With the recent release of Cult of the Lamb, a handy spotlight has been placed on the roguelike genre of video games. What is a roguelike game, you ask?
A roguelike video game sends the player through a series of randomised dungeons to search for loot and face new enemies. Progression is based on how far you can get with the equipment available to you, almost like a mini-RPG. Chances are you have come across one of these games before without realising it, as roguelike games have become increasingly popular among hardcore gamers in recent years. So, which roguelike games are the best? Read on to find out.
Hades was released in 2018 and has gained quite the cult following during this time. The game is steeped in Greek mythology and places you in the shoes of Hades’ son, Zagreus. Appalled by his hellish surroundings, you control Zagreus as he fights an onslaught of varied demons and bosses to escape the domain of Hades once and for all.
Zagreus isn’t alone in his adventure, though. The pantheon of Greek gods is at your disposal, and they will bestow a random gift upon you as you progress. Fight your enemies with Athena’s ranged arrows, Poseidon’s area affects waves, or receive lightning powers from Zeus himself. Fail in one of the many rooms on your way out, though, and you have to start from the beginning again. Hades is currently available on PC or the Nintendo Switch.
The Binding Of Isaac
The next game on our list is not one for everyone, but it is one of the most popular roguelikes to ever exist. The Binding of Isaac is a horror-themed game based on the bible story of the same name in which God calls for a mother to sacrifice her son, Isaac. Not content with this fate, Isaac escapes into a basement filled with monsters. It is through these tunnels you must progress by fighting off an onslaught of random monsters.
The Binding of Isaac has been praised for its eccentric and slightly disturbing art style, and each monster brings a new challenge to the table. This roguelike has received several updates since its release, and you can play it now on PC.
Thankfully, Spelunky is a title that is a lot more child friendly than the previous two entries. This cave-dwelling game lets you control a miner as he explores a series of randomised caves armed with nothing but a pickaxe and grappling hook. There are enemies to avoid in these caves; however, most of the fun involves navigating the different areas with the tools you have available.
Video games in the roguelike genre are often praised for featuring multiple paths that encourage exploration. That is exactly what makes Spelunky so special. This 2d computer game was released back in 2008 and also features a two-player mode. In fact, avid gamers will notice how much Spleunky borrows from some online casino games at Play Live. The animated aesthetic is like that of slots like Cash Pig, and you can learn how to play Cash Pig at an online site like this. They may not feature many roguelike games, but sometimes you need a break from a single genre.
Dead Cells is another dark offering from developer Evil Empire. The game features thirteen levels, each one more maze-like and difficult than the last. Your aim is to fight your way through an island full of disease to kill the king of this realm, getting stronger as you reach this goal.
What makes Dead Cells so popular is the fluid combat and Metroid Vania leanings. Players are rewarded for completing complex combos and backtracking in certain areas; however, one wrong move could place you in a very difficult position because of the 2D landscape.
Darkwood is a strange game to include on this list because it was intended to play as a standard RPG that is driven largely by its story. The player must explore a mysterious wood controlled by the Soviets, scavenging for supplies to stay alive. Darkwood is an out-and-out horror game full of jump scares and unsettling imagery. However, you are rewarded for exploring the open world, and you finish the contest once you have survived one full night in-game.
While it may not seem like a roguelike game on the surface, Darkwood becomes more difficult when you switch the game to nightmare difficulty. It is in this setting that you will lose all progress when you die, making it even harder for you to endure the night.
Roguelike games have never been more popular than they are today, so you may want to check out one of the games above to see what all the fuss is about. Be warned, though, roguelikes are known for their intense difficulty and horror themes.