What's your favorite rogue-like or rogue-lite?

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#1 Posted by redcream (909 posts) -

Hey duders, I'm currently playing Darkest Dungeon and it's been thrilling so far but I'm nearing my breaking point, which I know is the point of the game, but I like it a lot. I also like Rogue Legacy and all rogues in general as I love the breadcrumb gameplay loop of inching just a little bit further until you reach your ultimate goal. I also like X-Com which I know is not a rogue-like but it has elements similar to DD where you root for a character you've developed over several missions with the risk of it getting all messed up in the end plus the base-building aspect of it kinda resembles DD though it's not a run-based game.

Anyway, without getting hung up on genre trappings and semantics, my question is this: what's your favorite game with this type of gameplay loop?

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#2 Posted by RetroMetal (871 posts) -

Super House of Dead Ninjas or Dead Cells.

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#3 Posted by OurSin_360 (6227 posts) -

I am at a point where i feel like making games "rouge like" are a detriment to the games quality.

I would say that Dead Cells is my favorite so far, but everything i hate about it is due to it being a rouge-like. Weapons not carrying over, random start up equipment, replaying the same bosses over and over etc. I feel like if this was just a linear metroid-vania it would be a much better experience, because as fun as it is to explore the map and unlock new abilities basically losing them all and starting over just kinda sucks. I hit that wall with these games every time, I enjoyed rogue legacy for a bit too. I haven't gotten that deep into darkest dungeon but it seems more like xcom ironman than a rouge like, but maybe i didn't play enough.

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#4 Edited by TheHT (15890 posts) -

Really diggin Enter the Gungeon actually.

I generally prefer games with the Rogue Legacy thing where there's a "meta" progression instead of each run being relatively pure, or the only unlocks being things like items, but Gungeon's got interesting new items crossing my path at a good clip, and the core shooting/dodging just feels great.

I remember liking Risk of Rain's whole thing with unlocking a whole bunch of characters, but that gameplay never quite landed with me.

But the ultimate one for me so far's probably still Spelunky. Damn near perfect amount of challenging platforming/traps/enemies, secrets, planning ahead, tight control, and things just going fuckin south on a run.

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#5 Posted by jgittins (27 posts) -

Rogue Legacy was the only one I ever got into. I tried Spelunky a few times but without having that progression system it didn't really grab me.

There's a game on steam called Legend of Dungeon that works with the HTC Vive. I have that one and play it in VR sometimes which is a cool experience. It doesn't have any progression system either, but you can get lucky and find a powerful weapon early on which helps you get deeper into the game. It has 4 player local co-op as well, but I've never tried that.

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#6 Posted by BeachThunder (15169 posts) -

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth by a wide margin.

Spelunky's fantastic too, though.

In terms of old-school, turn-based games, DRL (formerly DoomRL) is a lot of fun.

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#7 Posted by ShaggE (9313 posts) -

Isaac Rebirth still has my heart. No similar games quite feed that same need. Even Enter the Gungeon is missing that certain I-don't-know-what that Isaac has.

There's also a game called Rogue Shooter that kind of failed to gain traction, but I really got into that one as well.

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#8 Posted by FrodoBaggins (2120 posts) -

Rogue Legacy is the only one off the top of my head that I've finished so....

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#9 Posted by cubidog (96 posts) -

I love me some roguelites and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth and Spelunky are the best I'd say. There are a lot of good roguelites out there, but none have come close to toppling those for me. I got both of the expansions for Isaac recently and am really enjoying most of the new content. However, I have decided that I'm not going to do everything in the game, it would just take too long and be way too frustrating. But I'll continue to casually play it for years and keep slowly unlocking more items and characters.

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#10 Edited by deactivated-5b85a38d6c493 (1990 posts) -

No rogue-like/lite game has really hooked me since Binding of Isaac. That was my go to game of that style. Perfect for podcast listening. Put around 100 hours into it.

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#11 Posted by SethMode (2104 posts) -

Spelunky is the best in terms of being the best combination of enjoyable regardless of the drops and making me feel like I can beat it no matter what. Binding of Isaac is right up there with it. Nothing else really comes close. BIC had a more addictive quality for me, but I think Spelunky is a much better game.

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#12 Posted by JoeDangerous (620 posts) -

Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. It's so perfect. I really wish I liked the later stuff nearly as much.

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#13 Posted by bmccann42 (446 posts) -

Galak-Z, even though I never got beyond the 3rd level.

Would absolutely love an easy mode with progression as the controls and combat were fantastic.

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#14 Posted by ichthy (1372 posts) -

Isaac for me as well, although Spelunky (does that even count?) and Necrodancer come close.

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#15 Posted by mezmero (3794 posts) -

I made a thread about this very topic a little over a year ago. 2016 in particular was an exceptional year for this weird sub genre of Rogue-esque-ish-like-lites. As of now the answer is probably between Invisible Inc., Nuclear Throne, or Enter The Gungeon. I also absolutely looove Spelunky but I was never very good at it and ended up just seeing the end-game via streams. Kind of fallen off these sorts of games recently perhaps because the procedural generation aspect of this stuff doesn't feel nearly as fresh.

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#16 Edited by Luchalma (554 posts) -

For over 5 years now, my biggest priority in gaming has been to find a game that makes me feel the way Spelunky did and has every year since release. My XBLA, PSN and Steam libraries are filled with DOZENS of Roguelikes, Roguelites, Roguelikelikes and so forth. If it has procedural generation and permadeath, I will buy it and play it.

So far, although there have been many good and great games in all of those, nothing comes anywhere near approaching anywhere NEAR what Spelunky has done for me. I don't use the word perfect to describe many things, but I'm pretty sure Spelunky is a perfect video game.

I'm not sure even Spelunky 2 will be the game I'm looking for. But from reading his book, Derek Yu has a very good understanding of why Spelunky works so well so we'll see.

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#17 Posted by lylebot (137 posts) -

I just can’t abide calling a game with a progression system “rogue-like”. Without a fresh start each run, what’s left to make it like Rogue? Just procedural generation?

I really like Rogue Legacy, but it doesn’t qualify as a rogue-like in my book. And to be honest I can’t say I actually like the genre that much, as even Spelunky didn’t grab me.

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#18 Edited by ArbitraryWater (15756 posts) -

Honestly, I think I burnt out on the format pretty hard over the last few years, and saying that your video game is run-based and filled with procedural generation is a good way for me to lose interest, doubly so if said game has neat mechanics that would benefit from some hand-crafted levels. It's why I disliked Invisible Inc despite it conceptually being my jam and it's why I've shied away from Dead Cells despite it apparently being very good. I dunno, something about ramming my head against a constantly changing brick wall until I achieve mastery or get a lucky seed is something I don't really feel inclined toward right now.

That said, I can hardly pretend I haven't enjoyed games of this type in the past, more that it would be very hard for one to grab my attention in the near-future. Of the handful of actual, legitimate capital R, Berlin Interpretationlike Rogue Roguelikes I've tried out, I've had a lot of fun with Tales of Maj'Eyjal and Dungeons of Dredmor, both of which are fairly light and breezy as far as the genre goes. Nethack and its hyper-hardcore ilk scare the shit out of me and feel like they're designed for and by dedicated lunatics, but I respect their absolute insanity.

If we're talking Roguelikelikelikes or Roguelites or whatever, the ones that stand out in my memory are FTL and Ziggurat. If FTL's final boss wasn't complete trash I'd still probably play it now and then.

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#19 Posted by BabyChooChoo (7093 posts) -

I haven't played a ton, but I really enjoyed Necrodancer and Heart & Slash. Necrodancer was and still is such a fucking awesome, unique concept. Heart & Slash is pretty standard affair, but makes up for it with style in my opinion. Also, the soundtracks in both are on some top tier, next level type of shit. I rarely buy video game music, but I bought the soundtracks to both because I needed them in my life.

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#20 Posted by meteora3255 (681 posts) -

For me it's either Rogue Legacy or FTL. I love the action/platforming in Rogue Legacy and the persistent upgrades mean every run has a purpose. FTL is also great as a pick up and play game and works great on a touch screen.

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#21 Posted by BladedEdge (1322 posts) -

Currently, Enter the Gundgeon and Slay the Spire are my go-too Rogue-like games. I've also really been interested in the cyclical dungeon generation element of Unexplored, (check Austin's video play-through over at Waypoint) but have found, like EtG, I am very bad at it. Hand of Fate 2 also caught my interest for awhile, before it got replaced for the moment by the other two games. Heat Signature also was great fun before it got slipped off my active rotation.

As it stands, Slay the Spire has been my go-too because it doesn't require twitch skill, which is something I only want to put into a game semi-regularly. Enter the Gundgeon is only my active play list still only because I've got the console mod hack installed and routinely spawn 50 dogs or a rainbow chest or whatever I decide I need to make up for my lack of skill.

I will point out a game most people don't seem to have heard of which is essentially Sunless Sea, called A house of many doors. Instead of a sea its a series of rooms, instead of a ship its a living train, otherwise it is -very- similar. So, if you like Sunless Sea for its style, go play A house of many doors.

If on the other hand you enjoyed Sunless Sea for the writing, you might try The Long Journey Home, which is a game about a space-ship that gets lost way out in space. Random universe generation, a lot of very well written stories/characters/alien races/encounters. I could never get past the Lunar Lander mini-game that made up the games major non text/2d space combat elements. But if you can, I've followed the games main author (Richard Corbett) for years and always found his writing to be fantastically funny and high-quality. Still mean to go back into that game when the itch hits me, turn it on super easy just to see the story.

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#22 Posted by DrFlapjack (373 posts) -

As @RetroMetal said, Super House of Dead Ninjas is really fun. Once you start unlocking things and getting a hang of the flow it's super fast and rewarding.

Other than that- Binding of Isaac for sure. It's a bit of a different experience now than when it first came out, but even after ~600 hours on the PC I started playing again when it came to the Switch. Early on it's great for short burst gaming sessions.

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#23 Posted by Bfinstad86 (52 posts) -

FTL all day and all night. I still play it a few times a month after all these years. It's a goddamn masterpiece.

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#24 Edited by wollywoo (325 posts) -

FTL is amazing, hectic fun that will make you want to throw your laptop across the room and then immediately dust it off for another run. I am waiting for more games build on the ideas from that brilliant battle system.

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#25 Posted by cornfed40 (619 posts) -

FTL by a mile. Works great on the iPad too

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#26 Posted by steevl (548 posts) -

FTL, Spelunky, and The Binding of Isaac Rebirth are definitely my favorites. Dead Cells is the most recent one that really hooked me.

I've also put about 150 hours into a much lesser known roguelite called Gunmetal Arcadia. Honestly, it probably doesn't deserve that much playtime, but at this point it's kind of a relaxing thing for me to play while I listen to a podcast. I've been trying to get a specific item from a chest which has only a small chance of appearing, and then I'll have all the achievements. There are not a lot of items or content in the game compared to other roguelike/roguelites. I guess it's just a weird obsession or some kind of madness. Part of the fun of it for me is the combat is similar to Zelda II, albeit without having a shield. Definitely a niche game.

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#27 Posted by catoasapun (79 posts) -

@lylebot said:

I just can’t abide calling a game with a progression system “rogue-like”. Without a fresh start each run, what’s left to make it like Rogue? Just procedural generation?

Which is why the term "rogue-lite" was invented. It's silly I know but at this point labeling it that way is what works the most.

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#28 Edited by ToxicAntidote (1158 posts) -

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is the first game that comes to mind. They have released so much great content with Afterbirth and Afterbirth+.

Another game that I think most people totally forgot about, is Brut@l, which I actually returned to recently. Brad and Jason did a Quick Look for it when it was released. It's also the game I think should have won 'Best Styyyyyle' in 2016. It's basically an isometric rogue-like, with 3D ASCII graphics....kinda. It's awesome.

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#29 Posted by sparky_buzzsaw (8958 posts) -

If Dead Cells was a movie, it would basically be the genetically combined perfect labratory baby of Terminator 2, Dark Knight, Road Warrior, Aliens, Predator, and Three Men and a Baby. It's that fucking good.

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#30 Posted by Tesla (2296 posts) -


I love everything about it: the Saturday morning cartoon style, great music, the fun and challenging gameplay. I also really like how unique the builds can get, which makes me approach each run slightly differently. I could go on and on but the most important thing is that I'm left with that "just one more try" feeling every time I die.

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#31 Posted by cikame (2954 posts) -

I.... don't know.
I've been against the idea of rogue-likes since they became a thing, there are loads of great and technically accomplished ideas that go into a lot of them, but they're almost all let down by uninspired level design, a lack of environmental variety, shallow repeating gameplay loops and once you start digging into them, a general lack of content.
It's the indie nature of the games of course, they can't afford to make a 10-20 hour storied campaign with beautiful cutscenes and impressive vistas, if you can design some great mechanics you can stretch them out across randomly generated levels for "infinite replayability, no run is the same!"... except most of the time it is, and the level is still green.

So i guess i'd say i had the most fun with Killing Room, just a bunch of simple rooms killing simple enemies with simple guns, it's not the most polished game in the world but it had some memorable looking bosses.

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#32 Posted by jinxplayer (26 posts) -

Check out dungeon crawl stone soup for, in my opinion, the best true roguelike game in the spirit of Rogue. I consider Dwart Fortress / RimWorld as RL games too, and those are excellent as well.

I very much enjoy the genre.

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#33 Posted by Counterclockwork87 (1180 posts) -

Spelunky! One of the few gaming things I’m proud of is getting every trophy in that game.

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#37 Posted by steevl (548 posts) -

Check out dungeon crawl stone soup for, in my opinion, the best true roguelike game in the spirit of Rogue. I consider Dwart Fortress / RimWorld as RL games too, and those are excellent as well.

I very much enjoy the genre.

My brother played the crap out of Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. I've never really given it a shot, unfortunately, but I also have to be in the right mood for a proper roguelike such as that, and these days I rarely am in that mood. That being said, I remember really getting into the original Rogue on various friends' computers in the late 80s/early 90s when I was a kid.

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#38 Posted by Addfwyn (2054 posts) -

Binding of Isaac is probably one of my favourites, it has my most play time for sure.

I really like Darkest Dungeon, but I have never actually finished it. It is almost too stressful for me, which I realise is by design. The fact you can over-level lower dungeons and are blocked from sending your best guys on them was something I never liked too much.

I like the idea of rogue likes a lot, and when I play them I often get very invested. I just usually don't start them, because I know it will be a huge time sink for me. These days, I like a game that I can play through and "finish".

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#39 Posted by ripelivejam (13243 posts) -

Into the Breach looks like it may be rad as fuck. Should maybe play more FTL though.

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#40 Posted by BoOzak (2686 posts) -

Rogue Legacy is the only one off the top of my head that I've finished so....


I also really liked Let it Die but the F2P hooks were quite frustrating.

But my real answer is Toejam & Earl.

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#41 Posted by TobbRobb (6591 posts) -

I don't usually like that style of progression, but I think Darkest Dungeon and Dead Cells have felt the best to me. I've enjoyed the ratio of control to RNG and general flow of the progression.

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#42 Posted by avantegardener (2385 posts) -

I'd like to make a game called Loose Rouges.. it would considered educational software.

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#45 Posted by Zuljin (39 posts) -

Having a blast with Slay the Spire right now.
Soft spot in my heart for Sunless Sea but FTL is my forever game.

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#46 Posted by LeStephan (1215 posts) -

Just wanted to chime in, its been mentioned before but:

FTL. Oh my gosh, that game. that soundtrack. <3

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#47 Posted by RainbowWeasel (26 posts) -

One that I don't see mentioned very often is Elona. It's a little odd compared to other true "rogues" out there where there isn't a traditional dungeon with runs and it has its own open world. However, there are a ton of dungeons that do pop up on the map randomly and nearly all of these are procedurally generated (a few even change every time you enter.)

The game feels like a 2-D Elder Scrolls game to some degree where you have a character whose abilities improve the more you use them, and there is a large amount of skills even outside of combat. I usually end up making my characters be gun-toting performers who make their money at parties, assuming they don't get killed by a high-level character that hates their singing. Also permadeath is a setting, though dying does cause problems.

Also you have to pay taxes. The game is very weird and I love it and it feels unfinished in so many ways but I'd recommend it in a heartbeat. Plus it's free.

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#48 Edited by gunflame88 (398 posts) -

Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is my jam. It's extremely deep, yet pretty easy to get into, and I highly recommend it. You just don't get this kind of insane variety of enemies, equipment and playstyles in "normal" games. For a more lighter, quicker experience, DoomRL is a very good coffee-break roguelike.

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#49 Edited by ScruffyPK (3 posts) -

Into the Breach is the first game with those mechanics to really lock me in. Feels ***LESS** RNG dependent and more dependent on my skill than others I've played.

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#50 Edited by cloudymusic (2137 posts) -

Probably Nethack. Even though other games like ADOM take that concept and expand on it, I like Nethack's particular blend of static and randomized elements in each run, immense depth of item and environment interactions, and the typical length of each run is in a nice sweet spot for me, too.

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