The best Roguelikes of the last decade?

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A lot of Roguelikes came out last decade. What were the best?

I played a bunch, but I'm sure there were some good one's I haven't tried. I think, not in any particular order, my top picks would be:

Death Road to Canada - I never see anyone talk about this game, but I really love it. It has so much personality and a sense of humour that appeals to me so much. And it's just fun looting and killing hordes of zombies and then dying because you got greedy and stayed too late after the sun went down and got overwhelmed.

Don't Starve - I'd be surprised if anybody didn't know about Don't Starve, but it's a great game. Just has so much style, and is one of the few games to make a food meter feel like it matters without being overly tedious. I have a little bit of a problem with it feeling a little directionless once you get basic survival down, and when you do mess up and die to some new boss it just takes soooo loooong to get back to where you were.

FTL - A very unique concept for a roguelike, managing a ship as if you were the captain on Star Trek. It's a blast but there's just a bit too much reliance on randomness to give you the weapons you need at the time you can afford them. Also, a way to speed the game up would be nice when waiting for healing, repairs, or just when the enemies weapons and shields are disabled and victory becomes inevitable and you have to wait for them to finally get around to blowing up.

Into the Breach - Same creator as FTL. I've put the fewest hours into this of anything else on my list, but it was still a lot of fun. It's a great strategy game, and it's really fun to puzzle out what the best moves to take will be. Didn't really hold my interest for more than a couple successful runs though.

The Binding of Isaac - So much variety. Levels, monsters, bosses, items, there's enough there to keep things unique and fresh for hundreds of runs. I also really like how the rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper. You start out and make it to Mom and win the game, but then the next time there's more levels and a new final boss, then you eventually find another boss after that, and then you find a branching path that goes to different levels and a whole new boss, and on and on. The way item synergies work means that every run will feel a little different from the one before. Some will be really easy and some will be quite hard, but there's a couple things included in the game to mitigate some of the randomness if you want so it still feels fair.

Maybe I'll do little write ups for each later, but it's kind of late now.
Edit: Done. The bottom line is, I never see anyone else ever talk about Death Road to Canada and that's a real shame, because more people should give it a try.

Best is hard to say, but as far as influential I think FTL is hard to beat, between the success story of early kickstarter to the fact that everything is being refered to as "FTL in --" (I heard crying sun being called "FTL in space") I think it's pretty solid on that.

Rougelikes are a personal favorite game type for me. I have a certain love for doing the same thing over and over differently each time. These are the ones that I played in the last year (although most were released over the last few):

Binding of Isaac is a mainstay of mine for a travel game for a long time. The endless combinations and permientations of synergies through different powers really makes the game fun to replay just to see new shit or get crazy OP.

I actually want to throw Rouge Legacy on there as well though. There's a lot of fun to be had in just the weirdness of it all, but moreover it does a good job of not really letting you unlock 'win' buttons. There's cool stuff and neat genetics abilities, but nothing beyond your individual ability will really decide how a run will go.

There's also Dead Cells, which is just COOL. The bosses are challenging and interesting, visually its very beautiful, the story is engaging and the skill/weapon systems synergise into a semi-unique risk/reward system. You have to either let your skill path dictate your weapon options, or vise versa, but both the skills you can potentially get and the weapons that you might find are random - meaning that you might end up as a massive tank with a small fast weapon if that's how your options shake out.

The Guild of Dungeoneering, on the other hand is DIFFERENT. You play through the game sending teams of (card based) minions through various dungeons, increasing your guilds name and attractiveness to better idiots. I still class it as a rougelike because its very easy to crap up a whole run and start back from basically zip, although it has a much more tangible progression than rougelikes more true to the concept.

Nuclear Throne, I don't have a snappy descriptor for. I didn't get far in it, and you could be forgiven for confusing it with Enter the Gungeon, but there's some stuff there. Very skill based, as luck really won't save you (getting a really good weapon might rocket you ahead in a level, but if you can't handle it you'll die just a easy to an enemy or your own splash). Compared against Binding of Isaac, there are similar concepts in play with mutations synergising in interesting ways, but Nuclear Throne is way faster, and open field, meaning that you have to think on your feet without many options to rest your brain between fights.

And finally, Risk of Rain 1. Which is intense, and cool. You build up an arsenal including various powerups, skills and drones to walk with you through the levels. The longer you spend in game the harder the game gets (the final few difficulty levels are "I CAN SEE YOU" "I'M COMING FOR YOU" and "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA..."). Difficulty is fully time based, so you have to balance the desire to make money and acquire rad goods against spending too much time in any individual level. There's a boss at the end of each level that you have to defeat while charging a teleporter by being in a certain proximity making it hard to cheese, since looking for a cheesy location usually means leaving the proxy and spending more time increasing difficulty. On top of that you lose all your money when you leave each level, so you have to be efficient and directed in collecting and spending money as you search for the port. Different classes have different skills and ideal synergies. There is a sequel, and its 3D instead of being a 2D sikescroller. According to everything I've seen, going 3D only made the game better and that much more hectic. I plan to try it sometime soon here, but I'm a little burnt on shooters at present.

The Crypt of the Necrodancer. The rhythm-based gameplay is fun, and the music is awesome.

Enter the Gungeon hasnt been said. Add votes for Rogue Legacy, FTL, Into the Breach, Risk of Rain and Binding of Isaac

Enter the Gungeon
Binding of Isaac
FTL
Risk of Rain 1/2
Everspace (Despite there being something in it that just doesn't grab me as much as I think it should)
Steredenn (not really a roguelike, but it does have random enemy placement and upgrades so it kinda counts, but a damn good shooter)

Enter the Gungeon, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Slay the Spire, and if it wasn't actually released in 2008, a long time before The Binding of Isaac Yahtzee, it wasn't influenced by Isaac at all, do your goddamn research!!!, I'd put Spelunky on the list too. I've also had a lot of fun with Monolith, but I don't think even I'd call it 'the best'.

EvilRoy:

There's also Dead Cells, which is just COOL. The bosses are challenging and interesting, visually its very beautiful, the story is engaging and the skill/weapon systems synergise into a semi-unique risk/reward system. You have to either let your skill path dictate your weapon options, or vise versa, but both the skills you can potentially get and the weapons that you might find are random - meaning that you might end up as a massive tank with a small fast weapon if that's how your options shake out.

The Guild of Dungeoneering, on the other hand is DIFFERENT. You play through the game sending teams of (card based) minions through various dungeons, increasing your guilds name and attractiveness to better idiots. I still class it as a rougelike because its very easy to crap up a whole run and start back from basically zip, although it has a much more tangible progression than rougelikes more true to the concept.

I'll have to give these a try. I've never heard of The Guild of Dungeoneering before, but it sounds interesting.

EvilRoy:
Nuclear Throne, I don't have a snappy descriptor for. I didn't get far in it, and you could be forgiven for confusing it with Enter the Gungeon, but there's some stuff there. Very skill based, as luck really won't save you (getting a really good weapon might rocket you ahead in a level, but if you can't handle it you'll die just a easy to an enemy or your own splash). Compared against Binding of Isaac, there are similar concepts in play with mutations synergising in interesting ways, but Nuclear Throne is way faster, and open field, meaning that you have to think on your feet without many options to rest your brain between fights.

And finally, Risk of Rain 1. Which is intense, and cool. You build up an arsenal including various powerups, skills and drones to walk with you through the levels. The longer you spend in game the harder the game gets (the final few difficulty levels are "I CAN SEE YOU" "I'M COMING FOR YOU" and "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA..."). Difficulty is fully time based, so you have to balance the desire to make money and acquire rad goods against spending too much time in any individual level. There's a boss at the end of each level that you have to defeat while charging a teleporter by being in a certain proximity making it hard to cheese, since looking for a cheesy location usually means leaving the proxy and spending more time increasing difficulty. On top of that you lose all your money when you leave each level, so you have to be efficient and directed in collecting and spending money as you search for the port. Different classes have different skills and ideal synergies. There is a sequel, and its 3D instead of being a 2D sikescroller. According to everything I've seen, going 3D only made the game better and that much more hectic. I plan to try it sometime soon here, but I'm a little burnt on shooters at present.

I tried Risk of Rain years ago when it was in early access and got bored after dying a handful of times and decided to drop it until it was finished. Then literally a couple of days ago I remembered it and decided to give it another go and... I still don't get it. The controls feel stiff, I just spend the whole time cycling through the same 3 attacks and dodge occasionally when I remember it and it's also not on cooldown, The items don't feel like a significant power boost, you move so slowly, enemies have enourmous health bars, and everything seems to take so long. I've made it to the third level once, but I just have no idea what kind of strategy I should be using. Should I be going to every level as fast as I can, or should I be hanging around grinding and opening all the chests? It doesn't seem to make any difference on my performance. People say the game is so much fun, but I really don't get why.

Nuclear Throne is another one I've just tried for the first time a couple days ago. It's alright, but I have the same kind of problems I do with Enter the Gungeon. You can only hold two guns, there's a ton of different ones, and I have no idea which one's are better than others. Also it's just very much simply a bullet hell shooter and there's not a whole lot of strategy other than just have better reactions and avoid all the bullets. I didn't play it too much because I don't really want to put the time commitment in like I did with Gungeon only to find I hit a wall 15 minutes into every run where good runs all inevitably end because I come up against a room full of enemies that kill me nearly instantly because I can't dodge a maze of bullets perfectly. In the couple hours I played Nuclear Throne there were far too many times where I went from full health to dead in a matter of seconds and wasn't even really sure what happened. I've even had the one mutation that promises I'll come back to life a bunch of times, but I've never actually been able to tell if it's procced or if it expires after the level or what the heck happens to it.

I guess my problems with these games is I like it when Roguelikes have the potential to tell their own stories. Every game of Nethack feels unique to me depending on what items I find, how the shops spawn, if I run into a powerful monster really early and need to run away and avoid an entire floor until much later in the run. And when I die in Nethack it's always because I did something stupid that I could have avoided. Nine times out of ten it's because I got caught up in the heat of the moment and didn't take time to actually think about what my best course of action would be, and it usually makes a good story regardless. With Gungeon and NT the story always seems the same, I shot a bunch of guys switched guns a couple times without being sure if it was an improvement and then died to a wall of bullets that I couldn't navigate perfectly enough. I don't know, maybe they're just not for me.

leet_x1337:
Enter the Gungeon, Crypt of the Necrodancer, Slay the Spire, and if it wasn't actually released in 2008, a long time before The Binding of Isaac Yahtzee, it wasn't influenced by Isaac at all, do your goddamn research!!!, I'd put Spelunky on the list too. I've also had a lot of fun with Monolith, but I don't think even I'd call it 'the best'.

Yeah, I looked up Spelunky to check the date too. Spelunky was fun but I felt done with the game after getting the normal end. The true end just seems so stupid hard to get I don't even want to try.

Necrodancer I still want to beat, but I just got kind of discouraged. I made it to zone 4, but I still don't feel like I'm getting a good handle on the controls. I just can't seem to get the hang of keeping track of moving with the beat at the same time as syncing with enemy patterns. Also the worlds are a bit short on their own and make collecting good items feel a little pointless. I guess I could try the all zones mode, though.

I've never heard of Slay the Spire, though, tell me about it.

Drathnoxis:

I've never heard of Slay the Spire, though, tell me about it.

Slay the Spire is a deckbuilding game. As you advance through the dungeon, you add cards to your deck and occasionally remove them in order to get stronger. Of course you can also pick up passive items, but most of what you do in a turn is related to what cards you draw.

Enemies also telegraph what their next actions will be before your turn ends: if they're going to damage you, you'll see exactly how much hurt you're about to take. If they're going to buff themselves or debuff you, you can see that, but not necessarily exactly what they'll stick you with. It can help you determine whether to attack or defend with your hand, or which enemies to prioritize getting rid of.

There's a lot of interesting strategy to it, though I totally understand if it being a card game turns you off. Advice: If you can remove cards, do. Your starting Strikes are always valid to remove, and less cards means you're more likely to draw what you need.

leet_x1337:

Drathnoxis:

I've never heard of Slay the Spire, though, tell me about it.

Slay the Spire is a deckbuilding game. As you advance through the dungeon, you add cards to your deck and occasionally remove them in order to get stronger. Of course you can also pick up passive items, but most of what you do in a turn is related to what cards you draw.

Enemies also telegraph what their next actions will be before your turn ends: if they're going to damage you, you'll see exactly how much hurt you're about to take. If they're going to buff themselves or debuff you, you can see that, but not necessarily exactly what they'll stick you with. It can help you determine whether to attack or defend with your hand, or which enemies to prioritize getting rid of.

There's a lot of interesting strategy to it, though I totally understand if it being a card game turns you off. Advice: If you can remove cards, do. Your starting Strikes are always valid to remove, and less cards means you're more likely to draw what you need.

Sounds interesting, I like card games.

Does Darkest Dungeon count? If so that's my vote, if not I'll go for Rogue Lecacy.

EvilRoy:

And finally, Risk of Rain 1. Which is intense, and cool. You build up an arsenal including various powerups, skills and drones to walk with you through the levels. The longer you spend in game the harder the game gets (the final few difficulty levels are "I CAN SEE YOU" "I'M COMING FOR YOU" and "HAHAHAHAHAHAHA..."). Difficulty is fully time based, so you have to balance the desire to make money and acquire rad goods against spending too much time in any individual level. There's a boss at the end of each level that you have to defeat while charging a teleporter by being in a certain proximity making it hard to cheese, since looking for a cheesy location usually means leaving the proxy and spending more time increasing difficulty. On top of that you lose all your money when you leave each level, so you have to be efficient and directed in collecting and spending money as you search for the port. Different classes have different skills and ideal synergies. There is a sequel, and its 3D instead of being a 2D sikescroller. According to everything I've seen, going 3D only made the game better and that much more hectic. I plan to try it sometime soon here, but I'm a little burnt on shooters at present.

Coming from someone who hasn't played the first, RoR2 in early access was a lot of simple fun. There are a bunch of fun viable items, the only issue I had with it was the limited amount of stages and lack of boss variety. They are all hand crafted with no procedural generation so you can easily see them all within three runs. For sure get it when you feel a craving.

Drathnoxis:
I tried Risk of Rain years ago when it was in early access and got bored after dying a handful of times and decided to drop it until it was finished. Then literally a couple of days ago I remembered it and decided to give it another go and... I still don't get it. The controls feel stiff, I just spend the whole time cycling through the same 3 attacks and dodge occasionally when I remember it and it's also not on cooldown, The items don't feel like a significant power boost, you move so slowly, enemies have enourmous health bars, and everything seems to take so long. I've made it to the third level once, but I just have no idea what kind of strategy I should be using. Should I be going to every level as fast as I can, or should I be hanging around grinding and opening all the chests? It doesn't seem to make any difference on my performance. People say the game is so much fun, but I really don't get why.

Individual powerups definitely don't have the same kind of effect they have in BoI for example - some are definitely better than others, and there are appropriate powerups to aim for or avoid depending on your build, but ultimately the issue is how fast you collect them. Because difficulty is always going up, the very first powerup you get will feel very effective when on easy, but you have to keep up with the difficulty climb. Basically, its rapid collection quantity wise rather than seeking individual powerful items. You absolutely feel slow and stiff, until you get enough crap to feel fast - its absolutely a problem with early game feeling sluggish and awful after just having gotten a ways into the game and having to start over.

Dansen:

Coming from someone who hasn't played the first, RoR2 in early access was a lot of simple fun. There are a bunch of fun viable items, the only issue I had with it was the limited amount of stages and lack of boss variety. They are all hand crafted with no procedural generation so you can easily see them all within three runs. For sure get it when you feel a craving.

I'm definitely interested, and it sounds like they've updated recently, but I'm so burnt on shooters. I started playing OW a bunch again and ended up just not wanting to deal with it like a week later. Too much energy investment after a long day.

leet_x1337:

Drathnoxis:

I've never heard of Slay the Spire, though, tell me about it.

Slay the Spire is a deckbuilding game. As you advance through the dungeon, you add cards to your deck and occasionally remove them in order to get stronger. Of course you can also pick up passive items, but most of what you do in a turn is related to what cards you draw.

Enemies also telegraph what their next actions will be before your turn ends: if they're going to damage you, you'll see exactly how much hurt you're about to take. If they're going to buff themselves or debuff you, you can see that, but not necessarily exactly what they'll stick you with. It can help you determine whether to attack or defend with your hand, or which enemies to prioritize getting rid of.

There's a lot of interesting strategy to it, though I totally understand if it being a card game turns you off. Advice: If you can remove cards, do. Your starting Strikes are always valid to remove, and less cards means you're more likely to draw what you need.

Love slay the spire, but I gotta say I think the RNG is a bit too much in it. You collect artifact that give you random power and these go from completely worthless to broken. So it always feel like your run are more based on how lucky you are than on doing the best with what you're given. This is especially bad when some of them work best when you build your character with certain spec in mind. Like for example one of the character can specialize in poison ability, if you don't get the right artifact it's pretty meh, but if you do it'll let you reach the last boss without any trouble.

On top of that some artifact have downside which can royaly screw you over, but you sometime don't really have a choice but to take them. Some artifact let you do more action every turn, all of them have downside, but some of them the downside is trivial and others might as well just game over you right away. But to progress you pretty much need some of them, so sometime your forced to take the terrible one.

I'm going to go ahead and add Fission Superstar X onto here since it really does deserve more love.

Meiam:
Love slay the spire, but I gotta say I think the RNG is a bit too much in it. You collect artifact that give you random power and these go from completely worthless to broken. So it always feel like your run are more based on how lucky you are than on doing the best with what you're given. This is especially bad when some of them work best when you build your character with certain spec in mind. Like for example one of the character can specialize in poison ability, if you don't get the right artifact it's pretty meh, but if you do it'll let you reach the last boss without any trouble.

On top of that some artifact have downside which can royaly screw you over, but you sometime don't really have a choice but to take them. Some artifact let you do more action every turn, all of them have downside, but some of them the downside is trivial and others might as well just game over you right away. But to progress you pretty much need some of them, so sometime your forced to take the terrible one.

I'll admit that there's a lot of RNG in which cards and relics you get offered, but in my opinion, there's no such thing as a broken or cheese strategy in StS, only stuff that works and stuff that doesn't work. On that topic, learning which relics and cards are which, and in which situations, is part of the learning process. Metagame aspects aren't just in unlocking features, but in learning how to make use of them, and that goes for any roguelike.

EvilRoy:

Individual powerups definitely don't have the same kind of effect they have in BoI for example - some are definitely better than others, and there are appropriate powerups to aim for or avoid depending on your build, but ultimately the issue is how fast you collect them. Because difficulty is always going up, the very first powerup you get will feel very effective when on easy, but you have to keep up with the difficulty climb. Basically, its rapid collection quantity wise rather than seeking individual powerful items. You absolutely feel slow and stiff, until you get enough crap to feel fast - its absolutely a problem with early game feeling sluggish and awful after just having gotten a ways into the game and having to start over.

Ok, I beat the game. Artifacts completely break the game. I had never made it past the fourth level and then I turned the Artifact of Glass on and was unstoppable and beat the game on the next attempt. Enemies just melted away, the difficulty bar became meaningless, and I had so much extra money I was actually leveling up at the end of levels. I did die to the final boss the second run because of a dumb mistake, but for 95% of the run there was no challenge. It's basically like unlocking cheat codes, especially with Command too. They aren't even that hard to unlock except for the fact that some characters just can't break the required walls, annoyingly.

The story definitely could have use a tiny bit more buildup though. After going through it all I have no idea what it was about. Somebody going postal in the space shipping industry it seems? I don't know.

I'm still not in love with the game, it's at the same time a little too random and not random enough. It's too hard to unlock other characters until you break the game with artifacts and then it's trivial. I really think there should have been a few more characters to choose from to begin with, though. Oh well, I guess I started having a bit of fun with it, but I'm definitely done with it now.

Tales of Maj'Eyal would be at the top of my list of the decade. It's incredibly good and I can't recommend it enough. Get it, get the expansions, and then forget what other games are for a few months.

Caves of Qud I would tie with Maj'Eyal if it were finished but it's not. But it's basically right up there with it for being my favorite of the decade and what's there is incredible. It's also mostly done at this point, with the full release being set for this year. It's not like it's in limbo, so it's well worth checking out.

Synthetik has been a bit slept on, but I'd throw it up there too. It topped Enter the Gungeon for being my favorite "shooter" rogue-like. It's an incredibly intense game and I had a blast with it.

While they're by no means the "best", I'd also like to mention Tangledeep and Cryptark. They're both great games and have been completely ignored.

Sunless Sea - One of the most interesting aspects of roguelike games which I think isn't often talked about is the emphasis on developing player knowledge through repeated playthroughs as a major part, or even the entire point, of the game. Sunless Sea is fascinating because it takes that emphasis and builds a whole narrative game around it. There is combat and trade and lots of things you'd expect in a video game but it's kind of bad, generally pretty easy and not really the focus. The real focus is on stories, exploration and discovery, taking risks and then dying but coming back with a new understanding of the odds and maybe seeing stuff your previous character didn't. The writing really shines as well. If you're going to play it, my only recommendation is not to use a wiki, at least not initially.. maybe later on if you really can't figure something out. But generally, figuring out the stuff you'll get from a wiki is the game and you're spoiling it for yourself if you look too much of it up.

My main criticism is that there's a lot of RNG, and while failure generally isn't disasterous, some rolls can essentially lock you out of particular stories or paths with the character you're currently playing. You can always come back with a new character, but if you're the kind of person who gets annoyed by RNG (in which case, why are you playing roguelikes?) this might be mildly irritating.

I haven't played the sequel yet. I hear it's pretty good.

Cultist Simulator - Yeah, it's kinda cheating to put this one in because it is also a narrative game with the same writer as Sunless Sea, and also because I don't think I'd class it as a roguelike at all if I hadn't played sunless sea and seen the evolution. Anyway, naturally the writing is great. But it also takes all the stuff I just said about Sunless Sea and pushes it to 11 in a way that is either going to turn you off or be genuinely engaging.

It's presented as a card game where you put cards representing nouns into slots representing verbs, triggering different effects. But literally the entire game is about figuring out how to play this card game. Again, if you wiki this one you are genuinely ruining it for yourself and will probably beat it easily, you have to challenge yourself to get there on your own.

The point where I realised I loved this game was about an hour in when I starting thinking about the symbols on some of the cards, so I grabbed a piece of paper and sketched out some of the symbols to show the interactions I'd figured out between these cards. Another hour later, that paper looked like the scrawlings of an insane person. I feel like the game put me in the mindset of a lovecraftian occultist in a way I've never seen before. The game is about trying to map something abstract and that doesn't seem to make sense initially, and I won't lie, that makes for an often very frustrating game, but one which is thematically so perfect and will probably work for you if you like this kind of thing. A lot of things which seem random or unfair in this game are not, you just have to figure them out.

Drathnoxis:

EvilRoy:

Individual powerups definitely don't have the same kind of effect they have in BoI for example - some are definitely better than others, and there are appropriate powerups to aim for or avoid depending on your build, but ultimately the issue is how fast you collect them. Because difficulty is always going up, the very first powerup you get will feel very effective when on easy, but you have to keep up with the difficulty climb. Basically, its rapid collection quantity wise rather than seeking individual powerful items. You absolutely feel slow and stiff, until you get enough crap to feel fast - its absolutely a problem with early game feeling sluggish and awful after just having gotten a ways into the game and having to start over.

Ok, I beat the game. Artifacts completely break the game. I had never made it past the fourth level and then I turned the Artifact of Glass on and was unstoppable and beat the game on the next attempt. Enemies just melted away, the difficulty bar became meaningless, and I had so much extra money I was actually leveling up at the end of levels. I did die to the final boss the second run because of a dumb mistake, but for 95% of the run there was no challenge. It's basically like unlocking cheat codes, especially with Command too. They aren't even that hard to unlock except for the fact that some characters just can't break the required walls, annoyingly.

The story definitely could have use a tiny bit more buildup though. After going through it all I have no idea what it was about. Somebody going postal in the space shipping industry it seems? I don't know.

I'm still not in love with the game, it's at the same time a little too random and not random enough. It's too hard to unlock other characters until you break the game with artifacts and then it's trivial. I really think there should have been a few more characters to choose from to begin with, though. Oh well, I guess I started having a bit of fun with it, but I'm definitely done with it now.

Fair enough, although to be honest with you I don't remember what the artifacts even do - its been a little too long since I played the game I guess, ha. Oddly I do remember the game always being crushingly difficult, I wonder if the artifacts were something added after I played and moved on or if I just never unlocked them (or realized I could use them).

EvilRoy:

Fair enough, although to be honest with you I don't remember what the artifacts even do - its been a little too long since I played the game I guess, ha. Oddly I do remember the game always being crushingly difficult, I wonder if the artifacts were something added after I played and moved on or if I just never unlocked them (or realized I could use them).

The Glass artifact gives you 500% damage and 10% health, so you kill nearly everything in a couple shots and once you get a few infusions and shields health is no problem either. The Command artifact lets you select what item you get from a chest, so obviously the game is broken in half the second that is enabled.

Oh! Actually I forgot to mention one that I had a lot of fun with: The Curious Expedition. Go on expeditions to explore and pillage new lands and become the most famous explorer in the land. It has an interesting combat system where each chaconracter has a combat die with different actions on it and you use multiple dice to do combos. You get a certain number of rerolls to get what actions you want. It was an interesting take on turn based combat. The food and supply management was done well enough as well. The content was interesting enough, but there's only enough to stay fresh for a couple dozen runs. It was fun enough for the time I spent with it.

Oooooh! Roguelike discussion! :D I love these games!

I see some of the classics are already mentioned like FTL, which is the goddamn gold standard for me for roguelike RPG type games. It's still a blast all these years later.

-

This one is more of a pseudo-roguelite, but...eh.

Hand of Fate 2:

This game is a mashup of a narrative deckbuilder game, where you move from encounter card to encounter card (some of them yours, some of them chosen by the story) and where combat turns into an Akrham-style brawler.

This takes the basic systems of the first game, and all the mini-stories that game told, and makes it all much more structured.

Now, each chapter is a very different style of challenge, necessitating a more thorough strategy of which cards to take with you. Some encounters are better suited to some challenges than others, and some weapons are better for certain enemy types.

What REALLY makes it shine is the variety of not just chapter stories, but the smaller stories the cards tell, as well as how completing certain card stories will upgrade those cards to provide new stories until you might eventually get a massive Platinum card upgrade that makes the card an absolute win to find in a chapter.

It's honestly delightful as a game and I'm DEEPLY sad the studio that made it has shut down and gone into "caretaker mode" for their games. :(

Risk of Rain 1 and 2:

It's THE best action style roguelike I've ever played.

You start of desperate and weak, trying to grab any loot you can that might buy you an edge, trying to herd mobs of monsters that all want a piece out of you, but also trying to go as fast as you can, because the longer the game goes, the harder the monsters get, until the game is laughing at you with it's "HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA" difficulty that just keeps getting infinitely harder.

That magical moment when you suddenly realize "I am no longer the hunted, I am the hunter" and can mow down anything in your way, so long as you don't get hit? It's beautiful.

The first game handles it in 2D as a sidescroller with a focus on melee enemies, and it's lovely.

The second game turned it into a 3D game and my god, it amped the juicyness factor up to 11. Now that magical turnabout moment has ME laughing maniacally. Also, being 3D means that it's much easier to spot the level exit. All in all, a pure upgrade to the already perfect formula.

EvilRoy:
There is a sequel, and its 3D instead of being a 2D sikescroller. According to everything I've seen, going 3D only made the game better and that much more hectic. I plan to try it sometime soon here, but I'm a little burnt on shooters at present.

Your assessment is spot on. You really should play it.

Nedoras:
Tales of Maj'Eyal would be at the top of my list of the decade. It's incredibly good and I can't recommend it enough. Get it, get the expansions, and then forget what other games are for a few months.

Looking at the Steam page I think this game wins the thread for actually being the most like Rogue of everything mentioned.

Drathnoxis:

Nedoras:
Tales of Maj'Eyal would be at the top of my list of the decade. It's incredibly good and I can't recommend it enough. Get it, get the expansions, and then forget what other games are for a few months.

Looking at the Steam page I think this game wins the thread for actually being the most like Rogue of everything mentioned.

The games being in development for freaking forever, way before the new wave of roguelike, so that's probably why. It play more like a story lite RPG, a playtrough will take 5-10 hours to complete. There's a crapload of class, the balance is complete crap (it's hard not to win as a summmoner or oozemancer) but that's sorta by design, it's more about different playstyle.

The RNG can be pretty brutal because it'll sometime lead to crazy difficulty spike, the game auto generate monster by giving them random bonus and such and sometime it'll generate something crazy that can take 3/4 of your health in one attack while the rest of the dungeon can't even damage you, so you end up getting killed because you were cruising without paying attention. There's also, imo, a bit too much loot in it, it can be a bit of a pita to sort trough it. But the class leveling system is awesome, so many way to build your character, you can make this crazy weird build that use obscure talent and they can sorta work. Just be ready to have a the wiki open in a tab at all time.

Oh and the game is actually free if you download it from the main website.

Some other rogue like that haven't been mention and are pretty small:

Sky rogue, if you like ace combat (jet plane) and you want it in rogue like format. No story and blocky graphic but decent gameplay, honestly overpriced (gets repetitive pretty fast) so get it while on sales.

Dungeon of the endless, a tower defense/RTL roguelike, you have to find a crystal in every level and then escort it back to an elevator to continue. It's pretty brutal and you have to make some tough choice with very limited resource.

Haven't played hand of fate 2, but the first one was a great concept brought massively down by a terrible combat system. Think bland batman arkham combat system.

The Binding of Isaac is a shoe-in, but the one I keep coming back to personally is Rogue Legacy; it has basically everything I want from a roguelike. I love the dinky presentation, the game is dead simple, its upgrade system provides tangible benefits between runs so it always feels like you're making progress towards an achievable end goal, and the core concept of the game is just really smart.

Bomber Crew is the only one I saw through all the way to the end, so that one, I suppose. It's pretty rad.

Outer Wilds as well, is pretty rad. Can't believe I forgot that one. By the way, does The Occupation count as a roguelike? or nah?

leet_x1337:
Slay the Spire

Meiam:

Love slay the spire, but I gotta say I think the RNG is a bit too much in it. You collect artifact that give you random power and these go from completely worthless to broken. So it always feel like your run are more based on how lucky you are than on doing the best with what you're given. This is especially bad when some of them work best when you build your character with certain spec in mind. Like for example one of the character can specialize in poison ability, if you don't get the right artifact it's pretty meh, but if you do it'll let you reach the last boss without any trouble.

On top of that some artifact have downside which can royaly screw you over, but you sometime don't really have a choice but to take them. Some artifact let you do more action every turn, all of them have downside, but some of them the downside is trivial and others might as well just game over you right away. But to progress you pretty much need some of them, so sometime your forced to take the terrible one.

Okay, I've put quite a few hours into this game at this point and I agree it feels too random. I'm probably not the best at deck building, but I don't know how I'm supposed to do well consistently what cards I get to add to my deck is random, the relics that supplement my powers are random, and the order I get the cards in is random. I've beaten the 3rd floor with all four characters and reached the final boss (?) on the fourth once, but I just don't feel like I have enough agency to win the game on my own.

Some runs just give everything to you, like the one where I got 5 potion slot relic, double potion efficiency relic, a card that let me make potions, two cards that let me copy a card 3 times, and a card that let me double use skills. I was drowning in potions. But most runs I just scrape along until I die late second or third floor, because I just can't keep up with the dps the enemies are throwing at me, or there's an enemy (or boss) that my current build just sucks against and they chew me up, or I just plain don't get the cards I need and die. After seeing the final boss, I just feel like giving up, because it seems like it's so OP that there would be no way to win outside of just happening to get a REALLY lucky run, and who know how many hours and hours that could take.

Drathnoxis:
Okay, I've put quite a few hours into this game at this point and I agree it feels too random. I'm probably not the best at deck building, but I don't know how I'm supposed to do well consistently what cards I get to add to my deck is random, the relics that supplement my powers are random, and the order I get the cards in is random. I've beaten the 3rd floor with all four characters and reached the final boss (?) on the fourth once, but I just don't feel like I have enough agency to win the game on my own.

Some runs just give everything to you, like the one where I got 5 potion slot relic, double potion efficiency relic, a card that let me make potions, two cards that let me copy a card 3 times, and a card that let me double use skills. I was drowning in potions. But most runs I just scrape along until I die late second or third floor, because I just can't keep up with the dps the enemies are throwing at me, or there's an enemy (or boss) that my current build just sucks against and they chew me up, or I just plain don't get the cards I need and die. After seeing the final boss, I just feel like giving up, because it seems like it's so OP that there would be no way to win outside of just happening to get a REALLY lucky run, and who know how many hours and hours that could take.

In my experience, every word of that applies to FTL as well. Sometimes you just don't get any scrap, or nobody will sell you anything useful; even if you do make it to the

there's no way you can possibly defeat it.

leet_x1337:

In my experience, every word of that applies to FTL as well. Sometimes you just don't get any scrap, or nobody will sell you anything useful; even if you do make it to the

there's no way you can possibly defeat it.

FTL at least has some pretty OP ship layouts. Crystal B, is just so amazing at boarding that it weighs the odds in your favour quite a bit. You do need to pick up some good guns, but you get more scrap and rewards from boarding so it generally isn't as much of an issue.

I'd like to stick an honorable mention in here for that Mooncrash DLC for Prey 2017.

Not only does it provide a clever set of mutations on a common map, and lots of objectives to accomplish, but it's got some great little narrative beats as well. The whole game feels like you're peeling back individual layers until you get to the truth.

And speaking of that...

Squilookle:
Outer Wilds as well, is pretty rad. Can't believe I forgot that one. By the way, does The Occupation count as a roguelike? or nah?

I have been trying for the past 15 minutes to think of some way to discount Outer Wilds as a Roguelike, as it's more of a giant interconnected Organic Puzzle game than a Roguelike.

And literally the only thing I can think of that might discount it is the lack of randomness/replayability. The game is damn near a roguelike all things considered.

(Also, can't wait for the weekend, when I'll have time to make that final push to the ending. Not that I have much faith in myself. What I think the game is asking me to do is goddamn terrifying and feels damn near impossible.)

Drathnoxis:
FTL at least has some pretty OP ship layouts. Crystal B, is just so amazing at boarding that it weighs the odds in your favour quite a bit. You do need to pick up some good guns, but you get more scrap and rewards from boarding so it generally isn't as much of an issue.

Considering the amount of effort it takes to unlock, including beating the game several times and having to hope the game is willing to give you enough resources to even hope to beat it all of those several times, that strikes me more as a reward for bragging rights than an actual ship for getting through the game.

But I'm getting off topic. My point is to approach Slay the Spire like FTL. Sometimes you're just never going to get what you need, and the only way to get it in seeds that you can win is to take a lot of risks and learn to manage those risks. Sometimes you're going to miss a shot or draw a dead hand at the worst possible time. Sometimes, by the middle of Act 2, you'll have a deck that'd take an anti-miracle to lose. That's just how a lot of non-action roguelikes are, dating back to Rogue itself.

aegix drakan:
I'd like to stick an honorable mention in here for that Mooncrash DLC for Prey 2017.

Not only does it provide a clever set of mutations on a common map, and lots of objectives to accomplish, but it's got some great little narrative beats as well. The whole game feels like you're peeling back individual layers until you get to the truth.

And speaking of that...

Shamus made that game sound really good, I'd like to try it some day when I finally get around to buying a good computer.

aegix drakan:

Squilookle:
Outer Wilds as well, is pretty rad. Can't believe I forgot that one. By the way, does The Occupation count as a roguelike? or nah?

I have been trying for the past 15 minutes to think of some way to discount Outer Wilds as a Roguelike, as it's more of a giant interconnected Organic Puzzle game than a Roguelike.

And literally the only thing I can think of that might discount it is the lack of randomness/replayability. The game is damn near a roguelike all things considered.

(Also, can't wait for the weekend, when I'll have time to make that final push to the ending. Not that I have much faith in myself. What I think the game is asking me to do is goddamn terrifying and feels damn near impossible.)

I missed that comment. Outer Wilds is a roguelike except it's nothing like a roguelike. There's no permadeath, there's no procedural generation, no randomness of any kind, the game is completely the same from run to run, there's no resource management, and no emergent gameplay. The game doesn't meet a single point of the key features of roguelikes listed on Wikipedia. I love the game but it's basically a walking simulator with a jetpack and a spaceship. If we are going to call Outer Wilds a roguelike the term has lost all meaning.

leet_x1337:

Drathnoxis:
FTL at least has some pretty OP ship layouts. Crystal B, is just so amazing at boarding that it weighs the odds in your favour quite a bit. You do need to pick up some good guns, but you get more scrap and rewards from boarding so it generally isn't as much of an issue.

Considering the amount of effort it takes to unlock, including beating the game several times and having to hope the game is willing to give you enough resources to even hope to beat it all of those several times, that strikes me more as a reward for bragging rights than an actual ship for getting through the game.

But I'm getting off topic. My point is to approach Slay the Spire like FTL. Sometimes you're just never going to get what you need, and the only way to get it in seeds that you can win is to take a lot of risks and learn to manage those risks. Sometimes you're going to miss a shot or draw a dead hand at the worst possible time. Sometimes, by the middle of Act 2, you'll have a deck that'd take an anti-miracle to lose. That's just how a lot of non-action roguelikes are, dating back to Rogue itself.

Yeah, I probably will keep trying to beat the game. It's hard for me to give up on roguelikes. I was playing a couple of runs today too. I'm just really bad at building my deck and deciding what cards I should take or if I should just leave nearly everything I find.

Drathnoxis:
Yeah, I probably will keep trying to beat the game. It's hard for me to give up on roguelikes. I was playing a couple of runs today too. I'm just really bad at building my deck and deciding what cards I should take or if I should just leave nearly everything I find.

In Act 1, you need to pick cards up just to be powerful enough to handle the boss. If you can start seriously building into a theme for your deck, that's a nice bonus, but for the time being you just need to be stronger. In Act 2, you can start being more choosy with your spoils of war, and hopefully your deck should be finished or only need one or two extras by Act 3.

Don't avoid elites; the relics they drop are often more useful than extra cards. Getting in regular fights as well early on can also help you build up gold to buy useful stuff (card removal, key relics/cards) from the merchant, as well as improving your deck, but later on when you don't need any more cards, it's better to avoid fighting regular enemies if possible. You can look at the map at any time to plan your route ahead.

You've probably worked all that out by now anyway, so regarding theme: try to pick cards that do the same thing, or affect other cards that you already have a lot of. If your Silent deck has a lot of Shiv generation, look for Accuracy. An Ironclad with a lot of block cards wants Entrench, Barricade, and Body Slam. The Act 1 and 2 bosses are guaranteed to drop three rare cards, so if you're still indecisive by the end of Act 1, that might help you decide on a theme for the deck.

I don't know if you've noticed yet, but it's possible to tell which boss you're due to fight at the end of each act by the icon that appears at the top of the map.

Overall: experience is the best teacher. The more runs you play, the more you'll be able to figure out when to take a risky route, when to take or leave cards, and how to handle an unfinished deck until you get what you need.

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