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Roguelike vs roguelite - what’s the difference?

Roguelike vs roguelite. Two similar genres with various characteristics. Allow us to answer the question, what’s the difference between roguelike and roguelite?

Roguelike vs roguelite - Zagreus and Lemmy posing

If you’re a sucker for punishment and enjoy games that pose a challenge, you’re bound to be familiar with both the roguelike and roguelite genres, as both feature similar characteristics that tend to lead to an infinite amount of deaths. However, while both require you to start from the beginning of a run upon death, one genre is arguably more generous than the other. In our roguelike vs roguelite guide, we aim to explain the difference between the two categories.

Since you’re here, we think it’s safe to say that you get a kick out of these types of titles, so why not give our list of the best Switch roguelikes a browse? Or, simply check out our picks for the best hard games for other titles that pose a serious challenge. We also have an article on the best Soulslike games, should you want to dive into a whole other world of pain.

Anyway, here are the roguelike vs roguelite differences.

Roguelike vs roguelite - Enter the Gungeon key art

What’s the difference between roguelike and roguelite?

The rogue genre is infamous for its difficulty in that deaths tend to be permanent, and you lose all progression in the face of defeat. This is a concept that roguelike games take to heart, which makes them significantly more difficult than roguelites.

You see, a roguelite often lacks a permadeath feature and, at the very least, allows you to carry progression over to the next cycle. A good example of this is Hades, as you get to power up different abilities and equip them, too. So, in essence, you can make yourself stronger with each run, whereas a roguelike doesn’t tend to allow this sort of thing.

It’s worth bearing in mind the genres frequently cross. If we return to Hades for a moment, you can class it as a roguelike in a lot of ways, but it has the roguelite formula as you get to carry progression through each run. So, when on the hunt for a roguelite, if the threat and challenge of a pure roguelike seem daunting, check for what you can keep upon death.

There you have it, our roguelike vs roguelite guide. If you don’t want a challenge, if death is a one-and-done thing, and you just want to vibe along, check out our picks for the best relaxing games on Switch and mobile.