The Rogue Prince of Persia Early Access Review: A mystical time loop you’ll want to play over and over

Return to the past until you find a way to succeed.

The Rogue Prince of Persia is a 2D roguelite platformer that drops you into the shoes of a Prince trying to save his homeland. As the Prince, you'll face hordes of enemies while maneuvering through the capital city of Persia to challenge the leader of the Huns. If you're a huge fan of Roguelites, you won't want to miss out.

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Story

Searching for clues in the Academy in the Rogue Prince of Persia
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

The story behind the Rogue Prince of Persia is distinctively roguelike with a couple of twists that set it apart from predecessors like Hades or Backpack Hero. Players control the older Prince of Persia whose loved ones have fallen victim to a mystical, currently unbeatable enemy. To save the day, he'll need to reverse time over and over until he has learned and done enough to beat the evil entity for good. It's a classic tale that both Prince of Persia and dungeon-crawler fans can enjoy.

While the story centers around this overwhelmingly difficult goal, it provides smaller objectives that prevent it from feeling too one-track-minded. These quests are found by meeting new NPCs and exploring unlocked locations carefully. When I first began the game, I ran into Azadeh, the chief of Zagros Village. A conversation with her opened the path to the Hun War Camp and led me to go on a rescue quest for the Prince's brother, Shahin. Small quests like this breathe new life into the game by giving more meaning and reasoning to explore the areas you pass through. They push you to take paths and do things you would not typically do while chasing after the final boss. Additionally, they make the story feel more vibrant and alive. After all, if you're taking on the top villain to save your family, wouldn't you naturally help them along the way?

As the story continues, players will be able to watch the Prince grow more mature through his dialogue and exchanges with other characters. The way he speaks to even Berude will change as players spend more time advancing in the game. It emphasizes how the Prince is maturing mentally even whilst his physical body is stuck in a time loop.

The final thing that the Rogue Prince of Persia does well story-wise is preventing larger plot holes from forming. If something happens, there is a reason for it. I am referring particularly to the time reversal noticeably affecting everyone unless something has occurred to allow someone else to remember. In the first few runs of the game, the Forge-Sage Sukhra repeats himself to the Prince because he has no memory of their conversations. Only when Paachi performs a spell that allows everyone in the Oasis to remain unaffected by the reversal do Sukhra and the Prince share more riveting conversations.

Score: 5/5

Gameplay

Fighting Berude in the Rogue Prince of Persia
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

In combat, players are given a simplistic set of moves including their primary attack, a special attack, a dive attack, using their tool, kicking, and vaulting over their enemies. Each attack is used in different circumstances and can be buffed by a variety of Medallions. While this sounds relatively simple, the ability to create different builds and the need for good movement add a complexity that amps the stakes without being impossible.

When you're not fighting in these levels, you'll be upgrading your gear or finding new gear. Each level has many routes to explore, some containing treasure chests, other secret rooms, and others still leading to new areas. While you begin your run with only a set of daggers and a bow, exploring these areas helps you upgrade that equipment (you can exchange the daggers and bow for items that suit your fighting style more).

At the same time, you'll find Medallions that provide buffs to you and your attacks. You're able to pick up four of these at once, with their placement in your inventory affecting their upgrade level and efficiency. You're able to replace everything you're holding for better items, so your build will constantly be evolving.

Of course, fighting and exploring aren't the only things you can do. Occasionally, you'll come across smaller side quests; in these, you'll need to traverse through a specific route so you can talk to specific NPCs, obtain items from them, and put them to use. You'll also uncover rooms containing platforming puzzles leading to Equipment Chests. Successfully platforming through these areas will allow you to purchase the items in the chest from a shop to add them to the item pool for your runs.

As the game is early access, there are some issues you may run into. I had a handful of smaller ones, like accidentally getting myself stuck on something for a couple of seconds after silly platforming stunts. There was also a crash I experienced the second time I faced the second boss that disheartened me. My progress that run was not saved, leaving me to do it all over again. These are to be expected, but if you're looking for perfection, I would wait until the game has officially fully released.

Score: 4/5

Platforming

Hanging onto a pole in the Rogue Prince of Persia
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

When it comes to platforming, the Rogue Prince of Persia is a well-oiled machine. It is undoubtedly my favorite part of the game and the main factor that sets it apart from other Roguelites. The game's areas are filled with vertical and horizontal areas to cross. Players can run across the walls in the background and climb the walls in the foreground. They also can climb up and down vertical poles, balance on horizontally placed poles, and dash for an extra boost.

Of course, these abilities are not without limitations. Walls in the background contain plenty of gaps that prevent players from wall-running. Additionally, every platforming ability can only be used for a certain distance at a time. To get around this, players will need to come up with the right sequence of their abilities for every situation. Sometimes it's as easy as running on a wall followed by a dash and a jump to catch onto a dangling pole. Other times it is as complicated as running across a background wall, jumping against a foreground wall to climb it, jumping off to climb the background wall, and repeating that process until you make it to the top. It can be difficult at the start, but it's something that can easily be mastered by those who put in the effort.

Score: 5/5

Replayability

The Prince being brought back to the past in the Rogue Prince of Persia
Screenshot by Pro Game Guides

Every great roguelite game can be replayed over and over without feeling tedious. I was able to put over 20 hours into the game without feeling bored, so I can attest to its replayability. You'll begin every run brandishing the Double Daggers and the Composite Bow. However, every weapon, tool, and Medallion you get during the run is entirely randomized using whatever you have in your collections. This system allows you to forge a unique build every run, making the game feel more interesting.

The replayability is enhanced by the existence of Equipment Rooms. Every level in the game contains Equipment Rooms, which require players to perform platforming feats in exchange for a new tool, weapon, or Medallion. The items in these rooms will be added to Paachi's shop, where they can be purchased to add to your collection, allowing you to create more diverse builds. If that's not enough, the smaller in-game quests mentioned previously help spice up your game whenever they pop up.

Score: 5/5

Final Verdict

The way the Rogue Prince of Persia combines acrobatics seamlessly with combat and exploration makes it a treat to play. This is true even for people like me, who either aren't fans of platformers or just aren't very good at them. It also appeals to its players through its classic story, replayability, and the way the Prince evolves as the story does. With all of this in mind, I'm looking forward to seeing what will be added to the game next.

[Disclosure: A free copy of the game was provided to PGG by the publisher for review purposes.]

If you want to add more up-and-coming Roguelites to your library, check out Hades 2 First Impressions: A huge step up from an already masterful game on Pro Game Guides.

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About the Author

Contract Writer - Pro Gamer Guides. I work on Minecraft articles, particularly updating articles as the game changes and grows. I do play a lot of Minecraft, but I also enjoy games like Overwatch 2, Hades, and Splatoon 3 .
Find Krista McCay On: Twitter

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The Rogue Prince of Persia Early Access Review: A mystical time loop you’ll want to play over and over

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