The Rogue Prince of Persia – First Impressions

Vibrant and energetic, The Rogue Prince of Persia is a fun spin on the story.
The Rogue Prince of Persia

I can’t profess to be someone who gravitates towards platformers. Historically, I’ve found they struggle to hold my attention – even more so when you add roguelite elements into the mix. Repeating something I’ve already done, but ever so slightly different? My distracted brain isn’t wired for that.

But in the short time I had previewing The Rogue Prince of Persia, I found myself engrossed. From an energetic and rhythmic score, through to the crisp saturation of the landscape, this beautiful game from Evil Empire has plenty to offer – even if it’s not your typical genre of choice.

Narratively speaking, the preview began with the eponymous Prince waking to find his kingdom invaded by the fearsome Huns. With a selection of weaponry to accumulate – and all-important wall climbing – the Prince must chase his way through streets, aqueducts and more to prevent the Huns from capturing his city.

Aesthetically, The Rogue Prince of Persia stuns, with purple and orange hues taking centre stage. From striking sunset backdrops to the mystical indigo, violet and gold that soars across the screen when you finish a run, the entire preview was a feast for the eyes.

The Rogue Prince of Persia
Image: Evil Empire / Ubisoft

With intuitive controls and level design, gameplay was reasonably easy to pick up. Combat is straightforward, with special attacks available as upgrades during each run, depending significantly on your weapon of choice.

I was personally quite partial to the twin daggers you begin with – I’m truly a sucker for double daggers in almost every game – and the ranged chakrams, which were great fun to deploy at enemies perched on high bars like parrots. Hitting one would propel them into the next enemy, like a ten pin bowling game at altitude – almost as satisfying as kicking an enemy straight off a ledge.

Enemies are littered across platforms, each presenting new challenges. With composite bows, daggers, shields, sabers, tabars, bombs and more, they come packed with an arsenal. In our preview, we were also able to face down one boss – a minotaur-like creature whose powerful charge will see you leaping and dodging out of the way between attacks.

Timing is key to dodging the cascades of rocks he’ll send at you, and the encounter reinforces how important it is to unlock new equipment you can craft back at camp. Keeping up with these upgrades will be paramount in optimising each run.

The Rogue Prince of Persia
Image: Evil Empire / Ubisoft

The long and short of it is that Evil Empire‘s take on this property feels like a logical and fluid addition, and the vision is clear even through just a short stint of play.

This IP lends itself to the roguelite format, and after a largely successful previous venture with The Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, it’s clear to see why Ubisoft sought to publish another entry in the series so soon (even if The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time remake seems further in the distance each week).

GamesHub’s Leah J. Williams had said in her review f The Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown, “Thanks to swift, responsive design, you’ll be able to manoeuvre Sargon [the game’s protagonist] in lithe, snappy motions – traversing spike pits, tricking enemies, climbing up walls, and avoiding damage by the skin of your teeth.”

This description feels like it suits The Rogue Prince of Persia just as easily, with the same core elements taking centre stage – scampering up and down walls or ropes with lightning fast agility, avoiding spike pits at each turn, dodging attacks from enemies. “Snappy” really does feel like the right word for it – the game’s intro feels tight and well-formed.

Read: Prince of Persia: The Lost Crown review – Sharp as a knife

Despite only having spent about 30-40 minutes with the game, my first impressions of The Rogue Prince of Persia were wholly positive. It surprised me, focused me, and had me tapping my fingers to the beat of the score.

My initial concerns were allayed – though I held out as long as I could – I didn’t feel disappointment when my first run ended. The Prince’s bola safely resurrected him into camp, leaving me feeling challenged and ready to get back out, keen to source myself another set of chakrams to keep whirling them at my foes with reckless abandon.

The bottom line? I’m keen to see what comes next. If nothing else, I’m definitely eager to get that soundtrack added to my productivity playlist. Who knew rhythmic strumming could stick around so long in your mind?

Steph Panecasio is the Managing Editor of GamesHub. An award-winning culture and games journalist with an interest in all things spooky, she knows a lot about death but not enough about keeping her plants alive. Find her on all platforms as @StephPanecasio for ramblings about Lord of the Rings and her current WIP novel.