My Favorite Rogue-Likes/Lites I've played so far (and not so Favorites)

While I'm happy that games inspired by Rogue and similar games have birthed a new growing genre thanks to The Binding of Issac, FTL, and Darkest Dungeons, many of those type of games tend to irritate me with their difficulty and "screw the player over" mechanics and gameplay discovery. It isn't my favorite genre by a long shot. A discussion on The Co-Optional Podcast about the difference between the classic Rogue-LIKE games like Rogue, Ang-band, and Dungeons of Dreadmore vs Rogue-LITE which reflects most popular games in the genre like Binding of Issac, Risk of Rain, Spelunky, FTL, and Rogue Legacy inspired this list.

I've played a few of these games, not alot of them, including popular ones, but I'll list the ones I've enjoyed. I may list the ones I didn't like just to show all the ones I did play.

List items

  • I don't know why, but at the time I went to complete this game, I didn't consider it a Rogue-lite. Maybe because I played it before Steam had tags, maybe because it presented itself as an "old school" hard 16-bit era game. Maybe because I just gravitated toward the mechanics, music and art style. To this day, I don't know why I bothered finishing it because it is the only game of this genre that i actually finished....unless you count DOOM RPG and Orcs & Elves

  • This entry is a placeholder until the DOOM RPG page is available. If Super House of Dead Ninjas was the first Rogue-LITE I completed, then DOOM RPG is the first Rogue-LIKE I completed, which is a turn-based first person RPG. Mobile phones didn't handle games well, and the developers of this game was well aware of that - turning DOOM into a game where enemies only move when you do - much like traditional rogue-LIKEs. Thankfully for me, the game wasn't difficult and the challenge came from proper player positioning and ammo management versus shooting skill and random item luck.

    I had a great time playing this on my at-the-time fancy LG enV phone, and when I saw the same developers made another game with the same gameplay, I had to play it.

  • Honestly, this game was VERY similar to DOOM RPG, but in a fantasy setting, and I was perfectly fine with that. That means the game is less memorable to me because its literally another western high fantasy with orcs and elves in it, so I don't remember much about it besides turned based action and fighting a dragon at the end, but I definitely enjoyed it.

  • This is possibly the most refined Rogue-lite on this list as far as I'm concerned. It has an art style that looks like an 80's era PC game or a Gameboy game due to its limited black, white, and red color pallete. You're essentially perpetually falling down a well, hopping on enemies, objects and platforms Mario-style and multi-jumping which also shoots a projectile under you and has limited ammo. There are different weapon types and items that can change the amount of jumps to more or less amounts. Gems dropped from enemies allow you to buy upgrades or health refills. Some enemies can only be killed by shots, or only be killed by jumping on them, or a combination of both.

    I haven't got around to finishing this one, but I think this is one of the few that I hope to actually finish because it feels so good to play.

  • I think I actually got to the last boss in Ziggurat before I got destroyed. It would be my luck that I'm trying to clear my backlog, and I can't because typical Rogue-lite shenanigans decided to screw me over.

    Imagine if Hexen had a randomly generated dungeon mode where there was no puzzles, but you had much more limited health and mana for your weapons and there were more monster closets, traps, and bosses to stop you and your one life. It has many trappings of rogue-likes, semi-difficult gameplay, randomly granted items (at each player level up), sacrificing resources (health/mana/nothing) to get a random buff or debuff at shrines, rooms with randomized stats for you and/or the enemy.

    My biggest problem is that the weapons are effective, but not satisfying, and the level design gets repetitive, like most games in this genre.

    I finally completed this at the end of April 2017!

  • While I was very interested in this game when it was first announced, I didn't follow it's production very closely, so I was surprised to find it was a roguelike when I played it. Thankfully, it does a great job at being a spiritual successor to Road Rash while being a fun, and semi-challenging roguelike. The game actually feels pretty easy, but I've messed up enough to not beat the campaign, so the difficulty feels right for me.

  • A tough as nails, top-down survival rogue like where you have to be real conservative with your ammo and resources and also use items to complete missions to get through areas. The graphics remind me of Liero

  • Being a huge Castlevania fan, I thought I would love this game. I do like this game to a degree, but this game is very difficult, and the need to attack downwards to activate some platforms was very annoying to me. This is a game I would in theory like to finish, but is much behind other games higher in this list and other games in general in my to-do list.

  • This came out when "old school FPS" were no longer coming out of the AAA industry, so this is a rogue-lite that appealed to me. The soundtrack has a nice jam and rhythm that works pretty well for is constantly moving and shooting combat. It looks fairly unique, due to it's voxel art style and limited and colorful lighting. Too bad the developer threatened Gabe Newell and got itself removed from Steam (before coming back thanks to a new owner)

    I've had many runs with this game, but I think the main reason why I can't finish it is due to the Lost Souls style enemies (flying, Flaming Skull enemies) much like the DOOM series, but even harder to avoid and deal with in groups.

  • Kingdom of Kroz is somewhat unique in the Rogue-Like genre - while it uses ASCII characters like classic Rogue style, the enemies move on their own, so it isn't turned based. The levels are also set and not randomly generated, so the best runs involve learning the level and finding the best way to use your limited resources of gems (points/health), whips (weapon), magic (shield/weapon/boulders)

    You can play a modernized version of this in the "Cruz" engine - just google Kingdom of Kroz II (and probably the first game too) to play them for free.

  • On the to do list - the game looks really good and has recieved alot of praise from critics and players. It will probably kick my butt, but what I've seen looks like something I could like, since I love shumps.

  • On the to-do list - a Rogue-lite that plays like Descent, Forsaken, and Retrovirus.

  • On the to-do list - a metroidvania Rogue-lite with a unique art style.

  • On the to do list - a rhythm based Rogue-LIKE that has alot of fans. I think it has the ability for custom music and/or levels?

  • On the todo list - an actual Rogue-like, but I haven't got to it because it's probably too hard (I like to finish games after all).

  • A turned based rogue-like I played for a while. I'd like to get back to this one.

  • On the to do list - Action RPG rogue-lite with a deck building mechanic. The flimsy, cheap version "Arkham style" combat as kept me away.

  • On the todo list - has an interesting art style that reminds me of Psychonauts and Deathspank, but it is a survival game which are a hit and miss with me.

  • On the to do list - a well-receieved shmup rogue-lite.

  • On the to-do list - a Rogue-lite built in RPG Maker where you must outrun a foreboding darkness

  • On the to do list - a Remake of a classic game that was very successful.

  • On the To do List- I don't know if I'll like it, but I always appeciate what Arcen games try to do with their games, even if they turn out odd or a bit janky.

  • On the to do list - I know it's a most beloved rogue-lite and I know it's similar to Star Command which I kinda liked, but I've avoided it simply because it is a rogue-lite and I know it will piss me off.

  • On the to-do list - mostly because I have this in my Steam library and looks ok.

  • I don't like it - It looks so cool and has a cool down system borrowed from MOBAs, but it just straight destroys me I can never get past Level 2. Wish I could like this game, but I don't want to spend so much time getting good at one game just to make a little progress. Maybe I'll go to it later....much later.

  • I don't like it - It's thanks to this and FTL that this genre is back, but even though I like the idea of a 8-way shooter in Zelda style dungeons, I got not interest in it's weird art-style and poopy, bloody, teary humor. I suppose I could go to it someday, but I got hundreds more games I'm more interested in playing.

  • I don't like it - I don't remember exactly what I didn't like about it, but it was a fairly mediocre action/platformer rogue-lite. Rogue-lites already irritate me a bit, but being an game with average combat mechanics make me not interested. It does have an interesting mechanic of managing gravity and having to literally fly out into space to get things, transfer between different parts of cargo and to go back to your "main base"

    It does have some interesting ideas going for it, so I can't call it a bad game, and honestly, if I was better at it, I would enjoy it more, but there are too many better games on my list to stick with this. If you like rogue-lites, you may want to give this a look - if you have the time for it and don't have other ones to play.

  • I don't Like it = a very interesting rogue like involving the semi-realistic handling of guns of limited ammo. Guns don't magically reload with a button, you need to manage the clip and whether a gun's safety is on or not. It's not a bad game by any means, and honestly, I wish I was better at it, but I'm not a fan of realism and the pretentious nature of the audio logs turn me off.

  • I Don't Like it - If there is any rogue-like that truly dick's you over with unfair random events, its this game. While I like the idea of trading up to improve your ship and ability to survive nebulas where better upgrades are available, this game constantly shits on your ability to finish it with countless things that will end you run.

    People who love classic rogue-lites will be just fine. In fact, the Steam edition is a re-release of a classic rogue-lite to my understanding. But this game just felt so mean in it's way to kill your runs.

  • Apparently I played this for about .7 hours and I don't exactly remember what I thought of it.

    I'm pretty sure I hated the combat. I can put up with some crap in games, but if an action rogue-like has bad, or uninteresting combat, I am done.

  • I just remember to add this to the list. I can't offer much info about it because I don't remember much - other than maybe something was missing or something felt "off". The reviews of this rogue-like are mixed, so it isn't just me.