In the world of role-playing video games, there is one particular subgenre that never loses its charm.
It is the Roguelike or rogue-like game.
The straightforward gaming system has been in the market together with text-based games for quite some time, making it one of the constantly updated sub-genre games.
In fact, the origin of the Roguelike games nowadays can be traced back to the Rogue Video Games that were launched back in 1980.
But what are the Top Roguelike Games out there?
If you ever heard about Spelunky, then that is one of the Rogue-like games.
Deriving from the tabletop role-playing game, you would never feel bored with the gameplay.
So without further ado, you should check out some of these interesting rogue-like games ever released.
What does Roguelike Mean?
Believe it or not, this term is very confusing.
It is because numerous interpretations make the meaning of Roguelike muddled.
But to make it blunt, the genre refers to a game with levels that are always different.
The different levels are part of the procedurally generated system.
It creates each of the games has a different challenge, and you will play as a character with permadeath.
“Permadeath” is a term that makes a player have to start over from the starting point once they die.
In this case, you can say that the game will force you to die to learn the system and find the flaws.
By learning the game and finding the flaws, you can advance to the next dungeon level that is also randomly generated.
What’s the Difference between Roguelike and Roguelite?
Most of the current Rogue-like games use the old Rogue game ideas.
It generates random game space and provides a different level in each run.
Along with it, Rogue-like games mostly show a point at the end of the level without any end of the line (end game).
So, the player can compare their achievement with other players.
Rogue-lite offers the same system, but the purpose of the game is to reach the finish line.
It means that Rogue-lite has a finite end.
Another difference comes from the carryover and persistence system between runs.
While the Rogue-like games need skill, Rogue-lite uses level or persistence element.
Once you reach the elements, you will be able to finish the run and move to the next level.
There are not a lot of differences, but still, both genres are worth to try.
Best Roguelike Games You Should Try in 2021
One of the best roguelike games is Heat Signature that is available for Windows PC.
One particular signature of this game is the tactical-based gameplay with a new space-themed setting.
The game has a very simple graphic, but it has a complicated system to beat.
It is because Suspicious development is the makers behind this game.
This developer is famous for the stealth puzzle game gunpoint and the complicated tactical gameplay.
However, the Heat Signature introduces some exciting gameplays.
One of them is the ability to freeze time, and it makes the game even more vicious at some point.
Why is it so? Because you will play as the random character “The Contractor” in the extraordinary space station.
The story goes with you breaking into other space stations armed with many people.
You are alone and have to survive with your wit.
The space station has a heavy defense system, and you can move around, killing each of the troopers, hack their turret, or swap positions.
This gameplay needs a lot of calculation since it has a “permadeath” system.
Once you die, then it is The End.
But you will have some extra abilities, including slowing down and pausing the time whenever you want.
You can plan your moves with this ability, like avoid enemies’ bullets, and finish the level.
After that, you should continue to the next mission, liberating more space stations, gaining more gadgets, and continuing the intergalactic heist.
You should not miss Spelunky since this cute looking game is one of the vicious top roguelike games.
Released around early Augustus 2013, many players still love this game until now.
The idea of the game is the same as Rogue-like games.
You will face randomly generated levels that offer a challenging experience and hurdles.
The main stories go with you playing as an adventurer that goes deeper inside an underground jungle.
There are numerous things to do to advance to the next level.
You should explore, avoid any dangerous wild animals, defeating enemies, disable traps, get some treasure, etc.
The randomized levels will bring you a different experience in each run.
One thing that makes this game a gem is the cute and adorable graphic.
Even though it uses 2D animations, the characters, levels, and other elements are portrayed in a comical and colorful design.
However, don’t get swooned with the graphic.
In this game, death is unavoidable and a significant hurdle to improving your skill.
You WILL die to learn the system of the levels, traps, or enemies at some point.
But you should not worry about it since there is a plethora of game items, weapons, and gadgets that can help you advance to the next level.
Those features ranging from rope, weapons, to jetpack will aid you in your underground journey.
If you are looking for a more action-style roguelike game, then you should check out Flinthook.
Still clad in 2D graphics, but Flinthook offers exciting gameplay.
In this 2017 game, you will play as a space captain Flinthook.
As the name implies, your character has a hook to move around.
The story goes with the idea that you are a space pirate captain that is doing heists to search for extraordinary treasures and fame.
One by one, a space pirate ship is your target.
You will face numerous enemies, weaponry, and crazy random generated environment and levels.
But along this journey, you have your slow-motion abilities and Blasma pistol.
The game may look simple, but the hook limitation and the very low weapon reach is the challenge.
Along with it, each of the levels offers different challenges and enemies.
Just like Spelunky, the game has fun and comical graphics.
But still, it is not an easy game.
You can play this game on Xbox One, PC, PS4, or Switch.
This game is a rogue-lite genre, but we still need to include it as one of the Best Roguelike Games.
It is no surprise that the 2013 game is still updating and has the latest Rogue Legacy 2 released on Steam recently.
In many cases, many people are in one agreement about Rogue Legacy as the cherry on top in this genre.
It is one of the best Indie games at that time.
But what makes it so interesting and unique?
The answer comes from the game never having the same gameplay idea.
The game character is a genealogical character, which means each of the heroes belongs to one family tree.
In this case, each of the casts will inherit a distinct trait that affects the gameplay.
Let’s say your character has colorblindness; that means your randomized level will appear as black and white.
Once your character dies, then your children will continue the journey.
It creates a fantastic background story and progression.
Along with it, the player will engage in randomized yet related character designs.
Another great thing about this game is the fact that it has around nine character classes.
You can be a knight, assassin, traitor, miner, etc., with a different skill tree to explore.
You can also rebuild your castle, get better skills, fight among more than 60 enemy types, and explore the ever-changing dungeons or castles.
The Binding of Isaac is another old but gold game.
It gets Overwhelmingly Positive reviews on Steam for more than 35,000 reviews.
The Binding of Isaac came out in late 2011, but the developer has released plenty of sequels for the game because of its great popularity.
The first thing that makes this game interesting is the theme and the graphic.
It has a dark tone and gory imagery, which gain diverse opinions.
One might enjoy the game; one player might hate the imagery and the background of the story.
For your information, the graphic says all about the story.
It is about a child that flees to the house basement full of nightmarish creatures.
From ghosts to brain-eating monsters, you should avoid and survive from the basement.
This RPG shooter game employs heavy rogue-like elements, which means once you die, you should start over from the beginning.
As a child, the character doesn’t have a lot of HP, but you will find mysterious treasure along the way.
Those treasures will aid Isaac with superhuman abilities that allow him to fight any monsters.
The game has many sequels, so that you will get a long playtime with this game.
There is The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, The Binding of Isaac: Repentance, and The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth that you can play on PC, Xbox One, Switch, 3DS, and on IOS.
Wrack Exoverse tries to touch the Rogue-like genre differently.
It is because this game blends the first shooter genre with the high Rogue-like elements in it.
Even more impressive is the fact that Wrack Exoverse also uses a tower-defense game mechanic in it.
With all of the elements, the game appears stunning with its cel-shaded graphics.
The Roguelike game mechanic appears on the randomly generated enemies and areas.
You will need to construct defenses with walls and turrets to fight the incoming enemies and prevent them from reaching your beacon tower.
When you create the defenses, the game shows a top-down display.
After that, the perspective will change into a first-person when you have to hold off enemies’ attacks.
In this part, the game helps you with tons of weapons and gadgets.
You can use sniper rifles, alien blasters, pistols, or shotguns.
After you finish the round or level, you will gain some money and points. The reward is for purchasing upgrades and new defenses for your area.
Slay the Spire is another one of the Top Roguelike Games that use a different gameplay approach.
Released around January 2019, Slay The Spire uses roguelikes mechanic with card games.
It also makes the game part of the card strategy, deck-builder game genre.
Yet, the other elements, such as the enemies, the levels, the power, etc., are 100% random, making the game belong to the Roguelike games.
You will start the game by choosing one of three predetermined characters.
Each of them has distinct characteristics: appearance, gameplay, conditions, health, cards, etc.
After that, you will have to start the journey by ascending the Spire.
In here, you will face tons of random generalized areas, enemies, and secrets.
As in the usual card games, the battle uses a turned-base mechanism and will spend energy on each attack.
That is why this particular game will demand many strategic moves and will guarantee you a lot of playing time.
Slay the Spire also get overwhelmingly Positive reviews from gamers on Steam, so you do not want to miss this game.
You can play Slay the Spire on multiple gaming platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, and iOS devices.
Dead cells have a gorgeous 2D graphic with a rogue-lite element.
The game released back in 2017 has won many gaming awards.
Best Indie Games at the 2017 Ping Awards, Best Indie Games at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards, and many more awards have been awarded to Dead Cells.
Heck, Dead Cells even beat games like Call of Duty, Destiny 2 to get the Best Action Games Awards at the Game Awards 2018.
In this game, you can see that the developer uses a Soul combat system.
This system will always make you explore a randomly generated dungeon.
The primary purpose is to search for a blueprint to create better gears.
But, each of the dungeon levels will come with tedious enemies and schematic that need many strategies.
Just like any other roguelike games, you will start from the beginning as you died.
But each time you die, the player will have a little bit more resources.
This particular perk is one of the most fantastic reasons why people play it.
You do not want to miss this fantastic Roguelike game.
There are more than 53,000 steam users that give an Overwhelmingly Positive review to Dead Cells.
You can enjoy Dead Cells on multiple gaming platforms such as Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices.
In this game, you will play as one of the four predetermined characters to get into the Gungeon.
Enter the Gungeon is a dungeon crawler, roguelike games that launched back in 2016.
In this game, you will enter the Gungeon as one of the four predetermined characters to find a gun that can kill your past.
The Gungeon is some randomized generated areas that consist of mazes, labyrinths that are full of mobs, and environmental hazards.
But it is also filled with numerous valuable loot, mostly guns.
This game will bring your characters to fight all the difficulties, get better achievement, and get challenges in each level.
As one of the Best Roguelike Games, there is no doubt that you have to prepare for worst-case scenarios.
You will fight the ramping up difficulties and face enemies or traps.
The games receive 48,000 Overwhelmingly Positive reviews from Steam users, so you do not want to miss it.
You can also enjoy one of the best roguelike games, Enter the Gungeon, on multiple gaming platforms such as Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
However, if you are on an iOS device, you can try playing a spinoff of this game, Exit the Gungeon.
There you have it!
9 best roguelike games you should not miss in 2021!
Are there any games that we forgot to mention in this list?
Let us know in the comment section below!