April 10, 2024

5 Min Read

prince of persia

The Rogue Prince of Persia Enters Early Access May 27

The Rogue Prince of Persia, a 2D roguelite action-platforming adventure from developer Evil Empire, is coming to Steam Early Access on May 27. Starring a new take on the Prince, the game begins shortly after he provokes an invasion by the Huns, who steamroll Persia's defenders with their dark shamanic magic. Luckily, this Prince carries a magical bola that saves him from death and returns him to the last safe time and place he visited - in this case, a desert oasis where players will find themselves after every defeat.

While the game is in Early Access, Evil Empire is working to make the initial experience as polished as possible, and will seek community feedback from players to improve it even further while adding new story content, levels, and other gameplay elements as the game nears launch. The Rogue Prince of Persia's levels - which included an invasion-ravaged village and an aqueduct filled with treacherous waterslides in our hands-on, among other areas - reshuffle with every run, with new enemy placements, treasures, and platforming challenges for players to discover. New pathways also open up as players get further in; during our time with the game, for example, we met a character who told us about the Huns' War Camp, which not only let us head there next, but opened a path directly to it from the starting oasis.

In addition to traps (with the latter represented by beds of spikes, collapsing platforms, and the occasional spinning blade in our session), the shifting levels are built largely around wall-running opportunities, with the Prince able to sprint not just up vertical surfaces, but horizontally and vertically across the background (so long as there's a wall texture there, and not just empty space). This mechanic feels extremely flexible, with the Prince able to launch into a wall-run from a standing position, or start running mid-jump before ending with another jump to reach distant ledges. It's as useful in combat as it is in traversal, with the Prince able to rapidly get behind enemies or put himself above them for a quick aerial attack. Environmental features like horizontal poles for perching, ropes for climbing, and switches that can retract walls or platforms dot the landscape as well, letting the Prince extend his traversal and get the drop on enemies. Players will also want to keep an eye out for doors that lead to treasure rooms, huge environmental puzzles, and other challenges - as well as gazebo-like structures that let the Prince teleport to areas he's previously passed through (useful if you suspect you want to see where a branching path you passed earlier leads).

[UN] [RPOP] Gameplay preview - asset 1

Combat is a huge part of the adventure as well, and the Prince's path is strewn with a variety of skull-masked Huns who wield melee weapons, bows, bombs, and other instruments of pain. Most of these enemies can quickly be dispatched with a flurry of blows from the Prince's main weapon, of which he can carry one at a time - in our playthrough, the options were a quick pair of daggers, a royal saber, and a heavy tabar axe, each with different attack patterns, special moves, and randomized buffs. The Prince can also carry ranged sub-weapons, like bows and chakrams (which have limited charges). A dodge move lets him quickly flip out of the way of most attacks, a rechargeable flask lets him heal, an air-stomp can stun enemies, and his kick attack does light damage but sends enemies flying - ideally into walls, into traps, off cliffs, or into each other (at which point both enemies will be temporarily stunned).

Augmenting the Prince's abilities are an assortment of medallions, which you'll be able to find in treasure chests during each run. These let the Prince afflict his enemies with poison, fire, and other types of status damage with specific actions - like the one we found that burned enemies when we booted them into walls. The Prince can carry up to four medallions at a time; some will actually boost the effects of adjacent ones, and equipped medallions can be replaced with new ones that better fit your build (although any benefits will disappear along with them).

[UN] [RPOP] Gameplay preview - asset 2

Our first run through the game felt fairly breezy - until we hit a wall in the form of General Berude the Unstoppable, a huge minotaur-like boss whose charging attacks made short work of the Prince. Like in any good roguelite, though, death is an essential part of progression in The Rogue Prince of Persia; each defeat can reveal new elements of the story, along with new characters, items, areas, and other opportunities that push you to explore and discover more, making the world feel a little bigger with each "failure." You'll be able to discover it for yourself when The Rogue Prince of Persia hits Steam Early Access on May 27.

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