Rogue Legacy meets Dead Cells as new roguelike launches Steam playtest

The first Lost Castle 2 playtest begins, letting you try the sequel to the well-liked roguelike action RPG with a free Steam demo out now.

Lost Castle 2 launches Steam playtest - a sharp-toothed demon with bright red eyes.

Blending the style of classic co-op action RPG Castle Crashers with the roguelite stylings of Dead Cells, Hades, and Rogue Legacy, Lost Castle 2 is the sequel to an oft-overlooked 2016 action roguelike that itself boasts a very respectable 88% Steam rating, giving it a ‘very positive’ score from almost 20,000 user reviews. As developer Hunter Studio continues to work ahead of the game’s planned Steam Early Access launch, a Lost Castle 2 playtest lets you try out the new game right now with a free Steam demo including the first two levels.

Lost Castle 2, much like its predecessor, hands you a loadout from a wealth of weapon and armor types, giving you a chance to assess and tweak your setup in town before heading out on a run to investigate the mysterious Dark Castle and the twisting environments that surround it. As you’d expect from the best roguelike games, that means fighting all manner of dangerous creatures and upgrading your loadout to adapt to the gear you find along the way.

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While we still don’t have a date for when Lost Castle 2 will be launching on Steam, the good news is that you can play a short sample of the new game right now by signing up to join its ongoing playtest. You’ll get access to two single-player levels, including a tutorial to get you up to speed with the basics.

I’ve spent some time with the demo, and so far it’s feeling like a well-polished upgrade to the first game, in terms of both its combat and its looks. You’ll have the option to fully customize your character to your liking, and can swap out your starting weapon from three possible options so you aren’t completely stuck with something you hate using on any given run.

As you progress, you’ll find alternative weapons, additional gear, and more equipment to use. Most of these will offer a boost to one of your three rune types, which should feel familiar to anyone who’s used to the stats system in Dead Cells. The red Akhil rune buffs attack and crit, the green Parati rune buffs health and defense, and the blue Nairu rune buffs your mana and skill power.

Lost Castle 2 - The runes screen, showing buffs to the player's stats.

With the full version of Lost Castle 2 promising “over 200 different weapons and armors” and “more than 140 treasures” that grant a variety of distinct passive effects, you’ll have a lot of different ways to hone your builds and take down whatever warped horrors the Dark Castle throws your way. So far, my time with the playtest has me eager to try out the co-op, which is where the first game shined.

The Lost Castle 2 playtest is live now on Steam. You’ll have to click the ‘Play the playtest now’ button to sign up, but we found that this granted us instant access to the playtest, so you shouldn’t need to wait around for approval.

There’s no shortage of great upcoming PC games set to arrive in 2024, so while we wait on those, why not explore more of the best indie games out now and see if you’ve missed any gems?

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