Roguelikes as a genre have exploded in popularity over recent years. These are tough games where you risk it all, and death means starting over. The genre is defined by the fact each run is different, and you only learn by dying and repeating, with each death being a lesson you learn from.
Usually, your goal is an almost impossible task, daunting at the start, but over time you chip away, and you get closer and closer to the finish line. Each run can give you different abilities, combinations, and with a bit of luck, you’ll feel powerful enough to take on the world.
Known for being tough as nails, roguelikes have gained fans because of the thrill of losing it all. What’s a victory if there are no stakes? While it’s crushing to lose everything you built, it only pushes you to return with more knowledge, more skill, and hopefully, this will finally be that special run… So thrill-seekers, let us help you out with our guide to the best Switch roguelikes. Get ready to lose some lives!
Here’s our guide to the best roguelike games on Switch.
The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth
A classic in the genre, this remake of the gross original is one for mature players only. You play as Isaac, and must tackle waves of enemies, find treasures, and unlock unsettling superhuman powers.
It’s a randomly generated action-shooter, so no two rooms are alike. Controlling Isaac is a satisfying power-creep, as you slowly build up better abilities, and eventually decimate foes that originally caused you grief. The Switch port is one of the best ways to play thanks to portability and HD rumble, so, if you haven’t tried this classic yet, now is the time.
A cult classic, Dead Cells was released in 2018 to critical acclaim, and has only expanded in scope and audience since. Explore an ever-changing castle, use whatever weapons you can find, and collect cells to unlock new abilities and equipment.
Lauded for its razor-sharp combat, Dead Cells feels like a Metroidvania turned up to 11. Updates have continually dropped since release, so what was already a generous package is now humongous. Meanwhile, exploration and combat are an absolute blast, but be prepared to try again, as this is a brutal undertaking.
The latest game from prolific developer Supergiant, Hades took the world by storm and snagged several game of the year awards along the way. Playing as Zagreus, the son of Hades, you ignore your fathers demands and try to escape the many circles of hell, with a bit of help along the way from the other gods. With combat that feels incredibly fluid and satisfying, as well as some fantastic narrative threads that expand as you repeatedly die, this is one of the very best examples of the roguelike genre. If not the best!
To find out why we called it “the best roguelike on Switch” you can check out our Hades review now.
Slay The Spire
A roguelike with a twist, this title has you trying to slay the titular spire, but using a card-based combat system to do so. Getting a good hand is your best chance, but you can grow and change your deck as you ascend as well. With a huge amount of possible card combinations, enemies to find, and even different bosses, no two runs are ever alike. Plus, building a deck is incredibly satisfying, and you’ll be hooked in no time.
Into The Breach
The world has already ended, and you must send in a series of time travelling soldiers back to before the apocalypse and use strategy and smarts to change the world’s fate. A gorgeous pixelated isometric title played on a grid, Into The Breach is a brutal game where even a single mistake spells the end of the world.
You have to learn exactly what each machine at your disposal can do, and exactly how your enemies attack. Defend cities and power generators to survive, and try to take down as many monsters as you can. This is more methodical than most, but it only feels sweeter when you succeed.
A dungeon exploration title with bags of charm, Moonlighter asks “what if you could actually do something with all the loot you find?” As well as using treasures to buy and build weapons, you can set up a shop and sell your wares to the local inhabitants.
Learning the right price for people is a fun gameplay element, and exploring each dungeon is given even more meaning when you find the latest huge treasure to sell. The combat also feels great, if a bit simplistic, but Moonlighter is overflowing with style and has an utterly addictive gameplay loop.
Delving down into cave systems where even a single misstep spells death. Spelunky isn’t about power, it’s simply about surviving, and exploring. While many things can kill you, with a bit of strategy you start to understand this dangerous world, and discover which items and tactics work for you. It’s randomly generated, so each attempt is different. However, after a few deaths, you start to understand this brutal world and want to explore even deeper.
There you have it, our guide to the best Switch roguelikes for all the thrill-seeking Switch owners out there. If you want more exploration, but perhaps with a little less punishment, check out our best Switch Metroidvanias guide for even more terrifying depths to dive into.