Taking its name from 1980 classic Rogue, the term roguelike is a little contentious. Categorized through things such as procedurally-generated levels, elements of permadeath and more, it can be hard to distinguish a roguelike from a game with roguelike elements. A roguelike will traditionally feature grid-based dungeons, permadeath and each run will be totally unique where rogue-lites will generally punish death but have a degree of incremental progress. If it punishes for death and has randomly generated enemies, levels and others, it’s probably a rogue-lite. For these reasons, this list will include roguelikes, hybrid roguelikes and rogue-lites and are sure to keep you playing for hundreds of hours after you start.
25. Heroes of Hammerwatch
It's worth mentioning straight away, Heroes of Hammerwatch is a very grindy game but that grinding comes with rewards. As one of a few main classes, you are placed in a town and just sort of let loose. Upon talking to villagers, you find out the town is in disarray and the best way to start its reparation is by clearing out the well. You can use gold and ores found in there to upgrade your character, your gear and your town alongside your heroes level. Whilst you lose all your loot if you die in the well, if you make it out or send them back, you can put them to use. This makes the progression systems feel practically endless with hundreds of hours of content to make your way through over multiple level types and biomes. Every part of Heroes of Hammerwatch can be changed to some extent making the base experience, rewarding, challenging, and damn addicting. It helps that you can bring a friend or three.
Available on PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch
24. Neon Abyss
One of the more recent releases in this list, Neon Abyss isn’t necessarily groundbreaking but it pulls off every element with ease. One part rogue-lite, one part platformer, and one part run ‘n’ gun come together to make the cocktail that is Neon Abyss. With its futuristic themed visuals and nightclub setting, it has more than enough to stand out. Not since The Binding of Isaac have I seen such an array of weird weapons, rooms and ideas. One room might hold a secret new weapon where another contains a huge piano you must play in time to win. Sometimes, you side with chaos at a price and sometimes your patience is rewarded. These tiny but long lasting decisions come together to make each run strange, chaotic and overall just very refreshing. Drink up.
Available on Xbox One, PS4, Switch, PC
23. Children of Morta
Children of Morta has a lot to love. From its implementation of rogue-lite staples to its wonderful sound design, it has so much innate charm that becomes obvious from the first few minutes. You are tasked with controlling and helping the Bergson family as they traverse multiple randomly generated dungeons in the depths of the caverns of Mount Morta. Each character can be upgraded and all of them have their own unique flair and style. This is what makes Children of Morta stand out. Characters have their own personality, encompassed with flaws and strengths and the story is really great and surprisingly deep for a game of its calibre. Every inch of Children of Morta feels like its trying to tell you a story and its a story worth being told.
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Switch
Fitting somewhere between The Binding of Isaac and Minecraft is Undermine, a roguelite mine exploration game about killing bosses and mining resources. You play one of thousands of expendable adventurers sent into a mineshaft in search of loot. Upon death, you keep a portion of gold earned that can be spent on permanent upgrades or bonuses for the next run. It has a bit more permanent progress than most but that helps to solidify its own personality in great ways. If you're looking for something casual with a decent amount of progression, this is a gold mine.
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Moonlighter does a very interesting thing. The main game is split up into two modes. One feels traditionally more like a rogue-lite with randomly generated dungeons and gear that is lost upon death. The other mode has you run a shop and sell the items you managed to salvage throughout your run. It throws you into a dungeon headfirst and hopes you find your way out and then slows that right down as you talk to townsfolk, sell items for way too much and just soak up the great music. You frantically hop around rooms fighting enemies that are too strong for you and then the brevity of everyday life relaxes you like a massage at the end of a long day. It might not be quite as replayable as some of the other titles in this list due to its defined progression but it by far one of the most playable.
Available on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch