It’s not every day that a new, to me, genre captures my interest quite like the roguelike genre did. Don’t get me wrong, I have no reservations about trying out games from genres I’m not familiar with and usually do find myself enjoying them. The difference with the roguelike genre is that I found myself so hooked that I started searching for more games within the genre almost immediately after familiarizing myself with the gameplay loop. This is out of the norm for me as I usually look to play a palette cleanser game in-between the more story-heavy games I play. These games usually consist of a handful of games with simple concepts and gameplay like Tetris Effect or one of the many Forza games. Stuff where there really isn’t a story and you can’t technically beat the game. With roguelikes, however, I just got hooked. I had to have more and fast.
Dead Cells was the first one I played. It took some getting used to but now I love the whole premise of it. Turns out playing to get as far as I can and farming resources that will help me advance further in future runs is a very addictive gameplay loop. It’s a relatively simple formula and the game isn’t exactly complex in terms of gameplay mechanics, but there’s still a definite learning curve. I also learned that I may be a bit of a masochist as I came to enjoy the deaths lol.
It wasn’t all good times though. It was frustrating at first. I was dying a ton and I wasn’t seeing any of the benefits of my runs. On top of that, I wasn’t having any success making it further into the game. I even got so frustrated that I dropped the game for a while. It wasn’t until a few months later that I decided to give it another shot and I’m so glad that I did. I eventually learned which loadouts I liked best and things started to get easier from there. I was making it further and further every time before eventually completing my first run. Wow, talk about a gaming high.
My favourite part of roguelikes is getting through and completing that first run. For me at least, there’s a large sense of accomplishment that comes with it. I feel validated haha, like, “yes, I can do this.” Then my mindset shifts to farming for the best weapons and I look to get stronger and beat harder difficulty runs because I need more. What makes completing a run so great is that every single one is different. Environments and enemies are usually randomly generated with every new run so that no two are ever the same. This way, I can’t plan too much or memorize the level design so there’s almost always a challenge. It helps to keep me on my toes and prevents the game from going stale which keeps me coming back.
With my eyes now open to the world of roguelikes, I quickly found myself searching out my next challenge. My research led me to Slay the Spire next and a game by Supergiant that can’t be named on this sub apparently. Both games share the same basic premise as Dead Cells, but all three are very different from one another which is what’s amazed me most about the genre. The games can be so different, but all, the ones I've played at least, are addicting.
Dead Cells is a 2D, side-scrolling, platformer action-type game and Slay the Spire is a turn-based card game. Both have different strengths that stood out to me such as the art-style and music of Dead Cells and the different decks that are available to each unique character in Slay the Spire. Each of these games probably deserves a post of their own and I may even make some in the future but I wanted to shine a light on the fact that I’ve never really been blown away by a specific genre quite like this before.
I mentioned earlier that I have palette cleanser games that I like to play in-between the more story-based games I play. Now that I’ve spent some time with a few different roguelikes, they’ve started to become the games I turn to when I’m not actively playing through other games. I love being able to just hop in and go through a few runs because of the variety that they provide. No two runs are ever the same so they always feel fresh when I come back to them.
What started as a simple curiosity has now lead me down such a welcome rabbit hole. 10/10 would recommend.
- I feel as if most Roguelikes don’t actually use the genre to its fullest potential
- Dead Cells is overrated (Some thoughts on roguelikes)
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