4 Best Roguelike Games for PC

Updated on July 16, 2020
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Tjoedhilde spends way too much time on "just another turn" in roguelike games.

Between 2012 and 2013 games like FLT and Don’t Starve kickstarted a whole new craze for roguelikes and roguelites.

Since then, the space has become more than crowded and it’s hard to get through your Steam discovery queue without meeting at least one or two roguelikes.

Not all of them are good though (or even playable). To save you time I have gone on a real-life roguelike adventure (minus the permadeath), to procedurally hack and slash myself through as many games of the genre as possible exploring what’s available and giving you a list of the very best roguelikes/lites for PC.

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1. Slay the Spire

A roguelike deck builder where you battle your way through 3 floors of increasingly difficult encounters. You can choose between the warrior, the silent one or the Defect. Each has their own fighting style and you need to change tactic based on their strengths and weaknesses.

On top of your ever-increasing deck, you can also loot trinkets with different bonuses or drawbacks that will heavily impact your strategy.

Once you have succeeded in reaching the top of the tower with all 3 characters you can embark on daily climbs with custom rules and compete with other players for a space on the scoreboard. Finally, you can create your own custom runs where you increase the difficulty or add your own unique modifiers.

It took me 37 hours to get to the point where I felt I needed a break from the game and it’s not even out of early access. I foresee my played time reaching 3 digits before it gets uninstalled.

“This may be, in fact, the most entertaining game I've ever played. It's great to just sit down and knock out the daily, or binge play for 8 hrs straight grinding out ascension levels. “

— TitansPepeMeme
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2. Kingsway

As the quirkiest game I have ever played (excluding Days of the Tentacles) Kingsway was a sure candidate to the list of best PC roguelike games.

On the surface, it’s not much different than most roguelike RPG’s. You battle bad guys, loot items that make your character stronger, die and then proceed to do it all over again until you have built up enough bonuses and knowledge to defeat the end boss.

What sets this apart is the UI. You are playing the game in a Windows-like interface with folders (windows) and progression bars.

And it isn’t just a gimmick. Kingsway is using the interface to support the gameplay in clever ways. An example are enemies with the power to close your folders making it harder to utilize healing potions or offensive and defensive skills.

When playing the game, you earn gems that can be spent on bonuses, appearances or even hotkeys to allow more keyboard shortcuts (which make the game a lot simpler).

It’s a fun little game and so different that even if you don’t like roguelikes you should try it out just to experience it.

“Well, who knew presenting a game as a dated operating system would be oodles of fun?”

— Rituro
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"Monster Slayers"
"Monster Slayers"
"Monster Slayers"

3. Monster Slayers

Another deck builder makes it to the list. Monster Slayers has a ton of classes that all plays differently (6 with the core game 14 with all DLC’s). You can buy and loot gear throughout your adventures that stay with you when you die and can be utilized for other run-throughs.

You also have bonuses that you can unlock. Some are related to specific characters and some are more generic like HP boosts and better gold drops.

Monster Slayers is a bit of a grind fest and you shouldn’t expect to slay the endboss on your first playthrough. On the other hand, isn’t that what roguelikes are really about?

After 23 hours playing Monster Slayers I have still only managed to beat the game with 3 out of 14 characters and I will likely not let it go until I have succeeded with all of them. Very good value for money!

“Monster Slayers embodies the “one more run” mentality of roguelikes with quick card-based combat,”

— Lady Dawn
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4. Wayward

Wayward meets 13 of 15 rules in the Berlin Interpretation of roguelikes definition. But somehow it feels bigger than a normal roguelike. The survival and crafting part plays a huge role and you can turn off permadeath if you chose.

In Wayward you are stranded on a desert island and need to build up a base to survive in the wild. You discover more recipes as you access more and more materials and as your equipment improves you can take on dungeons and start treasure hunting.

If you like Don’t Starve and enjoy crafting and survival games set in fantasy worlds, then you will enjoy Wayward. Here are some more in-depth reasons why you should buy Wayward right now.

“You will die. (a lot) You'll get better. You'll die some more. It'll be 6am and time to go to work/ school and all you can do is think about going home and dying some more!”

— ChinchillaNinja

Which of these roguelike games is the best?

See results

© 2018 Tjoedhilde


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