5 Best Roguelikes
The roguelike genre has seen a great resurgence these past few years. Roguelikes are a subgenre of RPG’s. They are characterized by perma-death, procedurally generated levels, and the modern ones usually have some sort of meta progression in addition to in-run progression. We rounded up the 5 best roguelikes for you.
Rogue Legacy is a 2D action platformer rogue-like. Heavily inspired by Castlevania, In Rogue Legacy you explore an ever-changing castle. When you die in Rogue Legacy you pick a new character to play, each comes with different modifiers which change your next run. As you go through the game you collect gold which can then be used to give you permanent character upgrades. And so, you slowly become stronger as you make your way through the game.
As one of the best roguelikes out there, Rogue Legacy rightfully earns it’s spot on this list.
Most of your time spent in Rogue Legacy is dedicated to hacking and slashing your way through the castle. The game is tough as nails and you will die over and over. But there’s an upside, each time you die you become a little bit stronger. This gameplay loop is highly addictive and Rogue Legacy really gives you that feeling of “one more run”. As one of the best roguelikes out there, Rogue Legacy rightfully earns it’s spot on this list.
FTL: Faster Than Light
FTL is a spaceship simulation roguelike-like. In FTL you control a spaceship and it’s crew in an attempt to save the galaxy. Each run is different with different events and combat scenarios. As you go through each run you find weapons, crewmen, and ship upgrades. Each level in FTL is made out of nodes. The vast majority of these nodes holds some sort of event. These events can be combat scenrios, shops, quests, trade deals, rescue scenarios and many more. There are also environmental dangers present in some areas of the levels which you can choose to avoid or in some cases use to your advantage.
While a great game, FTL has some weak points. Runs in FTL are a bit on the longer side. A full run in FTL can take somewhere between an hour and two to complete.Moreover FTL’s art might not be for everyone and is probably its weakest point. But if you have time to spare and enjoy or can at least bear the art style then you are in for a great experience. Despite these flaws, FTL offers so much that it earns a spot on this list.
Enter the Gungeon
From the title alone you can already probably tell Enter the Gungeon doesn’t take itself too seriously. But don’t let that light attitude mistake you, Enter the Gungeon is a great game and one of the best rogulikes out there.
Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell roguelike with a heavy theme of guns. The gun and bullets theme is incorporated into every part of Enter the Gungeon. Most of the upgrades you find are guns, bullets, or other related items. Your HP is made of bullets. Some of the enemies are literal bullets. And your main objective is to find a special gun to kill your past. There is an incredible amount of item variety. Offering an insane amount of different crazy guns. There is a gun that shoots sharks, a gun that shoots bees, An explosive banana gun, A guitar that shoots musical notes, A mailbox that shoots letters, there is even a gun that shoots guns and those guns shoot bullets.
Besides all the crazy stuff, Enter the Gungeon also offers fast paced difficult gameplay. With very little room for error, completing a run in Enter the Gungeon is a difficult task. If you enjoy uncompromising crazy gameplay, Enter the Gungeon is for you. And that’s why it earned a spot on this list.
Slay the Spire
Slay the Spire is a unique beast in this list. While other roguelikes usually focus on action combat, Slay the Spire mixes things up by changing to combat system to a deck building card game. Instead of your usual combat abilities you get a starting deck with attacks and skills. As you progress through the run you get to add and remove cards from your deck. Other than cards there are also relics which provide passive bonuses to your run. The meta progression is done via unlocking new cards that can show up in the game.
The game is still in early access and as such has a smaller amount of content. But even in its current state, Slay the Spire has a lot to offer. The game has three characters, each one plays and act differently. Overall there is a decent amount of content and I recommend it to anyone who likes card games or strategy games.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth +
The crown jewel of roguelikes. The Binding of Isaac is the game that started the resurgence of rogulikes. You play as Isaac, a lone child living with his mother. Isaac’s mother starts hearing voices telling her to sacrifice Isaac to god. Chased by his mother trying to kill him, Isaac hides in the basement and that’s where each run begins.
Gameplay in Isaac is inspired by the first Legend of Zelda, levels are divided into small rooms with enemies or light puzzles. Throughout the run you gain coins, bombs, and keys used to find secret room, open special rooms, and buy items. Combat is fairly straightforward. you can move in 8 directions and shoot in 4.
Where Isaac gets really interesting is with its item synergies. Items can alter your bullets in all manner of different and interesting ways. And many of these items interact with each other for different results. For example, picking up Brimstone causes your bullets to turn into a massive laser. Picking up The Ludovico Technique causes you to have a single controllable bullet. Picking up both these items causes you to have a circular controllable laser. And this is a very mild synergy. With the amount of items available synergies can get really crazy.
Isaac is the spiritual father to modern roguelikes and as such it deserves a spot on this list. But even if it wasn’t the spiritual father, it still deserve a spot based on its own merits.