Roguelike games have become increasingly popular over the past few years. They often involve some kind of procedural map generation, where the difficulty slowly climbs until failure is inevitable. But that’s what makes it so fun. Even in failure, you achieve something. You learned something. Here we show you some of the best indie roguelike games that you can play during the hot summer weekends.
Prefer a casual gaming experience? Check out these compelling Game Pass games you can finish in a day.
Brotato falls under the category of arena roguelike games. You control a potato who is armed with guns, swords, magic wands or mighty fists to fight back an alien invasion. It’s definitely a more casual experience without a lot of depth, but that makes it easy to pick up and put down.
Currently, the demo version has been released on steam for free with twelve grueling waves to beat. Despite being in its early stage, it is still fun to sink your teeth into. Each run ends within thirty minutes so you don’t even need to allocate a lot of time for a single attempt.
There are different character starts that you can opt for, specializing in melee weapons, ranged weapons, crits, luck, magic, mutation, etc. With dozens of items and sixteen different stats to spec into, each run can be wildly different from the next.
2. Aces & Adventures
Aces & Adventures is an adventure roguelike. You go out on an adventure, beat monsters and unlock cards for your game deck. What makes this stand out from the rest is that the combat revolves entirely around the cards you draw. Your combos revolve around getting good poker hands.
The game is also beautifully designed. The sun doesn’t just set – it gently caresses the horizon and disappears behind it like a child hiding behind their mothers skirts. The art is incredible too, with a wonderful narrative and sophisticated mechanics. With different character decks to start with, you can customize your play style to get to the end of the adventure.
3. Alchemia: Creatio Ex Nihilo
In Alchemia: Creatio Ex Nihilo, you control an alchemist and make your way through the world to discover new, wonderful alchemical recipes to make your concoctions stronger. By combining reagents you get effects, and as time goes on, you become a master of your craft.
The gameplay is far more in depth than you might think, as reagents are not unique. Some materials have properties that can be substituted for other materials, encouraging you to experiment more with unusual combinations to find out the limits of your concoctions. Each stage of the game has a Guardian that you must defeat before you can move to the next level. The game is not very forgiving either, as there are very little opportunities to restore your health.
4. Have A Nice Death
Have A Nice Death is a stylish side-scrolling hack ‘n’ slash dungeon crawl roguelike. In this game, you control Death, who is the CEO of Death Inc., and has decided that he’s getting too old and burned out for the duties of death. He creates “Sorrows” which are his company executives to go out and do tasks for him.
The game parodies corporate culture hilariously, as now, the Sorrows have begun to make decisions for the company without telling their CEO. Thus, Death climbs down the company ladder to go teach his executives a lesson about why he’s the boss and they are not. This game is very stylistic, the combat is fluid and fast paced. It’s actually a really funny game, and reminds me a lot of Hades with its roster of colorful characters.
5. Cult Of The Lamb
Out of all roguelike games of 2022, this is the most anticipated one. Cult Of The Lamb is a stylized dungeon crawl where you take control of a cute little lamb that’s being sacrificed in the opening credits. Apparently, it is to prevent some eldritch deity from reincarnating and dooming the world. At the very last moment, just as the blade is swung, you are whisked away by the deity in question, saving you from your own demise. In return for saving your life, they ask you to start a cult in their name – The Cult of the Lamb.
Eventually, this following are overflown with cute critters like lamb, sheep, and cows, as you rescue them in your runs. The contrast of the clearly ominous nature of starting a cult for an eldritch deity and the adorable protagonists with charming NPCs is why this game made such a splash. Personally, the art style too reminds me of Klei Entertainment and games like Don’t Starve.
Vactics is a mech-building roguelike game that is set in a cyberpunk post-apocalyptic world. In this story, “Vactics” are mechs that have taken over society and have caused devastation and destruction. You control a mech of your own and must protect the lives of humans and plants from malicious Vactics by battling them. You can’t just click and attack either, it’s tactical. Everything happens on a hex grid and is based around your movement. It is very reminiscent of chess.
Each time a district is liberated by defeating all the evil Vactics, the people salvage an upgrade for you which will help you liberate the next district. Due to the tactical nature of the game, each upgrade you get can unlock an entirely new kind of strategy to defeat your opponent. Whether it’s freezing them once a combat to deprive them of a turn, or being able to hop over your targets, the combinations are limitless. It’s definitely a war game, if that’s something that tickles your fancy.
There are still way more diamond-in-the-rough games to discover. See the best games shown at Summer Games Fest.