Your eyes lock with a mysterious robed figure, and he swiftly launches a fireball in your direction. They provide endless entertainment with new twists and turns every play through thanks to procedurally-generated maps and random encounters.
This unique challenge is offset by more playful RPG elements like special abilities and powerful treasure. We’ve curated the following list of roguelike games that dungeon crawling enthusiasts are sure to love.
The Binding of Isaac was released in 2011 to widespread critical acclaim, largely thanks to its history-inspired storyline and groundbreaking roguelike mechanics. The game begins when God sends Isaac’s mother a message demanding her son’s life.
Isaac gets word of his mother’s intentions and flees to the basement of their home for safety– only to be confronted by a horde of bloodthirsty monsters! Halls filled with monsters, traps, and other nasty surprises are commonplace, and only the strongest will survive.
Players assume control of a champion whose task it is to wind their way through the dungeon and take on the final boss. Make it through alive, and you’ll unlock new character classes, races, and items to aid you on your journey.
Website: http://dodgeroll.com/ Platform: Windows, Mac, Linux, PS4, Xbox One, Switch Genre: Bullet Hell Roguelike Developer: Dodge Roll Release: 2016 Enter the Dungeon takes this concept to new heights, as you descend into the depths for a gun that lets you kill your past.
Dead Cells puts a unique spin on the roguelike genre with its sci-fi storyline and fiendish mechanics. In order to survive, players must collect cells, the in-game currency, to unlock upgrades and purchase new items.
It features tried-and-true ASCII art as well as challenging MUD mechanics that will entertain seasoned veterans and novices alike. Enter the Dungeons of Doom to collect the Amulet of Candor, a sacred treasure with immense power.
Players assume control of Cadence, the daughter of a famous treasure hunter who recently turned up missing. Intent on finding her father, Cadence makes her way into a large underground dungeon controlled by the Necromancer.
Take control of a battle-hardened wizard and complete the Chaos Trials, a 10-level procedurally generated dungeon that will test you at every turn. You’ll have to rely on your entire library of spells to attack, defend, and navigate your way through the challenges.
Collect money and treasure along the way to unlock new spells and items to boost your strength and increase your endurance. The game is available for PC and major consoles, and it’s received great ratings from critics and players alike.
The game is available for PC, console, and mobile, making it one of the most accessible rogue likes on our list! There are numerous items and abilities to be found or purchased, and the procedurally generated dungeons provide hours of entertainment.
Titles in this genre boast a number of unique features like simple hack-and-slash combat, labyrinthine map designs, and rewarding loot mechanics. The unifying theme among roguelike games of that time was that gameplay mimicked tabletop RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons and Adventure.
Those rogue likes included similar mechanics like experience points, special abilities, and challenging maps that players were tasked with overcoming. The genre looks very similar today, but it’s also expanded to encompass a wider swath of games across many platforms.
What they all share in common is an exciting style of play that speaks to and rewards the explorer inside. We’ve penned some general thoughts on roguelike games to take a deeper look at the nuances of the genre.
Rogue likes are known for their insane amount of unlockable rewards including new items, special abilities, and even playable characters. One offshoot of the roguelike genre is roguelike-like games that feature many of the same mechanics but don’t abide by many of the staple guidelines.
Unlike some other games on this list, however, there’s no single element of Dead Cells that stands out. The game’s tight, responsive, and rewarding combat is what stands out most, but Dead Cells ‘ level design, nonlinear progression, and long list of unlockable are all equally impressive.
Because Dead Cells has so much to offer, there isn’t an individual element to ever ruin the experience. Although all the studio’s previous titles have toyed with various gameplay mechanics, they’ve all been praised for their story.
The loop of collecting materials to purchase upgrades between runs is still present, but the game mixes up the moment-to-moment gameplay with the Boon system. Each mystery is a little different, ranging from a suspicious ramen shop that people can’t get enough of to a haunted mansion that sits on the edge of town.
Although the catalysts for each mystery are set, most of them have multiple endings, and all of them have random encounters that change each run. The original Spunky is the key that connects Rogue and its successors in the 1980s and 90s to the modern library of roguelike games.
Both the creators of The Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy cite Spunky as a key design influence, with The Binding of Isaac developer Edmund McMillan going as far as to call Spunky “the best indie game ever made.” After 12 years of waiting, that same game now has a sequel. You’ll die a lot still, but unlike Darkest Dungeon and Dead Cells, Spunky 2 doesn’t delight in failure.
Rather, it presents you with a highly dangerous playground, not much different from an amusement park without any safety requirements, and asks you to play. Risk of Rain 2 is, like Spunky 2, a sequel to one of the most revered indie games of all time.
In addition to a roster of characters, each with different abilities, Risk of Rain 2 still has open-ended exploration, varied enemy designs, and a lot of loot. You’ll find more upgrades if you spend more time in a particular zone, but that could put the rest of your run in jeopardy.
The roguelike genre is all about choices, from the branching paths in Dead Cells to card decisions in Slay the Spire. Risk of Rain 2 goes further, allowing you to make choices on the fly that will impact the rest of your run.
Slay the Spire has only officially been on the market for two years, but it has already asserted itself as the bar by which other digital card games are measured. It’s Slay theSpire‘s full embrace of deck archetypes that keeps the game interesting.
You can add generically powerful cards to your deck, but Slay the Spire rewards you for choosing a lane and staying in it. Slay the Spire utilizes the excitement of drafting in a game like Magic: the Gathering to great effect, and with a simple yet highly tactical battle system, keeps you engaged between deck upgrades.
The Darkest Dungeon is the worst game you’ll probably ever play (unless you’ve subjected yourself to Belonging). Developer Red Hook Studios, however, makes suffering not only rewarding and engaging but also a lot of fun.
In dungeons, your job is to explore and take part in deeply complex turn-based battles. Your party of heroes is deeply flawed, though, often disintegrating into madness as you uncover the horrors within each dungeon.
The fact that you can send your stressed, manic heroes to the tavern to drink their issues away between dungeons should tell you everything you need to know. The result is an oddly sadistic game with beautiful art and sound design.
All of that, however, is just a veil for smart game design that expertly balances respecting and rewarding the player. Cultist Simulator feels like an ever-expanding story, with each action setting in motion another series of events that’ll pop up at some point later in your run.
Developer Subset Games has a knack for creating extremely tactical and anxiety-inducing gameplay moments, and FT shows that at full tilt. You pilot a ship for the Galactic Federation that’s capable of jumping between star systems faster than light, fighting a losing battle against a group simply known as the Rebellion.
As you continue, the pulse gets more involved and the enemies more challenging, forcing you to stay aggressive and tactical, but most importantly, on the beat. Although the expansion has a story to tell, it takes a backseat to running around the moon and shooting Mimics.
It works as long as you’re a fan of action, but the slow, methodical storytelling of Prey doesn’t translate. Nita just finished a run in early access, brought to market by a superstar roster of three indie developers behind games like Baba Is You and The Swapped.
As you dig deeper into a vast network of caverns, you’ll craft spells that you can use to progress further. Explosions burst out into fire and expand across sections of wood, while acid slowly decays the world around you.
Like Dead Cells and Hades, the core gameplay loop is strong enough on its own, and the upgrades simply reinforce it. It brushes up against pure mayhem but never fully embraces it, making combat encounters feel visceral and tactical at the same time.
It’s a game that asks you to get lost in its world, and with vivid, imaginative writing, that’s easy to do. With the size of the game, you’ll constantly encounter new threats that you’re not equipped to deal with, and in true roguelike fashion, you lose everything when you die.
Spunky was the catalyst to the modern wave of rogue likes, but the current market owes a lot to The Binding of Isaac, too. If The Binding of Isaac proves anything, it’s that there really isn’t an upper limit to how much you can include in a roguelike game.
Even after spending dozens of hours with Isaac, you’ll still find items that you’ve never seen before. It’s a tight dungeon crawler in the vein of classic Zelda games, dressed up in Edmund McMillan’s twisted and hilarious imagination.