If you’re a gamer who enjoyed Hades and wants to get more into the roguelike genre, these five games are the perfect way to keep going.
2020 saw the rise of one specific game genre, roguelikes, and that can be attested to the release of Hades, developed by SuperGiant Games. Hades quickly exploded in popularity, even receiving nominations in several “Game of the Year” awards.
People may be craving more roguelikes after having their fill of Hades, and it’s a genre that’s done nothing but grow. If you’re looking to scratch that roguelike itch, there’s plenty of options to choose from today.
Slay the Spire
Originally first in early access back in 2017, Slay the Spire is a dungeon-crawling card-battler roguelike, developed by MegaCrit and published by Humble Bundle. The game has the player choose between four different heroes to fight their way through three areas of increasing difficulty. Combat has the player use their deck to deal damage, defend, or set up buffs. You’d hard-pressed to find another roguelike out there with as strong a level of synergy as Slay the Spire.
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Say you choose to play as the Silent. An easy-to-learn Silent strategy is to amass cards that create Shivs; 0-cost cards that deal 3 damage to an enemy. It doesn’t sound like much at first, but when you find the WristBlade relic, they instantly deal +4 more damage, and cards like Infinite Blade and Cloak and Dagger will keep getting you more shivs each turn.
The enemies, but especially the bosses, all have different quirks to the way they play, and learning them can mean the difference between a good or bad run. The Guardian, for instance, shifts between two different forms; offensive and defensive mode. If you attack it in defensive mode, it will damage you; however, if you attack it for enough damage in offensive mode, its next attack will be negated and instead use the turn to shift back to defensive.
Officially released in October 2020 by Nolla Games, Noita has the player control a witch as they descend further and further down a cavern where every pixel has physics. There’s a real joy to be had in wondering if you can destroy something in a game and then actually doing it to disastrous effects to nearby enemies. Say you have a wand that makes oil rain down around you; if you then use a different wand to cast fire, everything covered in oil will immediately go up in flames, and there’s nothing quite as satisfying as collecting all the gold from enemies you killed in such a simple combo.
Of course, Noita isn’t a walk in the park, so you better have a FireProof perk if you don’t want to be incinerated as well. There’s a challenge to Noita, especially in the later levels, but you’re always rewarded for overcoming difficult enemies with mounds of gold. It’s important to know which enemies are just easy gold to earn and which can overwhelm you before you can even retaliate.
Stoneshard is a turn-based RPG Roguelike developed by Ink Stain Games in 2019. It has everything you’d expect of an RPG, gain experience points, learn skills, finding better equipment, but is tied together with the inherent difficulty that comes with the roguelike genre. Exercising on the side caution is the way to play in Stoneshard, as you against four wolves can mean the end of your run before it’s even begun.
There’s a lot of customization in Stoneshard. Once you’re out of the prologue, you have four different classes to choose to play as and each comes with its own different proficiencies and abilities. Maybe you like hitting hard and fast, so you’d like a melee weapon like a sword or knife. Or maybe shooting magic from a distance sounds safer; just be sure to keep an eye out on those weapon cooldowns.
You’ll find that discovering new locations is just as rewarding as taking down tough enemies. Forts and catacombs will often have discarded bookshelves and chests, which can hold tomes to learn new skills or stronger weapons and armor. Just be sure there aren’t any ghouls lurking nearby when you’re searching for loot.
Skul the Hero Slayer
Only officially released this year, Skul the Hero Slayer is an action platformer roguelike tied with a strong narrative developed by SouthPAW Games. The demon king’s forces have invaded the kingdom and are taking over, taking humans and monsters as prisoners alike. However, you’re not the adventures fighting to stop the demon king in this story; they’ve already sided with his army. Instead, you play as Skul, a little skeleton with a bone to pick with the demon king and his imperial forces.
Like Hades, Skul the Hero Slayer has a starting hub that you revive from after a failed run. Being an undead skeleton, coming back from the dead isn’t that unusual. Skul’s best mechanic as a roguelike has to be the numerous skulls that you can find in a given. By swapping Skul’s head with a different skeletal head, Skull’s moveset and abilities change. Choosing the wolf head will make you much faster in movement and attack speed, or the petty thief’s head will earn you a bit of gold every time you damage a foe. It’s really fun to find the skulls that work best for your playstyle, as well as equipping the right items that make for great combos.
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