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First of all, what’s a Roguelite?
Ah, roguelites, one of my favorite genres ever! I don’t wanna get into a debate on what the difference is between a “roguelike” and a “roguelite”, so I’ll keep this simple. Basically, a roguelite is usually a game that features procedurally generated levels and “permadeath”. I put “permadeath” in quotation marks because in roguelites, you don’t necessarily lose all of your progress when you die. Instead, roguelites will “reward” you on death by giving you things like small permanent buffs and/or new features on your next playthrough!
What’s so good about Roguelites?
My favorite thing about this genre is the endless replayability. I know it’s not for everyone but I personally love the repetitive nature of roguelite games, especially when you know that you’ll come out a better player in your next attempt (most of the time, anyway). Whether it be a new item or maybe a new playable character, you almost always get something new with every death!
Every playthrough is a learning experience
In most roguelites, you’re thrown into the game with pretty much nothing. Sometimes you’ll get a quick tutorial or the game will have its controls plastered all over the first level, but that’s about it. These kinds of games will usually appeal to those who like a challenge, but it may turn off most people. It may be frustrating, but in my opinion, more people should get into these kinds of games!
You see, each playthrough is a unique experience. For your first few hours, you’ll be meeting new enemies at every corner. At first you’ll feel confident, beating every little challenge that you run into. Eventually, you’ll encounter your first boss. You think to yourself “Ha, this should be easy!” You may or may not succeed, either way, you’ll start to get cocky. Maybe now you’re thinking that you know how to beat that specific boss, so now that level should be easy.
So you start a new playthrough and… Surprise! You’re facing a different boss now! This is why I think roguelites are among the most fun and exciting games ever. You just never know what’s going to happen. You can be doing really well in one playthrough, but then do horribly for the next one (or two, or ten).
Which games would you recommend?
Personally, I’d recommend The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth or Enter the Gungeon for anyone who wants to start playing roguelites. They’re easy to pick up but also have a lot of depth in terms of content and game mechanics, though you’ll be dealing with a lot of RNG for the former (it’s part of the game’s charm, in my opinion).
For those who want a more tactical (and infinitely more frustrating) take on the genre, I suggest you go and check out FTL: Faster Than Light and Darkest Dungeon (fun fact: I think the latter actually counts as a roguelike because it’s turn-based).
I could go all day, but I may as well put up a screenshot of my Steam library at this point. Hell, I’ll do it right now:
Roguelites may seem like an acquired taste to some. If that’s the case, then god damn it’s delicious. Now if you’ll excuse me, I just bought a copy of Dead Cells. That’ll probably be a post for another day.