In recent times, games such as Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac have brought about a resurgence in public demand for roguelike games. Gamers love these types of games because they prioritize gameplay and role-playing over cinematic cutscenes or lengthy dialogue sequences. Roguelikes are quite challenging and have a bit of a learning curve.
But once you get a grasp of the mechanics, these games feel extremely satisfying. Plus, a lot of them feature procedurally generated levels so the scope for replayability is endless. But since they are so many roguelikes out there on a vast range of gaming platforms, I compiled a list of the absolute.
Here are the top 30 roguelike games of all time (Android, Switch, PC, PS). I say “all-time”, because a lot of really good roguelikes were released in the 90s and early 2000s. Mobile platforms like the Nintendo Switch are exceptional for roguelike games since they don’t require a lot of processing power and can be enjoyed on the go.
Some of these are indie games while the others are from AA studios. But one thing’s guaranteed- every single of these games is a blast to play through. So without further ado, let’s start this list with the top Android roguelikes.
Top 10 Roguelike Games Of All Time For Android
This is a game that borrows elements from both roguelikes and Metroidvania. It is action-focused with linear progression elements. But at the same time, it plays like a dungeon crawler and has permadeath along with procedurally generated levels.
Dead Cells is honestly one of the best Android games, period. And despite its high potential skill cap, the game is actually quite easy to pick up and play on the go. There are lots of divergent enemy types, along with upgrades to both your weapons and abilities.
Want a dungeon crawler with puzzle mechanics and old-school pixel art? Check out Hoplite, both incredibly accessible to newcomers and endlessly replayable thanks to its randomized level design. You never know if two runs will be the same because everything from treasures to enemies can spawn in completely different locations.
Hoplite is less interested in bombarding you with tons of enemies than it is in capturing your attention with intricately designed puzzles and obstacles. You can go anywhere, explore anything, and all of it happens in turns so you get plenty of time to make a decision. Difficulty spikes are annoying and unpredictable as you move on deeper into the game, but they don’t detract from the excellent gameplay.
if you are interested to check out more all-time best games from different genres, check out my other post Top 40 JRPG Games Of All Time (PC, PS, PSP, Switch)
Have you ever played one of those old-school phone games in which you dug your way through a grid filled with enemies and traps? Caves is basically that, but with a lot of additional mechanics and an incredible turn-based combat system. It’s a true roguelike with procedurally generated levels, permadeath, and turn-based strategy.
To top it all off, the graphics remind you of NES games from the 80s. The developers threw in some neat extras like your very own personal base with unlockable armor. The variety in weapon design is stellar, and some of these can even be crafted at your base.
What do you get when you mix epic space fantasy with large-scale strategic battles? Crying Suns, that’s what you get. This is a crowdfunded success story that began with a Kickstarter campaign and eventually found its way onto several gaming platforms.
The story starts out as a typical RPG. Your protagonist who used to be a highly decorated admiral for a space empire wakes up in a cloning facility. He has no recollection of what happened, and the empire he fought for has collapsed.
So humanity has been overthrown by plants sometime in the near future, and your gang of adventurers set out on a quest to find some answers. How did plants manage to grow limbs and become intelligent creatures capable of defeating mankind? It doesn’t make any sense, but who cares when the gameplay in Juicy Realm is so amazing.
Fighting hordes of fruits, shrubs, and other plant-like creatures never gets old thanks to the randomized encounters and wide weapon variety. You can play alone, or with a friend in co-op mode. There are 4 playable characters to select from, and tons of unlockable gear that you can access in your base camp.
if you are interested to check out more all-time best games from different genres, check out my other post Top 40 Sandbox Games Of All Time (PC, PS, Android, Xbox)
Don’t Starve: Pocket Edition
Don’t Starve is a mix of survival and roguelike. It boasts a vast open world with unique biomes, each populated with dangerous local wildlife that kills you in new and imaginative ways. Apart from these creatures, you must also pay attention to your main character- Winston the scientist (additional characters can be unlocked).
You need to eat, drink, rest, and craft tools to survive a harsh new world. In adventure mode, if you survive long enough, you get to fight an endgame boss called Maxwell. In normal mode, you just try to live for as many days as possible within a randomly generated world.
OneBit Adventure is a game that you can play while engaged in conversation, traveling on a bus. It doesn’t require much focus or careful strategy to have a good time in this game. That doesn’t mean it’s simplistic, as OneBit Adventure is easily one of the best mobile RPGs you can play.
That’s right, this isn’t just a basic roguelike. Instead, it has character classes that each have their own unique abilities and playstyles. You can execute simple attacks, or cast spells and collect high-level gear to deal with bosses.
Yet Another Pixel Dungeon
This is possibly the closest you’ll ever get to actually playing the original Rogue on your Android phone. Yet Another Pixel Dungeon is a pure roguelike, it even features the Amulet of Yendor. For reference, the Amulet of Yendor is an endgame item in Rogue that is located at the absolute bottom of the dungeon.
Yet Another Pixel Dungeon is a mod of the extremely popular Pixel Dungeon. The goal of this mod is to tweak certain mechanics, weapons, and enemies in order to make the gameplay more balanced. It manages to retain the aesthetic and soul of the original title while also introducing new elements that keep the experience interesting.
if you are interested to check out more all-time best games from different genres, check out my other post Top 40 Turn-Based Strategy Games Of All Time (PC, Android, Switch, PS)
Cardinal Quest 2
The first game was an excellent roguelike, inspired by classics from the 1980s such as D&D and Gauntlet. Its successor retains much of what made the first game so memorable but also streamlines some elements in the interest of accessibility. Visually, it’s quite interesting with clearly defined grids and a retro art style that looks both colorful and welcoming.
Inventory management has been simplified, removing some player choices and reducing the variety of items you can carry. Stages feel slightly more linear compared to the first game. However, randomization keeps things interesting across multiple playthroughs.
It’s simple, doesn’t try to bore you with a pretentious plot, and features excellent combat. Soul Knight is the ideal mobile game- it’s fun in short doses while also being extremely accessible. Every time you die, you’ll be introduced to a new dungeon layout.
And trust me, there are plenty of ways to die in this game. From the variety in monsters to the traps, everything in this game is out to kill you. But don’t worry, you’ve got an arsenal of over 270 weapons and several playable characters with unique abilities.
Top 10 Roguelike Games Of All Time For Switch
Enter the Gungeon
A group of outlaws looking to change their past are rampaging through a dungeon filled with dangerous creatures and booby traps. At the end of this journey lies a magical gun with the power to destroy their questionable past. Enter the Gungeon is a fun, action-packed roguelike with shoot-em-up gameplay and interesting characters.
The visuals pop out with a unique colorful flair, and every weapon feels different. How you use these weapons to defeat the waves of enemies hidden within each room is up to you. There are guns, bombs, treasures, unlockables, bosses, and much more waiting for you in this exciting roguelike.
You play Zagreus, the son of Hades who is trapped in the underworld alongside all sorts of evil monsters. To escape from this hellish prison you must slay hundreds of demons and other creatures who get in your way, using increasingly exotic weaponry as the game progresses. Fortunately for Hades, the gods on Mount Olympus support his efforts.
They bestow him with various gifts as he plows throw the underworld on his way to the top. Occasionally, you will be helped by other beings of the underworld as you make your way through rooms filled with evil creatures. You get different attacks depending on which weapon you’re wielding, plus you can unlock/ upgrade new abilities for Zagreus.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+
If you like The Binding of Isaac, you’re going to love this one. While the base game started out with excellent narrative and gameplay, expansions have added a lot of new content. In order to play Afterbirth+, you need the base game which is Afterbirth.
The game tells the story of Isaac, a little child living a normal life. Until his mother gets a message from God saying her child has been corrupted and needs to be sacrificed. Isaac runs into the basement which is now infested by demons.
And a fountain of tears rolling down his cheeks are your primary weapon. Expansions such as Rebirth and Afterbirth add tons of new content in the form of enemies, bosses, weapons, etc.
Darkest Dungeon is as much a role-playing game as it is a roguelike. And it has quite an interesting little plot featuring a man who just inherited an old estate. Turns out, the mansion isn’t a good thing to have because its underground cellar and basement are infested by all sorts of demons.
To invade the catacombs underneath this mansion and rid it of all the evil creatures, you assemble a team of mercenary heroes. Each one of these heroes has something called a stress level.
This keeps climbing as your heroes explore more of the haunted place and expose themselves to new horrors. If the stress becomes too much, it will impede the performance of your heroes.
Slay the Spire
Perhaps the best fusion of a card game with a roguelike, in the history of gaming. Slay the Spire is a game about making your way to the top of a spire that’s infested with enemies who get progressively stronger as you climb higher. Each level is procedurally generated, so you can have hundreds of runs that all feel unique.
At the start, you choose from a roster of 4 predefined characters, each with its own unique personality and backstory. The character you select will also decide your starting health, gold, and special ability. Each character receives a starting deck of cards with things like spells, buffs, defenses, etc. and you expand this deck by defeating enemies.
In some ways, this is a match-three style tile game in which you arrange colored items of various colors like in Candy Crush. Then, you realize it’s a gritty steampunk mech-combat game in which your Ironcast (giant murder robot) fights enemies of the British Empire. But it also has permadeath and procedurally generated missions like a roguelike.
So what is Ironcast? It’s a gem matching battle strategy featuring mech combat and roguelike elements. The turn-based combat has you matching gems on the screen to manage various parameters of your mech like weapons, shields, energy, etc.
You get rewarded with upgrades in the form of weapons and armor for your Ironcast. Die, and all your currency/ upgrades will be gone. Each new playthrough is different because enemy types, spawn locations, treasures, etc. are procedurally generated.
A deck-building roguelike in which Lady Luck invites a group of sentient dice to play through a dungeon crawl. Yeah, it sounds really wacky. And the game doesn’t make any efforts to explain why you control talking dice while walking through a dungeon filled with hellfire.
But, you are going to have a lot of fun if you like games with tons of randomness and RNG. Much like tabletop D&D, Dicey Dragons literally rolls the dice on which cards you will get. You might get a brand new sword, a cool ability, or nothing at all.
Into the Breach
It’s like a kaiju action movie mixed with chess. Into the Breach is a roguelike with pixelated graphics and grid-based tactical combat. It’s tons of fun to take out giant monsters using your superior strategic planning as you rip through enemy ranks with your bipedal murder fortress.
Your primary goal in most maps is to protect power generation plants from the giant alien monsters. You might be given additional targets or objectives in each mission. Each level has its own environmental factors that affect your performance, these are procedurally generated to randomize the challenges.
You play an adventure/ cave miner on their journey to explore the depths of an underworld dungeon called the UnderMine. One thing that separates this game from other dungeon crawlers is the fact that even your player character is procedurally generated at the start of each playthrough. And it has permadeath, so any treasures or money you acquire will be lost when you run out of HP.
If you want to break a new path through the cave network, you can use a bomb. The variety in enemy types is staggering, ranging from basic stuff like bugs and rats to giant walking treasure chests. Unlike many other roguelikes, you don’t lose all your gold on death.
You retain half of it, which can be used to buy necessary items and upgrades for your new run. Some abilities and upgrades will carry over from one run to another.
Cadence of Hyrule
It’s a grid-based dungeon crawler with rhythm-driven movements and attacks. You have procedurally generated levels that completely change the composition of certain dungeons. Characters are from the Legend of Zelda series, and you can choose to play as either Link or Princess.
Famous places from Zelda games are present in Cadence of Hyrule, and the story is also derived from Zelda lore. You will move around on tiles to the beat of a rhythm, synchronizing your attacks and spells with musical cues. Along the way, you can purchase new gear including utility items like shovels and torches that open up new exploration paths.
Top 10 Roguelike Games Of All Time For PC
It’s part-platformer and part-roguelike. In Spelunky 2, you play Ana who’s the daughter of the first game’s protagonist. You are looking for your missing parents, and end up on the moon trying to find them.
Why are your parents on the moon and how did you make a rocket to get there? Well, it doesn’t matter because now you will have to make your way through moon caves filled with weird-looking enemies. Spelunky 2 is everything good about Spelunky 1 cranked up to the maximum, with a few cool new additions.
It’s basically about an explorer falling down through a bottomless well, armed with a pair of boots that have guns built into them. Using these guns lets you shoot at enemies in the way, while also changing your speed. Kind of like a side-scrolling space shooter turned around 90°, so you go from top to bottom instead of left to right.
Along your fall, you’ll be able to land on shops that give you the chance to buy some much-needed items between battles. You can also drop into secret caves and other hidden areas which contain bonus treasures. Playthroughs are procedurally generated, and you can choose between 3 upgrades at the end of each level that will persist throughout your run.
Crypt of the NecroDancer
On the surface, it seems like another dungeon crawler with retro 2D graphics. But don’t let the pixelated art fool you, this is actually one of the best roguelikes in existence. It’s a rhythm game featuring real-time combat in which you move between grids to music beats.
Your character can’t move or attack if you’re not doing it with the beat. And the best part is that you can use your own MP3 files. Matching multiple moves in a row to the beat will add a multiplier to your coin score.
It’s one of the most frustrating runner/ 3D platformer games you will ever play. But it’s fun, and you will keep coming back to finish it. You have to because there is no save function.
No seriously, this game has no save functionality. So once you die, you start all over. Think of it as an extremely improved version of Temple Run, minus all the ads and annoying gimmicks. And with excellent physics, because you need a good physics engine to see your character get rag-dolled out of existence.
ALTF4 puts you in a suit of knight armor, arms you with a chicken, and sets you off on a journey filled with deathtraps. These traps look like they came straight out of an Indiana Jones movie… that was set in medieval Europe.
A game whose entire premise is one of an endless level that keeps going on forever. That’s why it’s called Loop Hero because it’s one endless loop with no end. However, don’t assume that it gets boring because you do the same thing again and again.
You literally have the power to shape the world around you by placing cards that create things like mountains and rivers. Each of these will provide a unique benefit, and you can place structures next to each other which will generate a special buff. Your character walks along procedurally generated paths, killing enemies and gathering upgrades.
When Rogue launched in 1980, it inspired a bunch of other games that used similar elements such as procedurally generated levels and permadeath. One of those was a 1982 game called Hack, from which a software fork called Nethack emerged in 1987. A remastered version of Nethack has been released which you can find on stores like Steam.
Nethack is an ASCII-based dungeon crawler in which the focus is placed on exploration rather than killing every monster in sight. Keep in mind, this game is extremely old-school. It literally uses ASCII text instead of graphics.
Everything from rats to dragons is represented by colored ASCII symbols. Combat is tile-based hack and slash, with permadeath that makes you start over every time you die.
It’s not a pure roguelike because you don’t go around dungeons fighting monsters and gathering treasures. Plus, there’s no turn-based hack and slash combat on grids. Instead, this game is a spaceship management sim with roguelike elements.
You start out in a procedurally generated galaxy at the start of each run. And permadeath is a thing, so you will lose your ship that you build over time by defeating enemies and collecting their parts. The game has real-time combat between ships in space, but you can pause to give orders or process your situation.
Risk of Rain 2
It’s a sci-fi-themed survival game in which you land on an alien planet and fight monstrous creatures to see how long you can live. Along the way, you collect items whose effects can stack and mutate so you never know which combination of items will do what. As you scale up in power, so do your enemies.
Thanks to infinite scaling for both you and your enemy, there is always a challenge to be faced in Risk of Rain 2. You can play alone, or with a group of 3 friends. In each level, you make your way to a teleporter and activate it while guarding the spot against randomized spawns of bosses and enemy waves.
While navigating this alien planet you collect treasures and open chests to get items that provide bonuses. To open chests, you need money which is obtained by killing enemies.
A simple 2D platformer in which you play as a knight, fighting your way through levels filled with monsters and traps. On the way, you open treasure chests and collect loot. And the levels are all procedurally generated, so no two runs are the same.
Sounds pretty normal thus far, right? But this is not a normal roguelike. Every time you die, your “offspring” takes the field for the next run.
But not all children are created equal. Some of your kids will have disabilities like nearsightedness, ADHD, dwarfism, etc. And these disabilities are presented in hilarious ways.
For example, the colorblind guy will turn the game black and white. The one with ADHD runs faster. And the dwarf can fit into small places.
This is a game with a very interesting concept. In Dreamscaper, you have 2 worlds- the real world, and the dream world. In the real world, you move around doing normal stuff.
Like eating at a café, visiting bars, talking with friends, etc. These experiences inform your subconscious and craft new dream opportunities. Once you enter the dream world, you will battle monsters that represent feelings such as fear, excitement, anger, etc.
And each dream is different, connected to what you do in the real world. Underneath all this is a story about the main character Cassidy which unfolds its narrative as you face one dream after another.
Top 10 Roguelike Games Of All Time For PS (PlayStation)
One of the recently released PS5 exclusives, Returnal is a story-driven 3rd person action game. It merges space exploration, psychological horror, and roguelike elements to create something that feels fresh and unique. You play Selene, a scout/ space explorer who is investigating a weird signal coming from a planet called Atropos.
Once she lands there, Selene finds herself stuck in an endless time loop. The horror aspect kicks in once you start seeing corpses of yourself lying all over the planet. Your ship is damaged during a crash landing, and you have no way of contacting the home base.
So in a normal post-apocalyptic game, you play as a human survivor exploring your way through what remains of civilization. But in Nuclear Throne, all of humanity is gone after a mass extinction event caused by nuclear warfare. Now, all that remains are mutants who have been soaking in radiation for eons.
Maybe they were human once… a few generations ago. But it doesn’t matter now because they are fighting for survival too. As you fight creatures through the wasteland, the radiation grants you new appendages and powers.
A game in which you are placed within a fantasy world inspired by Mesopotamian civilization. You chat with NPCs, form relationships, and discover the lore behind each world within different constellations.
But you only have 5 days to do this because on the 5th day an ancient evil will arise and cause war. There are 5 tribes in the game, along with multiple character classes. And each hero you create will be remembered, worshipped by the tribes.
The choices you make during interactions will decide how you are remembered, as will your performance in combat. Even after you make a new hero, the memories of your previous one will live on and you can see them all across the world. Each playthrough is procedurally generated to be different.
Road Not Taken
With the cartoony graphics and simplistic gameplay, it may not seem very interesting at first. But once you’re a couple of hours in after dying several times and discovering new things about the world, you’ll appreciate the brilliance of this little gem. The stage is set- you’re a nameless stranger roaming frozen wastelands in the aftermath of a winter storm.
You are trying to rescue people and form relationships with them. But there are creatures who wish to kill you. Giant spiders, evil raccoons, bats, and pretty much everything around you will kill you.
And then you start again, but this time the levels are different because of procedural map generation. Each run presents you with a different set of choices. Who you interact with and how you live your life is up to you… until it starts over again.
A story about 2 assassins caught in an endless time loop on an unknown island. Both of you are given a task. There is Colt- the male assassin who must kill 8 targets called Visionaries before the day ends.
Then there’s Julianna, a female assassin whose job is to protect the time loop by making sure that Colt dies. In single-player, you don’t have to bother with Julianna all that much since you just go around killing the Visionaries. Each time you fail to kill all 8 of them before midnight (or die), the loop restarts.
One Step From Eden
Combining choice-driven narrative progression with deck building, One Step From Eden is a truly unique experience even for gamers familiar with roguelikes. It has grid-based movement and plays somewhat like Mega Man Battle Network. The combat grid is a tiny 4 x 4 space and you cast spells or execute attacks based on which cards you have and your mana pool.
The map of One Step From Eden has multiple pathways, each with different enemy encounters and treasure chests. Failing in battle sends you back to the start, removing the artifacts and upgrades from your character. However, you gain experience points that can be used to unlock new playable characters.
In the world of Moonlighter, explorers found portals to far-away worlds hidden underneath some caves. And thus adventurers seeking a challenge set off to explore these worlds. Often, they would bring back riches and otherworldly trinkets with them.
A village was founded near the portal with the purpose of providing a resting spot for these adventurers. The village also contains a market where adventurers can sell their goods. And that’s where you come in, a shopkeeper who lives two lives.
On one hand, you manage your shop by setting prices for items and hiring people. On the other hand, you are an aspiring adventurer who goes into these portals and battles monsters in new worlds.
Death Road to Canada
It’s like a game in which the Scooby gang goes from one city to another solving mysteries. Except, they are in the middle of a zombie apocalypse that has consumed the entire world. In Death Road to Canada, you play a merry band of misfits who wield a huge arsenal of extremely intimidating weapons.
It’s an isometric shoot ’em up with roguelike elements and pixel graphics. And since this game is also a giant road trip, you meet people along the way who can be recruited. As well as shops that sell all kinds of useful stuff.
You can even make pets along the way, and these pets can wield guns. On top of all this, every run is unique thanks to procedurally generated environments. You never get the same shop or NPC twice in a row, so every playthrough feels special.
You are a kid who’s just moved onto a farm, but there’s an issue. A nuclear apocalypse consumed the entire world while you were in the middle of settling into your new home. And now, your farmland is the only one on Earth.
Clearly, it must be protected from hordes of mutated creatures trying to attack it. Even your crops turn out to be mutated. In Atomicrops you manage farm life alongside murdering hundreds of invaders on a daily basis.
Wizard of Legend
A more traditional roguelike featuring dungeons, treasures, and monsters. You fight through a dungeon, defeating countless foes with an increasingly powerful arsenal of spells and weaponry. And your player character is a powerful wizard, who earns the title “Wizard of Legend” by taking down all bosses and making it to the end.
There are a total of 10 levels in this dungeon, each procedurally generated. 2D pixel graphics and simplistic soundtracks tell you this is an indie game. But that doesn’t stop it from being a ton of fun.
Since they are so many new roguelikes releasing these days from a bunch of new studios, the definition of a roguelike game has evolved over time. The original term was derived to represent any game that resembled “Rogue”, which is an ASCII-based dungeon crawler released in 1980. Rogue is a dungeon crawler with procedurally generated levels, perma-death, and a grid-based movement system.
A lot of modern roguelikes take liberty with several of these criteria. Some may or may not feature permadeath/grid-based movement. Others feature real-time combat instead of turn-based strategy like the original rogue.
This is why we came up with the term “roguelite” to define a game that loosely adheres to a roguelike formula. Hey, what does it matter if the end result is still entertaining? If a game incorporates at least a few roguelike elements and innovates by putting its own spin on the genre, that’s fine by me.
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