Elemental Challenge Day Twenty-Eight: Roguelike



Hola, NPCs! Don’t mind the leering, icy stare of death, my friends. That’s just because today we plan to talk of Roguelike games! Roguelikes are a more unusual and specific genre than, say, your commonplace platformers, shooters, and RPGs. These are characterized by high levels of difficulty (foremost), as well as dungeon crawling, randomly generated levels, collectibles, and permadeath. Each playthrough in a roguelike is always different and the games tend to be short but you’ll be dying a lot so it hardly matters. Early roguelikes took their subgenre’s name from the game Rogue, since they were like it. That’s kind of funny, ain’t it? That’d be like if we called subsequent influenced games Mariolike, Zeldalike, Call of Dutylike. At least there’s some specificity in that bit of silliness.

Here’s us struggling to talk about roguelikes.


FF3-NES-Summoner2.png  The Green Screen Mage

I love me some Dungeons & Dragons any day, but these kinds of video games are just not for me. I get way too frustrated.



blackmage  The Black Humor Mage

I have no idea what these are. I’ve heard of Spelunky though, so try that one out. Tell ‘em, Black Humor Mage sent ya.



mystic_knight1 The Midnight Mystic Mage (Sublime Reviews)

Don’t Starve. This game is brutal at first, but you do get better. It is so much fun to get better and better at keeping your character surviving and thriving in this harsh environment with the styles of some type of Tim Burton animation in cartoon form. I really think it embraces the heart of what makes the Roguelike genre so fun to play while also being frustratingly hard at times. (Honorable Mentions – Eldritch, Spelunky, Diablo)



spoonybardmageright.jpg  The Spoony Bard Mage (Nerd Speaker)

Binding of Isaac, because I didn’t have enough mommy issues before. Seriously though, every run feels truly unique, and the action is fast and challenging. Not to mention dark as hell.



HandheldMage1  The Hopeful Handheld Mage (Retro Redress)

I’ve never played a roguelike. Another genre to add to the list of ‘games I have to catch up on!



EKkbAqWy  The Brave Blue Mage (924COLLECTIVE)

This was a hard choice, but a quick trip to Wikipedia listed Vagrant Story on its Roguelike Page, & Wikipedia always has the final word, right?  Based in the Kingdom of Ivalice (of FF Tactics Fame) Vagrant Story has an extremely memorable art style, weapons creation system & combos.  Playing as a Riskbreaker in this eerie gothic style adventure is a definite highlight.

PiOL8EtH (1)



Kx18GL1dNEW  The Dapper Zaffre Mage (Save File 02)

I didn’t get to play a lot of traditional Rougelike, but I -did- get into Spelunky quite a bit. It’s one of those games best played in turns with a group, and probably the most fun when everything is going seriously wrong and somebody’s death is imminent. And I’ll admit, I was far from the most ‘careful’ of players in Spelunky and probably offed myself more often than every other hazard in the game combined. Fun!



nostalgiamage  The Over-Caffeinated Nostalgia Mage (Nostalgia Trigger)

Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon (2015). I played my first rogue-like very recently. To be honest, I was never a fan of the genre and avoid the label like the plague. However, during an Amazon sale combined with a bit of a backlog drought (imagine that!) I picked up Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon. 35 hours later and I had finally completed it, and what a great time I had. I had no idea I could enjoy a story that much, especially in a game that I assumed would be focused around randomly generated elements. That couldn’t be further from the truth!

I had recently gotten back into Pokémon after over fifteen years of a break, and I was eager to carry on with the franchise after Pokémon X and Y. Where Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon really helped me was by putting personalities to the new Pokémon that had sprung up in the Pokédex while I was on my hiatus. It really made my Pokémon Sun and Moon playthrough at the end of that year that much more enjoyable, as so many of these Pokémon were “humanized” in the Super Mystery Dungeon game.

I recommend it to any fans of the mystery dungeon genre, and of course fans of anything Pokémon!



  The Rage Mage

When I’m feelin’ down, I just go to my happy place to cheer up: The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.



rmage2.jpg  The Well-Red Mage

It sounds like I’m in the camp of most of the other mages here. I missed out on the early, traditional roguelikes and got into the genre only in the past few years. What I encountered were some really tough games evocative of the arcade era, so I’ve never met a roguelike I didn’t like. Not yet!

Of the few that I’ve played, I really enjoyed DownwellRogue Legacy and GoNNER (I didn’t realize Vagrant Story might be considered roguelike, and I liked that game). Of these, Downwell comes out as the clear winner. Downwell is a delightful downward shooter/platformer with only four areas but it is of course as cornea-scrapingly difficult as this subgenre is renown for being. It also doubles as an indie game! You should play it and lose!



And there you have it: roguelikes! That wasn’t so hard, was it? Have you played any roguelike games before? It seems like this is much more of an obscure classification for most people. I’m sure tomorrow’s Challenge will be much easier, as if you could just reach out and hold it in your hands!

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14 replies »

  1. Sadly, as a mentally ill chap (Socio, Sadomaso, etc, etc) it wouldn’t be safe for me to play these games… But if Lord C hadda choose 1 at gunpoint, I do enjoy watching T’bindin O Isaac & it’s sequels/redos (no commentary obvs) on t’ytube! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “That’d be like if we called subsequent influenced games Mariolike, Zeldalike, Call of Dutylike. At least there’s some specificity in that bit of silliness.” Metroidvania! We do have a sort of term that’s similar, AND it’s a portmanteau 🙂

    That being said, rogue-likes are not my genre in the least. It’s hard enough for me to survive in real life let alone non-life game, though from the description it sounds like Breath of the Wild might fit into this niche, not that I know enough about BOTW to suggest this, but I’m going to suggest it anyway like the uniformed Narcissist that I am. Though I don’t think BOTW has permadeath so there’s that.

    I enjoy watching others play The Binding of Isaac, because what an absolutely messed up game. I just throw it on the “mommy issues” motif mountain I’m growing in my backyard.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m on team Binding of Isaac. I don’t even know how many hours I sank into that game. I still haven’t gone back and tried the Afterbirth expansion because I know it’ll end up sucking me in for a very long time again.

    Risk of Rain was great too. Not as much content as Isaac, but almost as addictive.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve played the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games, Chocobo’s Dungeon, and this really weird Wii game called Baroque. Don’t recommend that last one, but I enjoyed the others, particularly Chocobo. The challenging levels and trying to find the best character class for each dungeon kept me engaged for a long time!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Roguelikes aren’t really my thing, so I haven’t played a lot of them and I’ve already named the one I’m fond of (Rogue Legacy). So, no dice this time out.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nice choices as always – I had some trouble with this one, particularly because I don’t like games that you don’t ever seem to finish, which is a good chunk of roguelikes. The concept of “starting over” also always bothered me! Don’t Starve I enjoyed, until I got killed after an hour and lost all my progress. Immediately uninstalled and refunded my purchase lol, just not for me I guess. They can’t all be zingers!

    Liked by 1 person

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