8 Great Roguelikes that You Can't Stop Playing

8 Great Roguelikes that You Can't Stop Playing

A great roguelike keeps you coming back for more, and we can't put these eight games down.

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Just finished the story mode on Hand of Fate. That game has been a ton of fun so far.

I'm a little surprised Binding of Issac didn't get a nod.

Not really sure how you make this thread and leave off The Binding of Isaac, but ok. I agree with most of them.

I'm looking forward to Darkest Dungeon (have it, waiting for it to be out of early access before playing it) and Hand of Fate when it's a little bit cheaper.

While I do admire, enjoy, and feel like I want to get back into Darkest Dungeon ... I tell myself no.

The pure luck system kills it for me. Regardless of planning, strategy, or thinking ahead- the way things play out are just to random. I'm cool with having bad luck and even getting wrecked because of my greed / risk playing. But please, don't have my guy at full HP suddenly get critically hit 3x in a row for 20 dmg each time by a weak spider, while everyone misses hitting said weak spider for whatever reason. That bit ticked me off so much, because I couldn't do anything about it.

Caramel Frappe:
While I do admire, enjoy, and feel like I want to get back into Darkest Dungeon ... I tell myself no.

The pure luck system kills it for me. Regardless of planning, strategy, or thinking ahead- the way things play out are just to random. I'm cool with having bad luck and even getting wrecked because of my greed / risk playing. But please, don't have my guy at full HP suddenly get critically hit 3x in a row for 20 dmg each time by a weak spider, while everyone misses hitting said weak spider for whatever reason. That bit ticked me off so much, because I couldn't do anything about it.

I enjoy a certain amount of luck, it does go both ways after all (I had one dungeon with 2 members at deaths door for about 6/7 fights and somehow survived!) but DD does take it a little far. Apparently they are toning down SOME of the reliance on luck though, I haven't played it since it came out into early access and I'm waiting for the final release before I go back to it.

Also gonna throw in my voice for the 'y no Isaac' crowd, that game is one of my all time favourites.

Would Xcom EU/EW count as a rogue-like? I always felt it was a hugely scaled up rogue-like strategy. It is incredibly appealing and should happen more often...not just on PC.

PROTIP: Start an argument by calling Diablo a roguelike. (Very obviously roguelike inspired mechanics, albeit not as turn based as most.)

I'm still ploughing my way through DoomRL. The challenge badges are annoying.

Starke:
I'm a little surprised Binding of Issac didn't get a nod.

Alarien:
Not really sure how you make this thread and leave off The Binding of Isaac, but ok. I agree with most of them.

I'm looking forward to Darkest Dungeon (have it, waiting for it to be out of early access before playing it) and Hand of Fate when it's a little bit cheaper.

Believe me, Binding of Isaac was the first one left off the list. It was a hard decision picking the last one in.

Xsjadoblayde:
Would Xcom EU/EW count as a rogue-like? I always felt it was a hugely scaled up rogue-like strategy. It is incredibly appealing and should happen more often...not just on PC.

Sort of? I mean, there's an easily discernible end to XCOM, and you can't just keep grinding forever, but it definitely has some roguelike tendencies.

Runers was quite good too, for this reason. Loads of classes with their own bonus styles, and an extra bonus to choose for each playthough too. And then spells... finding and combining spell runes unlocks new spells as you play, so an added element of trying to beat the game AND unlock all the spell combos.

It doesn't have the best graphics, but the gameplay is thick and fast and pretty damn entertaining.

It's weird to me how whenever Dungeons of Dredmor is brought up, it's always immediately described as being 'basic' or 'simple'. And by the standards of serious, old-school roguelikes it is, but most roguelike games on the market at the moment only borrow some elements from the classics, like perma-death and randomisation. Nothing wrong with that at all, we wouldn't have gems like FTL without people experimenting with the formula, but it strikes me as strange how people always go out of their way to mention its simplicity. For instance, I'd say it's the most old-fashioned and complex roguelike on this list apart from Nethack.

Not criticising by the way, just saying it's a pattern I've noticed.

Strange that a list comes up where I've actually played over half the games listed. Definitely can't argue with any of these, though in my personal head-canon, Ragnarok replaces Nethack.

And someday, someday I will finish Spelunky and Dungeons of Dredmor...

ffronw:

Starke:
I'm a little surprised Binding of Issac didn't get a nod.

Alarien:
Not really sure how you make this thread and leave off The Binding of Isaac, but ok. I agree with most of them.

I'm looking forward to Darkest Dungeon (have it, waiting for it to be out of early access before playing it) and Hand of Fate when it's a little bit cheaper.

Believe me, Binding of Isaac was the first one left off the list. It was a hard decision picking the last one in.

It seems weird to leave off the game that pretty much restarted the genre but include something like don't starve, since its roguelike elements are barely there. Unless updates have included more than just occasionally unlocking a new character and the aforementioned starving. Unless we are just talking about games where you die and restart a lot, in which case shouldn't things like dayz be included as well?

ffronw:

Sort of? I mean, there's an easily discernible end to XCOM, and you can't just keep grinding forever, but it definitely has some roguelike tendencies.

True, there is no meta-goal beyond either saving or losing the world. Maybe my definition of rogue-like is vaguer than most.

That list is well timed; believe it or not, I was mulling over what rogue-like to get last night when lo-and-behold, this list appeared! The crowned winner was Rogue Legacy in the end, as that happened to be on sale. It is indeed, as you say, addictive. So here's a thanks from me and probably Cellar-door games (assuming the offer didn't trim their profits) too.

Hand of fate is also on sale, I hesitate for unknown reasons on its' purchase though.

https://crawl.develz.org/

A follow up of nethack that I have enjoyed. The game has a lot of interesting additions like search, auto pathing etc. I have made it to the later levels where the game starts going after resistances. Playing as a smashy Minotaur Berserker of Trog. : )

I was briefly obsessed by Rogue Legacy, but after finishing that I've moved on to Darkest Dungeon. I'm doing really well at the moment to the point where I don't want to play much more until it's out of early access so I can hopefully go through the whole game with what I've got going on now, so I'm giving it a bit of a rest.

I might give FTL a go when I can get it on the cheap, it seems interesting.

ffronw:

Starke:
I'm a little surprised Binding of Issac didn't get a nod.

Alarien:
Not really sure how you make this thread and leave off The Binding of Isaac, but ok. I agree with most of them.

I'm looking forward to Darkest Dungeon (have it, waiting for it to be out of early access before playing it) and Hand of Fate when it's a little bit cheaper.

Believe me, Binding of Isaac was the first one left off the list. It was a hard decision picking the last one in.

Xsjadoblayde:
Would Xcom EU/EW count as a rogue-like? I always felt it was a hugely scaled up rogue-like strategy. It is incredibly appealing and should happen more often...not just on PC.

Sort of? I mean, there's an easily discernible end to XCOM, and you can't just keep grinding forever, but it definitely has some roguelike tendencies.

Yeah, but isn't this the same for FTL. There is an obvious end to each session (destroy the rebel mothership) and you can't really grind forever in it.

Dont' Starve:
Seemed like fun at first but it takes too long to do anything and you stumble from one crisis to another.
Too much of doing the same thing over and over and over again, in the same order.

Darkest Dungeon:
Too much RNG and everything feels.. intangible? ethereal? ever-shifting? Meh, I know there is a word that describes it better.

Dungeon of the Endless:
Never played it. I think I might have heard of it..maybe. I will definitely check it out, thanks!

Nethack:
I spent soooo many hours in this and the GUI version. I need to perform some HDD Archeology I think.

Spelunky:
I do NOT like to be rushed. Instant dislike.

FTL:
Hmm. I am (sort of) being rushed, but the time allowed and how it is allowed is adequate.
I do like it, a lot, I would still prefer not to be rushed though.
And that it was longer.

Dungeons of Dredmor:
Quite nice. I always have trouble choosing between a crafter or non-crafter protagonist though.

Rogue Legacy:
I really like it! Or..I did, until I got to game+ or whatever it's called.
I hit a wall..Hard. It could be a tiny wall, but it feels big so I just moved on.

---

You include NetHack the clone but not the original Rogue? Shame on you! On the other hand, I suppose Rogue doesn't technically qualify as a Rogue-like...

Incidentally, here's some more good rogue-likes that I like: (interjection of ADD: How many rogues would a roguelike like if a roguelike could like Rogue?)

House of Dead Ninjas - twitchy procedurally-generated ninja-killing
The Binding of Isaac - partially responsible for the resurgence of roguelike and let's play as genres in their respective media
Super Amazing Wagon Adventure - randomest of the random; you can actually win by game crash. FTL plus Oregon Trail plus cocaine.
Legend of Grimrock - a 3D roguelike mixed with some Might and Magic
Recettear - not "exactly" a roguelike, per se, but the dungeons are randomly generated and this game doesn't get enough attention
Sword of the Stars: The Pit - equal parts roguelike and sci-fi survival horror, also has guns
Risk of Rain - what an open-world roguelike would look like, if one can imagine such a thing

A list of roguelikes with 1 (!!!!) actual roguelike. Well, at least not zero =)

Xsjadoblayde:
Would Xcom EU/EW count as a rogue-like? I always felt it was a hugely scaled up rogue-like strategy. It is incredibly appealing and should happen more often...not just on PC.

Kind of, if you look at the entire game, from starting a campaign to finishing it. But, it's an awkward fit.

Rogue was a single character RPG where you start in a randomly generated map, populated with monsters, and see how far you can get. While people have gotten good enough with these to roll out consistent wins, the expectation is defeat.

X-COM, in most of it's incarnations, is a strategy game with highly fragile units. The unit fragility is Rogueish, but the rest of the game is pretty clearly not the same genre. It shares the permadeath element, but that's more a result of it being a strategy game, rather than it being a Roguelike.

If you turn on enough of the Second Wave settings in Enemy Unknown/Enemy Within, you can get something that is lot closer to a roguelike. Just like you can choose to play Dark Souls or Bloodbourne as a Roguelike by applying additional restrictions onto yourself. But, it's not really in the genre.

If you want to play XCOM like a roguelike, using the Second Wave settings, you're looking at starting with, at least, Ironman, Not Created Equally, and Hidden Potential enabled. Adding modifiers like Training Roulette, E-115, Total Loss, and New Economy can all push that further.

Even then, as a roguelike, XCOM is unusually long. Usually in the genre we're talking about short, discrete play sessions. As a genre, there's been a move towards long term progression as a result, but XCOM isn't really about an individual mission as "the game" with a few progression systems attached.

Darkest Dungeon bleeds towards XCOM at the end, and there's certainly a natural transition from the advancement systems in something like Rogue Legacy and XCOM's tech progression. But, the priorities are slightly different. As a result of XCOM we probably will see more XCOM like elements in the Roguelike genre, and XCOM2's randomly generated maps suggest they're going in more of a Roguelike direction with that game. But, at least EU/EW is an edge case, at best.

2xDouble:
Legend of Grimrock - a 3D roguelike mixed with some Might and Magic

Honestly, not so much a roguelike. Grimrock basically is a modern dungeon crawler like Might and Magic. It'd be a little like saying Skyrim or Dark Souls is a Roguelike. Kinda, sorta, not really. Though you can play it like one.

 

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