The Rogue Prince of Persia Preview

The Rogue Prince of Persia Preview

After staying inactive for roughly 14 years, the Prince of Persia franchise is finally back with a Sands of Time remake looming over the horizon.

Unfortunately, 2026 is quite a few years from now, so while the remake doesn’t come out, Ubisoft is doing its best to keep the franchise fresh in the public’s consciousness by developing and publishing spin-off titles.

So far, this strategy has worked surprisingly well, with January marking the release of the metroidvania Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, and May marking the early access release of the not-so-creatively-titled The Rogue Prince of Persia.

The Rogue Prince of Persia is currently being developed by Evil Empire, best known for assisting Motion Twin with Dead Cells and its DLCs since 2019. Bringing in Evil Empire to develop this title is probably the best decision Ubisoft has made in the last decade, as the studio has done some outstanding work, and would have done a lot more if their partnership with Motion Twin hadn’t been precociously ended.

While it’s definitely sad that there won’t be any more Dead Cells content made by Evil Empire in the future, we can all rejoice in the fact that the studio is going strong, and their work in The Rogue Prince of Persia shows that they haven’t lost their touch.

The Rogue Prince of Persia is one of those games that can only be described as beautiful. Not only does it feature a gorgeous art style and makes fantastic use of pastel colors to build its environments, but it looks incredibly fluid in motion.

The game features so many contextual animations and little flourishes when it comes to the Prince’s movements that it almost makes the trailers in the store page look fake, but sure enough it’s all there when you boot it up. Every vault, flip, wall run and jump has been expertly animated and has just the right amount of weight to feel satisfactory to pull off.

The Prince in general moves in a way that is very pleasing to watch. It’s difficult to pay a lot of attention to your own animations during combat, since you have to keep your eyes on the enemies and the environment for the most part, but it’s worth getting distracted every once in a while just to see how fluid your character’s movement is.

When it comes to gameplay, The Rogue Prince of Persia feels like a slightly slowed down and more refined version of Dead Cells, where an evasive play style is preferred over systematically kicking down doors and brutalizing every enemy you can find.

The Prince can defend himself, but needs a good 3-4 hits to kill basic enemies, so the best strategy is to usually stun your foes by kicking them into each other or making them fall to their death. Carefully maneuvering around enemies by using parkour and careful positioning is preferred over direct combat, so pulling off cheap tricks on the enemies will give you way better results than fighting them head-on.

In fact, most levels can just be breezed through without fighting any enemies if the player can parkour their way through well enough, although it’s not exactly recommended, as enemies are your main source of meta progression currency and gold, which is needed to buy better equipment.

The game’s randomly-generated levels are fun to traverse, but the pre-built bits that compose them tend to repeat a lot. This is also the case when it comes to the challenge rooms you can find in each level. The platforming puzzles found inside are tight and require a good understanding of the game’s movement mechanics, but tend to repeat often.

At the moment, the Prince has access to a handful of primary melee weapons and secondary ranged weapons, as well as artifacts. Artifacts are passive items which usually have three tiers of effects, and depending on the slot you equip them, will upgrade or be upgraded by other artifacts.

The player has to make some tough choices when considering what items synergize with each other both in effects and positioning. It’s a fun system that rewards you for planning ahead but with an element of risk considering how you may not find the artifact you are looking for.

That said, a lot of the artifacts don’t feel like game-changers so far, and will generally give you some energy or health regeneration depending on certain actions. The game is definitely playing it safe when it comes to balancing, which in turn lowers the value of the artifact system.

The Rogue Prince of Persia is currently in early access, which means that the main progression route and story are unfinished. Even though there are alternate paths and a bit of grinding required to unlock the meta progression perks and weapons, the game can be reasonably beaten in 3-4 hours, depending on how quickly you get used to the combat.

As of right now, the game only features two bosses, the first one feeling a little purposefully overtuned as a way to gatekeep players from progressing too quickly. Both boss fights are fun and well-designed, with the first one focusing more on combat while the second one focuses more on parkour and evasion.

It really takes the wind out of your sails to have a good run going, only to realize there isn’t any game left after the second boss. There are still a few quests to finish and hidden blueprints to find, but having that happen in a roguelike is not great.

The second boss fight is fun enough to justify firing up another run just to see it again, but it’s undeniable that The Rogue Prince of Persia is far from complete, and even a little lacking in content if we’re being honest here.

Evil Empire has been regularly adding new features and bug fixes to the game, which is always a good sign, and the studio’s past work definitely speaks for itself, so things are definitely looking up, but a little bit of patience will be required from players until they finally get a finished product.

It’s tough to wholeheartedly recommend picking up The Rogue Prince of Persia right now, not because of its quality, but simply because there isn’t a lot of game to experience, as it feels like a glorified demo at the moment.

The Rogue Prince of Persia is already a good roguelike due to its spectacularly fun gameplay, and anyone interested in 2D combat should give it a try just to see how fluid and responsive it is, but it’s difficult to justify the fact that, as far as content goes, this early access release was just a little too early.

The Rogue Prince of Persia was previewed on Microsoft Windows using a game code provided by Ubisoft through #keymailer. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here. The Rogue Prince of Persia is available on Microsoft Windows (through Steam).

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Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.

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