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Rogue Legacy 2 beginner’s guide and tips

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Which castle upgrades to get first and more

Rogue Legacy 2 characters Image: Cellar Door Games via Polygon

In Rogue Legacy 2, you will die a lot, but in this rogue-lite (as the developers call it), every death lays the groundwork for your next run.

That’s because each time your hero dies, the cash they earned passes on to their successor. With the start of each new run, you must decide how to spend that inheritance, choosing between which castle upgrades to pick or what armor and runes to buy.

In Polygon’s Rogue Legacy 2 beginner’s guide, we’ll show you how to get started. Whether you’re new to the series or a veteran, we’ll explain the game’s features, which upgrades to choose first, and the items that’ll make your future runs easier.

The basics

Rogue Legacy 2 is a rogue-lite side scrolling adventure game, which means that each run plays out differently, but you can purchase upgrades that persist throughout all future runs, bolstering your upcoming attempts with permanent upgrades and skills.

At the start of each run, you will have the choice between one of three characters.

The heir selection screen in Rogue Legacy 2 Image: Cellar Door Games via Polygon

When choosing a new heir, you have a few options to consider:

  • Class determines what weapon they attack with, which Talents they have, and how much base health, mana, and other stats they begin with.
  • Talent is a special skill that uses mana. It’s unique to each class and complements their play style.
  • Spells are randomly assigned on each run. These special attacks use mana and are selected from a pool that all heirs share and are not class-specific.
  • Traits are the final thing to consider when selecting an heir for a new run. These are randomly assigned attributes from a large pool of options which can either help or hinder your character.

If an heir has a Trait you haven’t encountered yet, its effects won’t be revealed until you start your run. However, you will be able to see its name and how much that Trait boosts the amount of gold you earn. The higher the percentage, the more likely this Trait will hamper your run — offset by the increase in gold you can earn, provided you stay alive long enough to take advantage of it.

What are the best castle upgrades?

In Rogue Legacy 2 you will suffer many deaths and accumulate a lot of gold in the process. You can spend that currency upgrading your castle to unlock new classes, shops, and permanent upgrades to all future heirs.

The castle screen in Rogue Legacy 2
The more upgrades you unlock, the bigger your castle gets
Image: Cellar Door Games via Polygon

At the start of each new playthrough, you’ll begin at the Castle View screen. Here you can purchase and upgrade new areas of your castle to develop permanent changes. Some of your options are one-time buys, like unlocking new classes and shops, while other areas of your castle are upgrades that grow in effectiveness each time you pour money into them.

The Labour Costs info screen in Rogue Legacy 2
Each upgrade increases the price of future upgrades
Image: Cellar Door Games via Polygon

With each purchase, your Labour Costs rise. As you spend money increasing the size of your castle or upgrading existing areas, each new purchase will slightly increase the cost of all future purchases. Because of that, t’s worth being deliberate about what you buy or upgrade first.

The Living Safe

Get the Living Safe as soon as possible. After unlocking the Ranger class and the ability to increase your health at the Mess Hall, you’ll be able to unlock the Living Safe. Doing so will help you save money.

At the start of each run, you have to forfeit all of your unspent gold. Without the Living Safe, all that money would be lost. Instead, with this unlocked, a percentage of your money is saved for future purchases.

Not every run results in enough cash to buy something. With the Living Safe, you can slowly save up, turning even the worst attempt into a chance to put away a bit of money.

The Living Safe info screen in Rogue Legacy 2. Image: Cellar Door Games via Polygon

Unlock all classes

Next you should unlock all the other classes. You’ll have to unlock the Ranger to begin accessing the rest of the castle, but after you unlock health upgrades, you can work toward gaining the ability to play as the Mage and Barbarian.

Adding these other classes will put them into your pool of options at the start of each run. Experiment with the different classes and how the Traits affect them.

Blacksmith and Enchantress

Unlock the Blacksmith and Enchantress after you find at least one armor blueprint or rune, respectively. Before you find any of those, feel free to spend your gold on health, armor, or attack upgrades. The Blacksmith and Enchantress allow you to buy permanent buffs for future runs, but those buffs are costly and require you to find items first.

The Blacksmith (blueprints)

The Blacksmith crafts various pieces of gear that increase your stats.

To make use of his services, you need to find gear blueprints in dungeons and bring them back to him. From there you can purchase and equip any Weapon, Helm, Chest Plate, Cape, or Band blueprint you’ve found for permanent buffs across all characters.

You’ll eventually find stronger versions of gear, which you can purchase at increasingly higher prices. To equip better gear, you’ll need to purchase upgrades to the Fashion Chambers.

A Bounty Rune in Rogue Legacy 2 Image: Cellar Door Games via Polygon
The Enchantress (runes)

The Enchantress allows you to equip runes that offer permanent, game-changing buffs.

Most of these items are locked away in challenging Fairy Chests. To open a Fairy Chest, follow the requirements listed on the bottom right of the screen when you enter that chest’s room. Some of them may require you to quickly get to the prize before a certain time limit or clear a room filled enemies without getting hurt. Once you’ve unlocked a rune, you can head back to the Enchantress to buy the ability and equip it. To add more runes to your arsenal, you need to buy upgrades for the Etching Chambers.

Get the Heirlooms

At the time of writing, there are two Heirlooms in the game: Ananke’s Shawl and Aesop’s Tome, with more coming in updates. These two items unlock unique abilities that change your experience, offer up a bit of story, and make the game easier.

Map screen for Rogue Legacy 2
Keep an eye out for the orange candle icon
Image: Cellar Door Games via Polygon

To unlock an Heirloom, you must find their respective special rooms. On your map, keep an eye out for rooms with an orange candle icon. In those chambers, you’ll find a speaking statue that offers to refill your health and mana. Doing so will teleport you to a special mini-dungeon. Stay alive through the series of rooms, and you’ll unlock an Heirloom.

  • Ananke’s Shawl allows you to dash on the ground and in air. It’s a great move for getting through rooms faster and dodging enemies attacks.
  • Aesop’s Tome allows you to read the mysterious whispers you may come across in your runs. These whispers offer up valuable hints, secrets, and story.

Both Heirlooms are essential if you want to open the throne room and fight the game’s first big boss, Estuary Lamech.

Master the Downstrike

The Downstrike allows you to deal a small bit of damage and get out of danger, and it’s applicable to all classes.

While in the air, hitting the Downstrike button causes your character to do a sweeping strike that affects the areas directly below them. While it doesn’t cause much damage, the attack allows you to bounce off breakable and impervious objects in addition to enemies and even some spikes.

Once you get comfortable with the timing of the attack and its limited range, Downstrike should become one of your main traversal tools, allowing you to bound across rooms without taking any damage. It’s helpful for positioning when you’re trying to fight stronger enemies, too. You can also use it to bounce off objects and reach out-of-the-way spots.

Rogue Legacy 2 is still in Early Access. Certain areas only open up through future patches. You may even stumble across in-progress biomes that the developers will allow you explore before they’re finished. In the coming months, we expect to see more classes, enemies, areas to explore, and secrets to discover.