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Best Roguelike Games to Stimulate and Sharpen Your Mind

By 

Certified Awkward Tech Guy™

Last Updated 05 Dec 2021


Although roguelike games aren't the most graphically beautiful, they're gaining a lot of traction globally. So, why are these best roguelike games blowing people's minds and being bought by hundreds of thousands worldwide? We'll tell you why. 

What is the best rogue like game?

What Are Roguelike Games?

Roguelike games combine role-playing and action and adventure into a cool game that requires you to use your mental prowess to avoid dying. Once you die, you have to start all over again from the beginning. So, where did the name roguelike come from?

The name originates from the 1980 game Rogue. Roguelike games are similar to this 1980 game. The best thing about these types of games is that they can be played as single-player or multiplayer.

Although you'll have to start from scratch when you die, the genius of these games is that they don't feel repetitive. You'll get to stimulate and excite your mind without feeling bored. Before you dive into the world of roguelike games, a word of caution is that you might get addicted. This is how good these games are.

Now that you have a better idea of what roguelike games are all about let's look at the best games in the market that will blow your mind. 


1. Hades - Nintendo Switch

14%
Hades - Nintendo Switch
1,630 Reviews
Hades - Nintendo Switch
  • Battle out of hell in Hades, recipient of more than 50 Game of the Year awards!
  • Includes a download code for the Hades Original Soundtrack, by composer Darren...
  • Also includes a full-color 32-page character compendium booklet, featuring...
  • Defy the god of the dead as you hack and slash out of the Underworld in this...

Kicking off our list is this game that is fitting for the 21st century. Hades was released in 2020 after its early success in 2018. Although the visuals of this game resemble other games of this genre, this game has been polished to perfection and stays true to the spirit of other modern roguelike games. The art in this game will impress you.

These best roguelikes will make you use your mental prowess and a handful of skills to hack through random floors. When you progress further, you'll unlock more abilities and weapons to allow you to have a better experience. The more you play, the more you get improved replayability and variability.

You'll love the adrenaline you'll get as you continue going up the levels. The best part about this game is that you will make progress no matter how you play. You get to unlock weapon aspects and get precious gems during your run. So get ready to enjoy the excitement and thrills of your runs as you continue to collect power-ups.

  • Pros
  • Exciting
  • Easy to play
  • Received over 50 Game of the Year awards
  • Comes with a full-color 32-page character compendium booklet for your reference
  • Fun
  • Allows you to grow as you play
  • Cons
  • More expensive than the other games 

2. Dead Cells Nintendo Switch

16%
Dead Cells - Action Game of The Year - Nintendo Switch
654 Reviews
Dead Cells - Action Game of The Year - Nintendo Switch
  • Incredible 2D souls-lite action with more than 90 weapons and spells with...
  • Explore secret room, hidden passages, and charming landscapes. Stroll down...
  • Build your unique play style as you combat the adrenaline pumping threat of perm...

This Dead Cells action game comes with other accessories for your convenience, including access to the Rise of the Giant DLC, exclusive keyring, a new reversible cover art, and a new art book that you can use. In this game, you get to be in control of a failed alchemic experiment. You'll spend your time figuring out what is happening on this ever-changing, seemingly cursed Island.

The responsive controls, perm death, challenging foes, and fair combat will get your blood going. This cathartic and visceral action game will get you psyched for anything else you have going on in your life. The replayability of the rogue-lite and the adrenaline-pumping threat you'll get with this game is unmatched.

The combat in this game is tough but fair. You'll get have fun doing the iconic dodge roll and using the weapons and spells to make your mark. You will have more fun once you unlock the special abilities that are permanent and last all through your journey. Once you choose the path that suits your play style, mood, and current build, you're good to go.

  • Pros
  • Unlocked special abilities are permanent
  • Allows you to choose a path that suits your mood, play style, and the current build
  • Adrenaline-pumping
  • Over 90 weapons and spells to choose from
  • Affordable 
  • Cons
  • Difficulty can be hard at first 

3. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ - Nintendo Switch

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ - Nintendo Switch
469 Reviews
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ - Nintendo Switch
  • Follow Isaac on his journey to find bizarre treasures that change Isaac’s...
  • A randomly generated action-shooter with heavy RPG and roguelike elements, with...
  • 14 playable characters, 20 professionally animated cartoon endings, over 50...
  • Over 6,000 rooms with over 4 billion possible combinations.

The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ involves a randomly generated action-shooter with rogue-like and heavy RPG elements. You'll get to follow Isaac on his journey and find great treasures that change his form. These treasures will give Isaac superhuman abilities and fight off the mysterious creatures he encounters on his quest.

Follow Isaac on his journey in this Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ game as he discovers cool secrets and fights his way to a haven. You will enjoy having over 500 weapons and items to choose from, along with five unique modes of play. So get ready to have fun with the 1,000+ hours of gameplay available with these best roguelike games.

Other features that you'll enjoy include 20 professionally animated cartoon endings, 14 playable characters, 30+ challenge modes, and over 50 unique bosses. In addition, get to enjoy over 6,000 rooms that have over 4 billion possible combinations. What a thrill!

  • Pros
  • Easy to play
  • Allows you to have over 1,000 hours of gameplay
  • Very intriguing
  • Provides a great escape
  • Has a lot of replayability 
  • Cons
  • You have to start over with every run of the game
  • Has some bugs

4. Slay The Spire - Nintendo Switch

16%
Slay The Spire - Nintendo Switch
414 Reviews
Slay The Spire - Nintendo Switch
  • Dynamic Deck Building: Choose your cards wisely! Discover hundreds of cards to...
  • An Ever-changing Spire: Whenever you embark on a journey up the Spire, the...
  • Powerful Relics to Discover: Powerful items known as relics can be found...
  • The effects of these relics can greatly enhance your deck through powerful...

Slay the Spire is an immersive game where you're able to choose your cards and have a great dynamic deck-building adventure. You'll have hundreds of cards to play with that you can add to your deck as you attempt to climb the Spire. What you need to do to play the cards efficiently is to dispatch foes to reach the top.

The Spire in this game is ever-changing. This adds to the thrill of playing this game since the layout is different each time. Be ready to face different enemies, alternate between risky and safe paths, discover various relics, and choose different cards as you move ahead. You'll also get to fight different bosses in this cool game.

Another perk to this game is that it's never a boring day as you discover powerful relics throughout the Spire. Just like other roguelike games like Risk of Rain, Risk of Rain 2, Rogue Legacy, Darkest Dungeon, Nuclear Throne, and more, you'll get your mental prowess tested. One thing to note is that getting a relic can cost you a lot more than gold. 

  • Pros
  • Gives a great thrill with the ever-changing Spire
  • Easy to play
  • Diverse
  • Offers a great escape
  • Fun to play
  • Cons
  • Can be addictive

5. Enter The Gungeon

12%
Enter The Gungeon
112 Reviews

Enter the Gungeon can give other games like Risk of Rain 2, Rogue Legacy, and Darkest Dungeon a run for their money. You'll get to enjoy an assortment of cheery pixel-art characters as they descend through the chambers. You'll also get to play the best epic boss-battles as you move on up. During the game, you'll need to collect an assortment of guns.

If you love guns, Enter the Gungeon is the game for you. The entire concept of these best roguelike games is centered on guns. Each run will feel different. Therefore, you don't have to worry about getting bored while playing this game. The plethora of weapons and the amazing bullet hell dodgy gameplay will certainly want you going for more.

You can take control of one of the four available characters in Enter the Gungeon and go on your adventure. You will be delighted to discover the numerous secrets behind the walls after you blast them open. Get ready to receive help from the opportunistic merchants that come along. The boss fights are some of the best parts of this game, whether you get the PS4, Xbox, one switch, or any other type of game. 

  • Pros
  • Great for those who love guns
  • Amazing replayability
  • Fun to play
  • Has a cool retro feel
  • Comes with a lot of content 
  • Cons
  • It can be difficult for some kids

What Are the Features of Roguelike Games?

1. Random Environment Generation

The environment of the best roguelike games is procedurally generated. To increase playability, the world you play in is randomly generated. This is what we mean by the fact that it is procedurally generated.

The environment in these games is created based on an algorithm that the designers used instead of being generated manually. The placement of the characters in the game is random, although their physical appearance is fixed. The placement of other items in this procedurally generated environment is also random.

2. Permadeath

What does permadeath mean? Permadeath means that whenever you die in the playthrough, you start again from scratch. Because of the procedurally generated environment, you won't get bored each time you start over.

You'll likely feel like you have a great adventure instead of being punished for dying in the game. Unlike in platformer games where the environment and characteristics don't change from session to session, they do in these best roguelike games.

3. Turn-Based and Grid-Based

Have you ever seen a D&D game? The structure of these best roguelikes resembles the D&D game. The world in these games exists on uniform grid lines, and the monsters and players take on one tile each. In addition, these games, whether they come on PS4, Xbox, One Switch, or other game types, are not time-sensitive.

You have all the time in the world to play these games. Therefore, each in-game command you make while playing these games corresponds to your character's single movement or action. What this also means is that these games are non-modal.

What does non-modal mean? Non-modal means that all the possible actions are available at any point of the game. You don't have any restriction to advancing movements when playing one mode.

4. Form of Complexity

Because of the non-modal nature of the game, common goals in these games have various possible solutions. One thing to note is that resource management is very crucial in these games because you'll have minimal resources to complete the levels.

Another thing when it comes to resources is that you'll have more than one use for the available resources you have. So you can re-explore the dungeon levels if you want to rediscover new resources every time you start afresh.

5. Hack and Slash

One thing you'll be doing a lot of as you play against your enemies is hacking and slashing monsters. The publisher of many of these games makes it such that it is player vs. the world. Therefore, get ready to kill your enemies as you enjoy your gaming sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions About Roguelike Games

1. What is a Roguelite?

A roguelike game mimics some elements of roguelike games because they also take Rogue as the foundation for their design. Some similar characteristics are permadeath and having procedurally generated maps.

However, there are some spins to this genre of video games. For example, many roguelikes have created a carry-over progression that allows you to go further as you play to make the runs easier. A good example is Hades which we looked at as our first pick.

You'll find many similarities between the best roguelike games we've looked at above and rogue-lite games. This is because roguelite is a sub-genre of roguelike games. The advantage of procedurally generated maps is that you never get bored.

2. Are roguelikes popular?

Yes. Over the last decade, more and more people are playing these games thanks to their adventurous and thrilling nature. In addition, the procedurally generated maps and grid-based design make for an exciting experience.

Permadeath and the fact that the maps change each time you start over reduces the chances of boredom. In addition, you get to win levels and accumulate your stash of resources that you can use throughout the game. These are some of the reasons why these games are gaining such popularity.

3. Why are they called roguelike games?

The name is derived from the fact that these games originate from Rogue. Rogue is a game that was released in 1980. However, some believe that these games also have some similarities to games that were released before Rogue.

Some of these games include Sword of Fargoal and Beneath Apple Manor. 

About the author

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

Anton is the founder of 25pc. He is a huge gaming tech nerd and loves helping people save money. To find out more about him read his about me page.

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