If you’re anything like me, you spent some of last year playing Hades to see what the hype was all about. And the hype turned out to be real: this is one of the most engaging and innovative games I’ve ever played!
It’s also a Roguelike, which refers to games modeled loosely after the 1980 game Rogue. These games usually involve procedurally-generated stages and killer difficulty that encourages players to keep dying and coming back for more.
Hades arguably perfected the Roguelike genre. And the good news is it’s coming to the Nintendo Switch on March 19.
But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other games that can scratch the Roguelike itch that Hades awakened in you. In fact, here are some of the best Roguelikes for anyone who loves Hades!
The Binding of Isaac
Part of what makes Hades so fun is that it combines cartoony graphics and Greek mythology. If you like that sort of thing, The Binding of Isaac (2011) basically does that but instead draws on the Biblical story of Isaac.
Honestly, before Hades, this was the last Roguelike that made a real splash. And it’s definitely worth a playthrough for any Hades fan.
The hallmark of a good sequel is that it seriously improves on the original. And Spelunky 2 does the impossible: it retains the best parts of the first game while improving on almost every aspect.
The fluid animation already makes this game worth playing. And the approach to puzzles (with multiple solutions to many of the biggest conundrums) will keep you coming back for more.
The game came out in September 2020 on PC and PS4. It’s getting a release on Nintendo Switch in Summer 2021.
While it’s portrayed pretty lightly, a major draw of Hades is the brutal difficulty. And if you want another brutally difficult Roguelike, Darkest Dungeon (2015) may be your best bet.
The difficulty remains intense throughout the game, and your character must fight to maintain their sanity even as they fight external foes. If you like a touch of the psychological in your Roguelikes, this is a game with a surprising amount of depth.
Enter the Gungeon
One of the most liberating and hilarious moments in Hades is when you first get the Exogrypth. While previous weapons were more medieval in nature, this weapon is a combination gun and rocket launcher. As it turns out, Roguelikes are a lot more fun when you’re heavily armed!
And that’s the idea behind Enter the Gungeon (2016). The graphics are a fun retro throwback, and the relentless gunplay is fast and furious. Honestly, if you haven’t already played Hades, then this game may be the perfect intro to the Roguelike genre.
Dead Cells (2017) is one of many games that features pixelated graphics to make it look more retro. And that retro aesthetic continues into the level design which does its best to copy the best parts of the Castlevania series.
Ultimately, Dead Cells is a fusion of retro nostalgia and modern innovations. And it’s very deep, as well: what looks like a hollow hack-and-slash adventure is just an exterior covering one of the most pleasantly complex Roguelikes you’ll ever play.
FTL: Faster than Light
Obviously, Hades is a fantasy-inspired game. Because of that, most of the Roguelikes on our list have a similar fantasy theme. But if you’re a sci-fi fan, you can’t do much better for Roguelikes than FTL: Faster Than Light (2012).
You get all the fun of a complex Roguelike and all the simplistic fun of mashing buttons on a starship. And the fact that you can bring some friends along makes this Roguelike just enough like Star Trek to make you want to send a few redshirts to their doom.
Some games do their best to hide their Roguelike influence. Rogue Legacy (2013), however, wears that influence on its sleeve (or at least on its name). But that’s only fitting for one of the finest Roguelikes ever made!
This game is actually much more similar to Hades than many titles on this list. That’s because it combines gripping action with colorful graphics and even more colorful personalities. It’s also fairly casual-friendly, so you don’t have to worry about a major difficulty jump if you play this game after beating Hades.
What’s the quickest way to make your game feel new and innovative? Simple: all you have to do is mash a few different concepts together. That’s what Hades did by blending classic Roguelike design with action/RPG elements, include a kind of leveling system and character relationship management.
If you like mashups, the next game you should try is Dicey Dungeons (2019). It combines the Roguelike design you know and love with deck builder elements borrowed from some of your favorite tabletop games. On top of this are very stylish designs for characters and levels that will ensure you come back to roll these Dicey Dungeons again and again.
What are some of your favorite Roguelikes? Tell us in the comments below!