells equipped (said spells being mutually exclusive and not always the same one)
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: A late game upgrade allows you to re-roll your potential heirs once per generation.
  • Luckily My Shield Will Protect Me: Paladins can block attacks with their shield, or transform into a statue.
  • Macrogame: Any manor upgrades, equipment, and runes you purchase will remain unlocked for each subsequent character. Additionally, any bosses you defeated will stay dead for that playthrough.
  • Magic Knight: Every class can do this since they have a basic sword attack and spell subweapon. Spellthieves and Spellswords regain mana when they attack and can use powerful summon magic.
  • Magikarp Power: Liches start off with some of the lowest HP, strength, and mana in the game, but gain 4 permanent HP every time they make a kill. The upgraded version, the Lich King/Queen, takes this a step further, giving them the ability to convert HP to mana, eventually ending up with the highest mana pool in the game. They also get assigned powerful (and expensive) group-effect spells like Crow Storm and Conflux more often than other classes: of less use at first, later able to be spammed with wild abandon once the lich's mana pool is maxed.
    • Classes that can crit become this later on as you can easily raise crit chance to regular (maxing out at 50% before equipment), making the Assassin's crit chance and damage bonuses more useful.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: The Barbarian King/Queen's special ability is a shout (very much like the Dragon Shouts from Skyrim) that knocks back enemies and destroys small projectiles.
  • Medieval Stasis: Over the course of what will probably be several dozen generations, the world doesn't seem to change very much at all. Generation 100 will still be using swords and plate armor just like generation 2, instead of, say, assault rifles.
  • Meganekko: Lady McSwordy. One of the pre-generated characters you use to fight the remixed boss battles. Also, any female character who picks up the Nerd Glasses.
  • Mercy Invincibility: You're invincible for about a second after being hit, which doesn't amount to much, but one of the later upgrades allow you to extend its duration.
    • Enemies also have this, which prevents you from rapid-firing magic on them.
  • Metroid Vania
  • Mood Whiplash: The journal. A number of entries by the Prince are rather funny or silly, especially towards the middle. By the end though, the Prince's story takes a really dark turn and reading every entry in one go highlights the contrast between the comedy and tragedy. Also extends to the entire game, because even though there's a lot of death it's mostly just a slap on the wrist for you. With its humor and various video game shoutouts, the game could even be considered quite whimsical if you ignore the fact that you've likely sent numerous warriors over many generations to their deaths for a false cause.
  • New Game+: You can replay the game with the difficulty increased when you finish, then do it again to make it harder still. Supposedly it keeps getting harder until the tenth time.
  • New World Tease: It's entirely possible to stumble into the hardest section of the game with a low-level character. Enjoy the new tile set and music while you can because, oops, you're already dead. There are also teleporters that dump you into a random section of the game with no way back that can function as this.
  • Ninja Log: The Hokage class can teleport, leaving one of these behind.
  • Nintendo Hard: It's not uncommon for the timeline to exceed the 3000's by the time the player even reaches the final boss, let alone defeats it. On subsequent playthroughs, the enemies upgrade massively. Remember how sometimes you'd encounter a rare, very strong version of a normal enemy (Corrupt Lord, Visionary, Sollock...), often found guarding a chest? They're normal enemies right off the bat in New Game +2, and it only escalates from there.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted; one of the more colourful diary entries you can find mentions using a mysterious ravine as a latrine.
  • Nostalgia Filter: If your heir has the "Nostalgic" trait the entire game will be given a literal Nostalgia Filter. The game will have a sepia color tone & fading around the edges of the screen (like it is during the tutorial), and instead of saying "Building" at the loading screen it will say "Reminiscing".
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Booyan, the clown who runs a pair of minigame rooms where you try to hit targets with spells.
  • Not So Infinite After All: The fourth boss's subtitle proved... optimistic.
  • One-Handed Zweihänder: The characters all wield broadswords as long as they are tall with a single hand, regardless of class.
  • One-Winged Angel: After Johannes' physical form is destroyed, his soul merges with the Fountain, becoming a giant knight golem.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: Dwarves are just humans with the Dwarfism trait. However, if you combine that trait with the Miner class and have your spell be to throw an axe...
  • Our Liches Are Different: For starter, they're playable. They start out weak but their max HP increases every time they kill an enemy, and the upgraded version can convert HP to mana.
  • Oxymoronic Being: The Barbarian King, "the king of freemen. That makes no sense."
  • Perma Death: However, you can continue playing as a new character with the same base and equipment.
  • Photographic Memory: "Eidetic memory" characters have a perfect enemy radar showing where every one is, even if they've never been in the room before.
  • Pint-Sized Powerhouse: The dwarfism trait doesn't stop you being a hardy physical class like the barbarian.
  • Poison Mushroom: Among the (otherwise beneficial) random items the player can receive at a shrine is the Hedgehog's Curse, which causes the player to lose coins upon being hit. While you'll often end up with more money than you lost if you pick up all the coins, the fact that you still lose coins when you die means it's a net loss in the long run.
  • Purely Aesthetic Glasses: Averted with the Nerd Glasses, which correct the vision of nearsighted or farsighted characters and shows chests on the map.
  • Purely Aesthetic Gender: Basic abilities of both genders are the same, though time will tell what subtle effects the difference has.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: The King achieved Immortality, at the cost of bankrupting the entire Kingdom. His son, Johannes, stopped him, at the cost of his sanity and becomes the final boss.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Every piece of equipment made by the Smith is usually color-coded, for example the Sky implements are azure, the Ranger ones are brownish, and so on. Nothing stops you to wear any combination of items you please (e.g. Imperial braces with Sky Sword and Dragon armor), looking pretty clownish in the process.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: The castle is randomized for each new descendant that enters. This can actually be toggled off by the Architect, but you gain only 60% of the normal gold so long as it is.
  • Regenerating Mana: Mages regain some MP every time they kill, Spellswords do so on normal attacks. Dragons do this naturally.
    • Balance and Siphon runes let anyone regain MP on kills. The OCD trait awards you MP for "cleaning house," A.K.A. smashing all the furniture you see.
  • The Reveal: The Big Bad is Johannes, your first ancestor, who instigated the events of the plot in a bid for power and possibly godhood.
    • Also, there was never an assassination attempt on the King, nor was he ever poisoned. He faked his illness and spread rumors about Castle Hamson in the hopes that his heirs would destroy the Fountain Guardians, thus allowing him to take the Fountain's power for himself. This turned out to be Johannes' Start of Darkness.
  • Roguelike: It's even in the name.
  • Schmuck Bait: The whole castle seems to be one. Heroes must make a Deal with the Devil with Charon and give up all their belongings to enter (leaving their families penniless) and none ever return. The fountain's promises of youth and immortality may be another; if Johannes's millenia-long stay is anything to go by then those who reach it will be trapped inside, their endless youth rendered worthless.
    • Although one should remember that this is Charon we're talking about. Especially when you consider that the Charon's Obol artifact is acceptable pay for him—as in, he'll take that in lieu of your worldly goods. As far as the ancient Hellenes knew, the obol was what you had to pay Charon if he was going to let you into Hades. So apparently, your family's worldly goods are the replacement for you to begin the afterlife. Add in the Ars Goetia names of the mid-bosses, the eternal night of the castle...The castle's probably a march know...hell. And what better way to lure in the sinful than a promise of veritable godhood?
    • In gameplay, rooms with chests are often more difficult than ordinary rooms and many fairy chests (mostly those requiring you to navigate a complex series of spikes/fireballs or to kill all enemies in a huge room) are especially dangerous. To say nothing of the fact that minibosses always drop a gold chest that can contain stat items or blueprints and you get more money for adventuring in harder areas.
  • Scratch Damage: It is perfectly possible to kill one of the shielded enemies by bashing on its shield over and over again, doing minimal damage each time. However this does knock you back, so be careful it doesn't knock you out of the room, since leaving a room returns any enemy left alive to full health, and it will undo all your hard work.
  • Shout-Out: Many, including the barbarian's Fah Ro Dus shout and the Paladin's Tanuki statue transformation.
    • Several of the spells are expies of the subweapons from Castlevania. And like Zephyr, the Time Stop spell looks identical to Dio Brando's. Sadly, the Knife subweapon cannot be used at the same time. Castlevania is also possibly the inspiration for the bone-throwing skeletons and the whole "castle as an ever-changing evil entity" idea.
    • You can upgrade your Shinobi (ninja) class to become Hokage. Believe it!
    • Many character names are references too, including Shanoa, Chun Li, and Jarvan (who, with enough generations, becomes Jarvan IV).
    • An item called "Hedgehog's Curse", which causes you to drop gold on the floor when hit, like how Sonic the Hedgehog loses his rings.
    • One of the Maya enemies is a large shield knight with green armor. He is called the Hulk Guard.
    • Booyan, the minigame clown is named after the game Pooyan. In fact, his theme has been taken directly from the NES port of the game!
    • The flavor text for the Invuln. Time Up upgrade reads: "Strengthen your adrenal glands and be invulnerable like Bane."
    • The main boss of the forest level is called The Forgotten Alexander.
    • The panels describing your current character in the menu have the same layout as the Magic The Gathering cards.
    • One of the traits is called "The One" (description: "There's no spork"), and makes the levels appear as if they're computer landscapes. The loading screen also says "Jacking In" instead of "Building".
    • If you fail his minigame, the Elf NPC will quote, of all things, UHF:
    What's in the box? NOTHING! You stupid! Soooo stupid!
  • Silly Walk: All of the descendants walk in a bizarre fashion, holding their sword out prominently while kicking their legs in a fashion similar to the Rockettes.
  • Smart Bomb: As well as knocking enemies away, the Barbarian's shout also cancels out projectiles. It deals no damage however.
  • Speed Run: While the random nature of the game doesn't lend itself to speedruns, several exist already, including someone who beat New Game+7 (i.e. the 8th playthrough) in thirteen minutes.
  • Spikes Of Doom: Many floors feature retractable spikes that will detect and try to stab you if you walk on them. Characters with no foot pulse will not be detected.
    • In addition, many surfaces in the castle are covered in permanent spikes. Unlike most examples, these can damage some enemies as well. Certain Fairy chests require you to make it across spike-laden rooms without jumping. To get across, you need the rune that allows flight when you hold the jump button after falling.
  • Square Race, Round Class: Nothing stops you being a roided-up Mage with gigantism that uses throwing knives as a subweapon, or a fragile dwarf Barbarian.
    • Ironically giant assassins/hokages are one of the more viable combinations—their size doesn't inhibit their ninja skills, but their ninja skills help them avoid exactly the kind of dangerous situations giants are most vulnerable to.
  • Squishy Wizard: Mages/Archmages. Liches start out as this, but soon outgrow the squishy part.
  • Stat Stick: Strength, critical hit chance, and critical hit damage for the Dragon class, since their only attack is magical (which doesn't crit). Can also be the case for Archmages if you have enough mana / Siphon to be able to rely largely on spells.
  • Stone Wall: Barbarians. The highest HP in the game, but abysmal strength and mana.
  • Taken for Granite: Paladins can do this to themselves.
  • Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Female knights have bows.
  • Theme Naming: The castle guardians all have names related to the Fountain of Youth. All minibosses are named after the demons of the Ars Goetia.
  • Time Stands Still: The stopwatch spell, available only to wizards/archmages. It works even on bosses, provided you have a big enough mana pool to hack them down to size.
  • Title Drop: In the last journal entry:
    Johannes: I entered this castle a swordsman, a savior...but all I have left is a rogue's legacy.
  • Toilet Humour: It's possible to have the trait IBS, which causes the player to fart randomly when jumping.
  • Tomato Surprise: The intro leads you to assume that the player is going into the castle to cure the King after the guy from the tutorial attacked him. When you actually get to the end, you learn that that's not quite what's going on—but your character should have known that before entering.
  • 24-Hour Armor: Everybody is always armor-clad including your lover and kids when you beat Johannes/The Fountain, as seen in the ending. It's done both to be practical in the graphics department, and to underline how this family is doomed to traverse the castle.
  • Twinking: Technically what the game is all about. Every time you die, you choose one of your character's children to play as. They inherit their parent's castle and all of their stuff.
  • Underground Monkey: Almost every enemy type has three normal versions and a boss or miniboss version, with the stronger normal versions being encountered in later areas or fairy rooms and the minibosses hidden throughout. The upgrades almost always get some kind of new attack.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Astrodotus Bonus Boss is fought as a flying hero in a wraparound room, highly reminiscent of Asteroids.
  • Unwinnable by Design: Many of the fairy chest challenges are impossible to beat if you have the wrong character class, subweapon or runes when you find them. One even seems designed to specifically require the giantism trait.
    • Many regular chests are only accessible to dwarves.
  • Vampiric Draining: Runes can add this effect to your attacks, replenishing your HP or MP when you kill.
    • Lich characters permanently increase their Max HP every time they kill (up to a point), and will have the same HP as a Barbarian when maxed out.
  • Video Game Settings: Rogue Legacy has four areas connected to one another. Through exploration, you can come across one or another at any point, but they are, in order of difficulty:
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: The castle's giant eye boss will unleash bullet hell on you the likes of which you haven't seen anywhere in the castle.
  • Warrior Prince: The Prince that wrote the diary entries you find was an adventurer who overcame the dangers of the castle single-handedly.
  • Weak, but Skilled: Spelunkers have generally reduced stats, but gain a bonus to gold and point out all chests on the map. These combined make it a good strategy to scout out the castle with a Spelunker, find the next boss door (made obvious on your radar with two chests right next to each other), earn as much gold as possible (to compensate for the gold loss of locking down), and then lock down and focus on fighting the boss.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Just before the final battle, Johannes calls your character out on sending (most likely) hundreds of his descendants to their deaths in Castle Hamson just to kill him, pointing out that the whole reason he chose to betray the King was because he wanted to prevent having his family being destroyed by a quest that turned out to be a lie, as his quest was.
    • Except his family had literally no way of knowing this because his entire journal is all over the castle and the last and most important entry was literally in front of the door to the Fountain. So it wasn't so much their fault as it was, well, his, for not actually informing his descendants before any such effort would be pointless. Whoops. Chances are his rant is due to insanity, in these circumstances.
    • The 1.02 content patch also added an alternate dialogue if you fight Johannes with the unlocked Traitor class. He calls you out on mocking him and your ancestors by dressing up as the family traitor that you came to slay.
  • You Gotta Have Blue Hair: Female ninjas have this, because Anime.

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