Our tale begins with a legendary dungeon crawler called Rogue, a game that birthed a genre and forever altered the landscape of gaming. Released in 1980, Rogue dared its players to embark on a perilous quest to retrieve an amulet from the treacherous depths of a dungeon. But beware! The specter of permadeath loomed over every brave soul. If a character met an untimely demise, they were thrust back to the beginning, stripped of all their hard-earned gear and upgrades. Ah, the agony!
But there was a twist, dear adventurer. Those dungeons were no ordinary labyrinths. They were living, breathing entities, forever shifting and changing with each new playthrough. Procedural generation was the secret ingredient that made Rogue a truly unique experience. No two runs were ever the same, demanding adaptability and exploration from its intrepid players.
From Rogue's hallowed corridors, a new genre was born: the roguelike. Many games over the years have borrowed elements from its illustrious ancestor, creating a family of games that embody the roguelike spirit. In 2008, the Berlin Interpretation emerged from the depths, laying down eight sacred tenets that defined a true roguelike. Permadeath, turn-based gameplay, and procedural generation were just a few of the commandments that shaped this genre.
But wait, dear reader! Not all games that bear the roguelike mantle adhere strictly to these rules. Enter the roguelite, a genre that embraces some, but not all, of Rogue's design elements. These mischievous roguelites keep the heart of permadeath and the allure of procedurally generated maps, but sprinkle in their own unique flavors. They dance on the edge of tradition, introducing carry-over progression and permanent upgrades to tantalize players. Take Hades, for example, where death is but a temporary setback, and resources persist, whispering promises of power.
Now, in casual conversations, the term "roguelike" may summon images of the roguelites that dominate the modern gaming landscape. The Berlin Interpretation may reside in the shadows, known only to the most devout roguelike scholars. Pedantry aside, it behooves us to distinguish between these genres. True roguelikes offer a rare and distinct experience, a journey into the unknown, while roguelites add their own twists, inviting us to explore new dimensions of challenge and progression.
Within this captivating realm, a plethora of games and playstyles flourishes. Action-driven roguelites like Risk of Rain Returns deliver adrenaline-pumping thrills, while turn-based card battlers and strategic survival experiences beckon those seeking a different flavor. Procedural generation breathes life into each new run, ensuring that Hades and its kin never cease to surprise, beckoning us to test our mettle again and again.
So, dear reader, as we conclude our whimsical expedition through the realms of roguelikes and roguelites, let us embrace the wondrous diversity they offer. Whether you delve into the treacherous depths of a dungeon with permadeath looming or revel in the tantalizing possibilities of persistent progress, know that this genre dances to its own tune. It invites us to step into the unknown, to face challenges anew, and to discover the true depths of our gaming prowess.
Platform(s): PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 5
Released: September 17, 2020
Developer(s): Supergiant Games
Publisher(s): Supergiant Games
Genre(s): Action, RPG, Roguelike
How Long To Beat: 22 Hours