What is a roguelike game? General characteristics and examples

Image via Supergiant Games

The gaming industry is huge with lots of titles to choose from. Each game can generally be placed in one or more genres, and one of the most popular genres is roguelike. This may make you wonder what a roguelike game is and what roguelike means.

What does roguelike mean?

The roguelike genre and games within it share many similar characteristics. Although not all roguelike games have these elements, they usually have at least a few or a few variations of them. Here are some of the most common mechanics in roguelike games.

  • Procedural / randomized generation
  • Different tracks
  • Progression system
  • Permanent death / A life

Roguelike games tend to offer one or more of these features to add depth of replayability to the gameplay loop. Players typically complete a series of races, often through randomized dungeons or levels, with a progression system that allows them to transfer something to the next race. In this way, players evolve and learn from their failures.

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The best roguelike games

There are plenty of roguelike games to choose from, but we’ve put together a list of some of the best roguelike games available below. If you are interested in the genre, we recommend that you take a look at these games.

Isaac’s bond

Screenshot of Pro Game Guides

Trapped in your mother’s basement, The Binding of Isaac sees you encounter dangerous and bizarre enemies. It has randomly generated dungeons, equipment, enemies and more to ensure that each run is unique. There are also a number of enemies, objects, bosses and classes, which increases replayability. The Binding of Isaac is one of the most replayable roguelike games and has many fans.

Enter the dungeon

Image via Dodgeroll

Enter the Gungeon puts the ball in the dungeon crawler of hell. Choose from different unique characters and go into a randomly generated dungeon. Here you must dodge, plunder and fight your way through random enemies and bosses while collecting various weapons. Each run will improve your trigger finger and scrolling skills until you can defeat Gungeon.

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Image via subset

Often referred to as a spaceship simulator, FTL or Faster Than Light, lets you take command of a spaceship and control it through a random galaxy. You can experience different events, enemies and challenges in each replay. As you learn from your mistakes and move on into the galaxy, you unlock new ships and crew to hopefully succeed in your next trial period.

the underworld

Image via Supergiant Games

Hades explores the story of Zagreus, son of Hades and prince of the underworld. Fight your way through the corridors of the underworld, collecting powerful gifts, artifacts, artifacts and more as you try to escape. You will also encounter the Greek pantheon trying to help Zagreus in his escape. Each run contributes to the narrative of Hades, where Zagreus and the other characters take notes and comment on his actions.

kill the arrow

kill the arrowImage via Mega Crit Games

Slay the Spire takes the rogue-like genre and adds to the excitement of deck building. Each race will see you pick a character and try to get through a random series of challenges in Spire. Along the way, you will collect cards and build your pile, where these cards become your attacks, defenses and abilities. The cards you collect and the challenges you face are random, meaning each replay is unique.

For more information on the games, see What Does Every Hell’s Arm Do in Hades? and is Dungeons of Aether a roguelike? on Pro Game Guides.

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