The Rogue Prince of Persia Early Access Review: Does It Stand the Test of Time?

The Rogue Prince of Persia drops our beloved Prince in the roguelike setting, bringing the familiar gameplay synonymous to the series to a bite-sized replayable experience. Currently in early-access, the game misses some bells and whistles, but has a fun gameplay loop to bring you back.
Solid attempt at reinventing Prince of Persia.
Traversal system is fun.
Trinkets let you experiment to the perfect build.
The game's content feels dry.
Combat feels sluggish.

If someone had told me I’d be getting two Prince of Persia games in 2024, I wouldn’t have believed them. Fortunately, as indie games become increasingly popular, genres like roguelikes have amassed a great fan following. So it isn’t overly crazy to find out that among all the series, Prince of Persia is the one that tried its hand at this.

Evil Empire, well-known for its work in the Dead Cells DLCs, decided to partner up with Ubisoft and bring our prince to the world of indie games. Thanks to a copy provided by Ubisoft, I had the opportunity to run through various levels as the Prince. So, did the game successfully parkour its way to the finish lines? Let’s take a look.

The Huns Proceeds, While Our Prince Scrambles

The Prince onlooking on Persia The Rogue Prince of Persia

The Rogue Prince of Persia puts us in the shoes of the titular Prince during a fictional Hun invasion at Ctesiphon in 395 AD. Our Prince gets embroiled in the struggle to stop the Huns from destroying Persia. The game has a storyline that separates it from the older games. In his possession is a mystical Bola that can rewind time to three days.

The game very much follows the concept of die again, try again. With every attempt that the prince fails to stop the Huns, he can rewind time and undo his mistakes. And, of course, he gets to keep his knowledge to ensure he wins.

Much like some roguelike games, the story does take a solid back seat. Sure, you have a mind map that helps you keep track of the game events. However, I barely cared about the storyline, focusing on things at passing while enjoying its solid gameplay.

The Prince tending to a villager in Rogue Prince of Persia

While I didn’t overly mind that, some people surely might. After all, this series has always been known for its storytelling. Even this year’s PoP: The Lost Crown had one.

Furthermore, it was interesting to see that none of the characters have voice-acting. So, if you plan on dropping here after hearing the stellar voice cast of Hades 2, you’d be sorely disappointed. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker for me, but it might be for some people.

What The Rogue of Prince of Persia does have, and something I loved, is brilliant art direction. The game has this beautiful backdrop where things have a simpler polygonal design. However, the art style makes it look majestic, like an old artwork from the ancient eras. So, the style did charm me a lot and even worked in favor of the developers.

Gameplay: Retains the Royal Touch

While the story doesn’t have that needed Prince of Persia punch, the gameplay does. And boy, does it hit hard. It probably hits as hard as Rocky knocking out Clubber in Rocky 3. But in a good way.

Rogue Prince of Persia Review

You’ll run through procedurally generated 2D levels, jumping, slashing, dodging, and even wall-running. The general movement of the game is smooth and constantly reminds me of how fast and agile our Prince is.

However, each subsequent move has a certain weight, also reminding me that I’m controlling this person. Ultimately, it strikes a good balance between agile gameplay and trying to keep things just slightly realistic. The famous wall-running makes a return as you can wall-run in eight different directions. While it only lasts for a few seconds, it still works quite perfectly.

An example of Wall-Running in The Rogue Prince of Persia

Overall, the general movement and gameplay are well-done for a side-scroller. The game isn’t sluggish, and you quickly get used to the entire dance. Despite the game being in early access, I feel the devs have almost perfected the formula and will continue improving it.

Explore Nine Different Regions

The Well of Dreams

Once you’re all familiar with The Rogue Prince of Persia, you use your movement skills to explore nine regions. Each level has its distinct biomes, making your run fresh. So, while Zagros Village has a hilly, rocky feel, the Academy feels like a library.

Being a roguelike also means every run will have different enemy and environment placements. That only adds to the excitement as your foes never stay stable.

You also have the off-beaten paths to check out different puzzles or open up the reward chest. That is where the Well of Dreams comes into play. These are your fast-travel points.

As of the current early access, level traversal is simple and easy to use. The level of enjoyment ultimately boils down to how well you use your traversal methods. However, they will never frustrate you.

The game heavily incentivizes exploration, rewarding you with medallions and better weapons to improve your chances against enemies. You can complete the various Rogue Prince of Persia levels quickly if you know how to jump and wall-run properly.

Lock Horns with the Huns Forces

While you’re having the time of your life running through the levels, you have a Hun invasion to worry about. And that is where the action begins, quite literally actually – the combat. I’ll come right out and say that combat in the Rogue Prince of Persia is relatively simple. So don’t expect combo magic like the Sands of Time or The Lost Crown.

Between you and your goal stand Huns forces with different archetypes. And, to fight them, you unlock weapons. The current early access has eight primary weapons and six support weapons, which behave differently from each other.

The combat is fluid and fun

Twin Blades attack fast but take longer to kill. On the flip side, axes have slower wind-up time but hit harder. However, the combat is designed to fit the overall repeated playthrough style. It is simple and lets you finish the encounters and move on to the next one.

So, don’t expect any crazy combo system like the previous games. As of now, I feel that the combat feels sluggish and needs refinement. A small form of fine-tuning would be helpful here.

However, your weapons are only a part of your strength in the game. You’ll find trinkets throughout the levels providing special elements to your attacks. For example, some will deal fire damage while breaking an enemy shield.

One of the trinkets in The Rogue Prince of Persia

Others will allow the Prince to throw a dagger at enemies while vaulting over them. You can equip four of these throughout your runs, but what you equip combines and creates your build.

While the combat for a Prince of Persia game felt a little shallow, these trinkets quickly reminded me of this being a roguelike game. I am meant to create a solid build of trinkets, choose my favorite weapon, and clear rooms quickly.

Ultimately, gameplay is the king, and The Rogue Prince of Persia has that magic here. While I feel that the current early-access content is a little dry, I can still see people loving the game because of its gameplay.

Verdict: Is the Rogue Prince of Persia Worth Your Time?

The Rogue Prince of Persia is an earnest attempt by Ubisoft to add more magic to the ever-flourishing series. The studio has allowed people who know what they are doing to give their own take on it. Fast, fluid, and replayable, it will mesmerize you to no end.

While I feel the current early-access content is short, given its asking price, I can’t complain much. Regardless of whether you’re coming off that Hades 2 high or dabbling into roguelike for the first time, The Rogue Prince of Persia can be the perfect pick for you.

The game is great for those lazy coffee breaks. The Rogue Prince of Persia certainly helped me stay excited for that eventual Sands of Time Remake. As such, I can’t wait to see how this game shapes up through its early-access period.

Beebom Score
The Rogue Prince of Persia
The Rogue Prince of Persia drops our beloved Prince in the roguelike setting, bringing the familiar gameplay synonymous to the series to a bite-sized replayable experience. Currently in early-access, the game misses some bells and whistles, but has a fun gameplay loop to bring you back.
comment Comments 0
Leave a Reply