RogueLikes - and a list of good ones

Discussion in 'Other Games' started by Hakija, Jul 16, 2017.

  1. Hakija

    Hakija Chaos Pony Hirdman

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    So... I like roguelikes. They're great short break games that I can play for 15-20 minutes. Plus, these games are incredibly punishing, random enough for a lot of replays, and very rewarding when you actually get far in them. But, I don't see much love for them, after talking to a couple of people tonight, I realized there might be some confusion about what they actually are, so here we go.

    Rogue was released in 1980, and it was one of the first PC-based RPGs. It looked like shit:

    It was clunky, hard to play, had WAY too many keys, and would kill you on level one without a shred of mercy. But it almost single-handedly created the PC RPG industry, so we have to give it respect. If you like RPGs, you owe this game a lot of credit. If you want to play it for some stupid reason or you hate yourself, you still can here:

    This caused a new genre to develop, and soon we had Hack, Moria, and few others. they looked just as shitty, but they improved and added to rogue, so good on them. Then the RPG genre got big for britches and added graphics, and these fell into cult-classic status.

    So onto the current time. Now days we have "RogueLike" being paraded around like today's teenagers have any idea what it means, and it's usually - but not always - a misnomer. It usually is applied to any game featuring random levels and permadeath.

    However we've also got a new term in the last year or so call "RogueLITEs". This is a better description of what most of the games I've seen are, and it includes FTL: Faster than Light, The Binding of Isaac, and Enter the Gungeon.

    A real RogueLike is:

    Has complex systems
    Has randomly or procedurally generated Areas
    Has permanent death

    Games that only use one or two of these systems are rogueLITEs.

    The real thing are a little harder to find -and MUCH harder to get into - but there are still a few of them on Steam. Here are some good ones, ranked by my opinion of their learning curve:

    Dungeonmans - Easy

    I love this one. It's easy to play, doesn't take long, and has enough variety to keep me interested without being overwhelming. This should definitely be your first one if you've never tried one of these. Keep in mind that easy is relative. You can still get creamed in the first level if you're careless.

    Dungeons of Dredmor - Easy

    This is a cheapie at $5.00, and it's got a great sense of humor. Also pretty easy to get into, and built from the ground up for mouse control. It has full animation, and some decent art, which is rare in this genre. Also has a decent selection of mods. Another good starting point.

    Tales of Maj'Eyal - Moderately Difficult

    This is based of the original TOME (Tales of Middle Earth), which is itself based on Angband - one of the earliest Roguelikes out there - but it uses a graphical interface and has some mouse controls, so it's a little easier to learn to play. It still has a ton of skill/class options and a HUGE open world to explore, so you can get a lot of value out of it.

    Ancient Domains of Mystery - Hard

    This is based on an ASCII version of ADOM released over 20 years ago, and the age shows. The interface is god-awful, and the keys are a pain, but it does have a decent story, which is rare for these, and a TON of character options. It also currently supports multiple graphical styles from the game's history, which is kind of neat. I enjoy this, but it eats novice players (including me) and drinks your tears. Not a good entry point. Starting here will ensure you never try another one of these again.


    There are also some notable mentions that are not on steam, and are mostly free.

    Dwarf Fortress - HARD

    I debated whether to include this, since it's mostly a strategy game, and is real-time, but it includes a character-focused adventure mode, so it scraps by. I don't play it much, so I can't give a good review, but it's crazy complex. I know a couple of other Borgians play it though.

    Cataclysm DDA - HARD

    This is a sci-fi post-apocalyptic game. It's incredibly hard, as it takes a realistic approach to injury, including infections, and it will kick your ass fast if you try to take on more than you can chew. But, you can mutate into a sentient blob person, so there's that. Fun, but not a good starting point, and I never got very far in it.

    As a bonus, here's Crypt of the Necrodancer, which combines a RogueLite with a Dance-Pad game.

  2. Flessar

    Flessar Well Liked Hirdman

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    The long Journey Home is something to add for the list.