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p55carroll
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Just to promote some discussion for the fun of it, I thought I'd do a series of forum posts based on the 53 genres listed in VGG.* Here's a GeekList of all 53 threads.

This thread's genre: Roguelike

Listed below are the top-ranked games in this genre. How does the list fit with your experience?


Have you played any of these games? Which ones? Do you agree or disagree with the ranking? How would you rank the games listed? Are there other games in the genre that you think should be in the top ranks?

And by the way, what do you think of this genre in general?

FTL: Faster Than Light
NetHack
Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress
Spelunky
Rogue Legacy
The Binding of Isaac
Desktop Dungeons
Ancient Domains of Mystery
The Binding of Isaac: Wrath of the Lamb
Angband


*In case you don't know how to find the VGG genres and rankings, hover over Browse at the top of the screen, then click Genres. Click a genre, and scroll down to Linked Items. Click the Sort window, and sort by Rank.
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But ... but ... what about Rogue?
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I've played FTL, and someday I may get back to it. Lately my focus is on Darkest Dungeon.

I've played Linley's Dungeon Crawl; I thought it was good. I tried Tales of Maj'Eyal: Age of Ascendancy two or three times, but somehow it didn't grab me.

Oh, and I played Sword of the Stars: The Pit. It held my interest for a while and seemed promising, but I got fed up with the crafting aspect.
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I love roguelikes! One of my most played categories of games. I was introduced to them by my husband, back when we first met (since he curated the Linux builds of Angband online - something he no longer does).

Angband, NetHack, and Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress are all on my hardcore list to play this year - I would have played Angband and I've been meaning to learn how to play Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress.

Rogue Legacy was on my hardcore list a few years ago now.

I also love Ancient Domains of Mystery.

I pretty much play some flavor of Angband every year, recently if not Vanilla, then it has been Zangband.
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What ever happened to chapter 1 of Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress? Never mind; I'll look it up. It just seems odd that everybody calls this Dwarf Fortress when it has such a long name. Nor does it sound like the kind of game that would have multiple chapters.
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What's the difference between this and Dungeon Crawls?
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flaeryn wrote:
What's the difference between this and Dungeon Crawls?

I wonder too. I suspect there isn't any meaningful difference. But nowadays gamers are distinguishing between roguelikes and roguelites, so someone will probably say a dungeon crawler is one without permadeath or something like that.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
What ever happened to chapter 1 of Slaves to Armok: God of Blood Chapter II – Dwarf Fortress? Never mind; I'll look it up. It just seems odd that everybody calls this Dwarf Fortress when it has such a long name. Nor does it sound like the kind of game that would have multiple chapters.

I believe it was because the creator starting making one game, then got the idea for Dwarf Fortress which was the second... but then gave up on the first game because it wasn't turning out (was too generic) but he liked Dwarf Fortress enough to keep going with that design - and just didn't change the name.
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To be a true roguelike you have to have:

• Procedurally generated levels
• Turn-based gameplay
• Tile-based graphics
• Permanent death

They are, in fact, a subgenre of the Dungeon Crawl genre, being more specific.

Which is why Rogue Legacy bills itself as a "Rogue Lite" not a "roguelike" because it doesn't have turn-based gameplay, and when you die you come back as a relative keeping some of the same stats as before.

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I've always considered games in the Dark Souls mode to be a modern incarnation of the rogue-like genre... but I guess its the lack of procedural levels that kicks them out.
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middletonner wrote:
I've always considered games in the Dark Souls mode to be a modern incarnation of the rogue-like genre... but I guess its the lack of procedural levels that kicks them out.


They are probably at least as roguelike as Rogue Legacy!
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It's been a huge favorite of mine recently. I love that I can go with a long session with the intent of improving the overall quality of my runs down the line by grinding out upgrades and getting better at the game but also the ability to squeeze in a run or two before I have to go to work. As far as the list here goes I've played Spelunky and Rogue Legacy, but I have tons more between my GOG and Steam libraries. Legacy is just a wonderfully designed game, at least in terms of its meta. The hitboxes don't make sense a lot of the time, though. Spelunky is a test in patience, because if try and speed through that game without knowing how it works your runs will be a minute or two long at most. I also the love the game's odd aesthetic and sense of humor. Recently I've been playing Dead Cells. The game brilliantly combines a Roguelike framework with Dark Souls character progression (and combat, to an extent) and Metroidvania style exploration. I'll give you a quick top personal selection of games that weren't listed in the OP: Ascendant, 20XX (Mega Man X in a Roguelike formula, essentially), Downwell (all vertical gameplay, which encourages smart use of your gun and wise character placement as you move further downward), GoNNER (has kind of a Dios de las Muertos vibe), Caveblazers, Sword of the Stars: The Pit (kind of a tactical sci-fi Ultima), Barony (Elder Scrolls with Minecraft graphics), Eldritch (same as Barony but with the Cthulhu Mythos setting and equipment), Gunmetal Arcadia (Legend of Zelda II style gameplay and visuals with Metroidvania exploration), and Risk of Rain (gritty sci-fi setting).
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
flaeryn wrote:
What's the difference between this and Dungeon Crawls?

I wonder too. I suspect there isn't any meaningful difference. But nowadays gamers are distinguishing between roguelikes and roguelites, so someone will probably say a dungeon crawler is one without permadeath or something like that.

For me, procedural generation and permadeath are the main ones. Also the game has to be fairly deadly so the permadeath actually happens. My favourites lately are Slay the Spire and FTL.
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sbszine wrote:
Patrick Carroll wrote:
flaeryn wrote:
What's the difference between this and Dungeon Crawls?

I wonder too. I suspect there isn't any meaningful difference. But nowadays gamers are distinguishing between roguelikes and roguelites, so someone will probably say a dungeon crawler is one without permadeath or something like that.

For me, procedural generation and permadeath are the main ones. Also the game has to be fairly deadly so the permadeath actually happens. My favourites lately are Slay the Spire and FTL.

I stopped playing Linley's Dungeon Crawl a number of years ago, as it just felt too weird to start all over every time. But I kinda like the "roguelite" nature of Darkest Dungeon, a current favorite. It's disappointing when my leveled-up characters die, but the dungeon continues getting cleared, and I keep the improvements my surviving parties have been able to finance. So, I get a sense of progress even when things go terribly wrong. And there are always new recruits waiting at the stagecoach. It's a grind, and the dungeon is fraught with danger, but it's fun, and I never lose hope completely.

I've also played a little of Invisible, Inc. Not sure what genre it fits into, but it's kinda roguelike. But it has a "rewind" feature--a limited number of do-overs to let you avoid disaster now and then. It looks like a great game, but I haven't had time to do much with it yet.

I tried FTL and made a mental note to come back to it someday.

Tales of Maj'Eyal: Age of Ascendancy was highly recommended (by somebody; I forget whom). But I couldn't stick with it. Not sure what it was, but somehow the game just didn't grab me.
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I was a fan of Roguelikes before I ever knew what that term meant! When I was 11 years old, I got Dragon Crystal for my Game Gear, and that game is still one of my old time favorites. I cannot even begin to fathom how many hours I have sunk into that game over the years, and I have still never beat it!

I really want to get a more modern one for my 3DS, and there are plenty of options out there. As a budget release, I have really enjoyed Adventure Bar Labyrinth, but at some point I suspect I will be picking up a more complex game. Of course, "modern" might be an older game like Shiren the Wanderer!
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I am really pleased to see Desktop Dungeons on here, which is a game that I love a lot, but no one seems to talk about. maybe this'll get people thinking.

I understand that the game is far less like traditional roguelikes and is more a puzzle on a screen (kind of like how Into the Breach is for TBS games), but it's so clever a puzzle.
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ColdFrog wrote:
I am really pleased to see Desktop Dungeons on here, which is a game that I love a lot, but no one seems to talk about. maybe this'll get people thinking.

I understand that the game is far less like traditional roguelikes and is more a puzzle on a screen (kind of like how Into the Breach is for TBS games), but it's so clever a puzzle.

I almost bought Desktop Dungeons in the recent winter sales, but I held back. I know it's highly recommended and must be a great game, but from the reviews I've read it sounds like it's much more of a tough puzzle game than a dungeon crawl or roguelike.

It's advertised as a good way to spend ten or fifteen minutes at a time playing around, but apparently "playing around" involves racking your brain and even using a calculator (or doing math in your head). That's not my kind of playing, so I passed.
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Patrick Carroll wrote:
ColdFrog wrote:
I am really pleased to see Desktop Dungeons on here, which is a game that I love a lot, but no one seems to talk about. maybe this'll get people thinking.

I understand that the game is far less like traditional roguelikes and is more a puzzle on a screen (kind of like how Into the Breach is for TBS games), but it's so clever a puzzle.

I almost bought Desktop Dungeons in the recent winter sales, but I held back. I know it's highly recommended and must be a great game, but from the reviews I've read it sounds like it's much more of a tough puzzle game than a dungeon crawl or roguelike.

It's advertised as a good way to spend ten or fifteen minutes at a time playing around, but apparently "playing around" involves racking your brain and even using a calculator (or doing math in your head). That's not my kind of playing, so I passed.
It is exactly a tough puzzle instead of a traditional roguelike. It has random levels with a rogue-like-like grid of movements, but the real game is in determining what enemies to fight and when. The system has 3 simple but clever and important rules:

1: Uncovering squares heals everyone who has taken damage an amount equal to their level. (That means both you and monsters, which, by the way, don't move from their space unless a special skill makes them)

2: You earn more XP if the enemy you defeat is a higher level than you

3: When you level up, you regain all HP and Mana

The puzzle of course being, when do you level, how do you save un-explored squares (you see all eight squares around your current square so any that are unexplored become explored), when do you use your mana, how can you kill the harder enemies, and it all is tied to the items you have and the random things you find around the level (including gods, money, items, skills, whatever).

But yeah, if you're not interested in a tough puzzle, probably not for you (though I've never had to use a calculator for it).
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Sad to see Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup not up towards the top of the list - it is my favourite of the major traditional roguelikes and deserves a place up there wit the like of Adom, Angband and Nethack
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I'm not really a fan of Roguelikes.. mostly it's the permadeath that puts me off.

I did however play through FTL enough to eventually beat it.. though I would not have been able to do so without Twinge's strategy guide.
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Grimwold wrote:
I'm not really a fan of Roguelikes.. mostly it's the permadeath that puts me off.

It's a curious thing, permadeath. It puts a lot of tension into a game and makes it feel real. Unfortunately it ends all progress, leaving you with only a memory of what you experienced while you lasted.

That's why I like "Roguelites." The monsters or enemies you killed stay dead, and you keep the treasure you managed to bring back or store. So even though your characters die permanently, as a player you can keep making progress. You still care about your characters, but you don't "become" them; you play the role of the one who's recruiting characters and sending them into the dungeon, and that's a natural role for a game player to take on.

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I really like the idea of roguelikes, though I find a lot of them more annoying or frustrating than fun.

My favorites are 20XX and Azure Dreams, the only roguelikes I've ever actually completed. I still like to play 20XX occasionally, and it's fun for local co-op, too.
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I'm enjoying Cogmind. Its one rating on VGG is a 10, but I haven't played it enough to determine if I agree with that.

It definitely has some nethack-like elements, but the advanced (i.e., mouse-enabled) interface is light years better than the clunkiness of the original roguelikes.

Cool concept, too. Would recommend. (And it is actively maintained and updated, as far as I can tell...)
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