New indie games are releasing every day. And with a lot of them being Roguelikes or Roguelites, it’s good to understand the difference between the two. Games like Hades, Loop Hero, and Skul: The Hero Slayer are doing well in sales, and it’s easy to tell that people love them. Yet sometimes players get confused as to whether or not they are Roguelikes or Roguelites. So let’s talk about it and understand the difference between these beloved genres.
Roguelike games are all about replaying the game over and over. While also beating the game only a few times. In roguelikes, you die very often, and you have to completely start over every time. You don’t get to save your progress throughout the levels. So if you lose, it’s back to the very beginning.
Usually, roguelikes have a system where you go through dungeons in an arcade-level like format. Within these dungeons, you beat all types of enemies and monsters. You can do this by using guns, magic, swords, basically, anything you call a weapon. Usually, you find some kind of gate and visit the next dungeon, resulting in a satisfying gameplay loop.
A good example is The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth which was released back in 2014. In this game, you play as Isaac and go on various adventures. The dungeons are randomly generated, and every run is different.
Roguelites are similar to Roguelikes in many ways. People often get confused about the difference or what either of them means. Many games like Rogue Glitch and Space Gladiators even tag their games as both.
Roguelites and Roguelikes often have the same type of gameplay. But where Roguelikes are unforgiving, and you have to start over every time you die, that is not the case in a Roguelite. In Roguelites some of your progress is saved.
When the player dies in a Roguelike, the progress of that run isn’t saved at all. You’re dead, and you have to start over. Very unforgiving, and for some people, very frustrating. In this aspect, a Roguelite is a friendlier alternative. Sure, you still die, and you still have to start over. But sometimes, you can stay within the same dungeon you were in before you died. And at other times, you are allowed to keep things like in-game currency and skill upgrades. The Indie game Revita is a good example of a recent Roguelike.
Curse of the Dead Gods
Curse of the Dead Gods is an Action Roguelike where you get to seek untold riches and divine powers. You can choose a corrupt or a virtuous path on your quest to fulfill your ambitions. You get to use many powers alongside a diverse arsenal of weapons as you explore the dungeons. These include guns, swords, and magic.
Every choice and action you make has consequences in Curse of the Dead Gods. So every run is unique based on your own decisions.
Gods Will Fall
Roguelikes usually have 2D graphics, most commonly having pixel art. Gods Will Fall is very unique in that regard, as it is an Action-Roguelike game that has full 3D graphics.
In Gods Will Fall, you play as a human that is wronged by the Gods, and now it’s time for the player to kill them. In this game, the Godly enemies have an arsenal of weapons, just like you do as the player. They deploy monsters and minions in varying numbers. And they are all out to kill you.
The hack and slash mechanism makes Gods Will Fall unique, but it’s still a roguelike, and death, really means death. You die, and you have to start over. What makes Gods Will Fall unique is that you create your own personal story each run. This is done based on the decisions you make and how you play the game.
Dungeon No Dungeon
Dungeon No Dungeon is a game that effectively manages to be a hybrid between a Roguelite and a Turn-Based Strategy game. The hand-drawn art in the game really shows the amount of effort developer 302 Studio has put into it.
As we’ve mentioned before, Roguelikes and Roguelites usually have procedurally generated dungeons. Dungeon No Dungeon puts a different twist on this by adding a map. You roll an in-game dice, and the amount of dots it rolls determines where you’re going.
Dungeon No Dungeon also has a multiplayer system where you can encounter other players. The winner of a PVP match even gets extra rewards to help them explore.
Ratropolis is a fusion of a Roguelite, a Tower Defense, a City-Building, and a Deck-Building game. The game offers over 500 cards you can choose from, and the goal is to keep enemies out and build your city.
Ratropolis offers a lot of content. Along with the 500 cards mentioned before, it has 100+ events, six possible endings, and six leaders. You choose your own adventure, and what you do determines where you’ll end up in the game.
Ratropolis is developed by Cassel Games and has been received well by its audience.
Lost in Dungeon
Lost in Dungeon is a 2D Action-Adventure with Roguelite elements combined with playing methods brought directly from RPGs. The dungeons are randomly generated, with props and relics adding variety to the gameplay, and in the dungeons themselves, the player has to avoid traps and kill monsters.
Lost in Dungeon is rather unforgiving, even for a Roguelite. It’s hard to play. If you enjoy playing difficult games, this one might be for you. Lost in Dungeon is developed by SN Studio and published in Early Access by Gocore.
Dwarf Journey is an Action-Roguelite Platformer with randomly generated levels. The player gets to level up, defeat enemies, assemble their rune and build and collect minerals to forge better equipment.
In the levels, the player can defeat enemies and open chests to gather cores and weapon blueprints they can use to forge better equipment. They can then use these to fight even stronger monsters.
Dwarf Journey allows the player to fully customize their game. So, you can play it in the way you want to play it. Dwarf Journey is developed and published by Orube Game Studio.
Voidigo is a vibrant and colorful Roguelite Shooter. The game has a large focus on dynamic and unique boss fights. Developer Semiwork has designed a wide variety of different weapons that you can use to fight your way through the levels.
Voidigo is mostly promoted as a Roguelite Shooter. Yet despite this, it also offers a variety of melee attacks for a more personal approach. Also, you have the ability to dodge attacks if you come too close to the enemy.
The unique and dynamic bosses show the creativity Semiwork has to offer. And for people that like seeing other people’s creativity shine, Voidigo offers you some solid experiences.
Sword of the Necromancer
Sword of the Necromancer is a Dungeon-Crawler RPG with Roguelike elements where you can revive your defeated enemies to make them fight alongside you.
This is possible because of the necromancer sword that you carry with you in the game. Kill the bad enemies, bring them back to life and they are your allies.
Metal Unit is a sprawling Side-Scrolling platformer with Roguelite elements. In this game, you play as Joanna, a soldier on a mission to capture her treasonous sister. With the M-Unit 11 suit, the player gets to battle against monsters and aliens while uncovering the truth about humanity.
This game has a post-apocalyptic setting and tells the tragic story of human survivors and their battle against monsters and machines to regain control of their planet.
Metal Unit is another game that shows the possibilities a developer has with the Roguelite type of gameplay and is developed by JellowSnow Studio and published by NEOWIZ.
30XX is a game that will remind many players of Side-Scroller games like Megaman that were released in the past while boasting more color. You shoot, jump and slash your way through the game as you’d do in the best Megaman titles.
30XX is a Roguelike Action Platformer with the option to play in co-op mode with your friend. And again, randomly generated levels. So you can renew the mix of levels you get to play through every round they play.
Batterystaple Games has shown their creativity by creating a world with Roguelike-style progression and the option to tune the game’s difficulty as you play, even after you win. Next to that, there is also a robust level editor, where you get to make levels with the same tools the developers use.
Whatever you prefer to play, Roguelikes or Roguelites, these tags offer a wide variety of games. So if you’re open to learning these games, there is likely a Roguelike or Roguelite for you.
Images copied from game’s Steam pages.