What is the difference between a Roguelike and a Roguelite?
The definition of a rogue-like differs depending on who is answers the question. Some define them as offering an ultra-challenging gaming experience, where once defeated the game ends. A rogue-lite offers a less punishing experience. One where each defeat brings the possibility to unlock items, skills and other benefits that provide assistance in future runs.
Without getting into a heated discussion I hope to set out a baseline to better outline the difference. At least for the purposes of our blog. In my eyes Rogue-likes were born from the ashes of Rogue (1980). Therefore I would expect to see games like Tales of Maj’eyal, ADOM, Tangledeep and Stoneshard in this group. There are more of course, which would nowadays be defined as Traditional Rogue-likes.
The current trend points to ROGUE-LIKES as games that offer a tough gaming experience. One that pushes the player to start a new game once it is over. Thus unlocking new in-game content at the same time. My list contains all those turn-based games but I just changed the tag with Rogue-lites.
In a previous article dedicated to Rogue–lites I declared that additional lists would become available. Below is the next list of ten.
Top 10 Best Indie, Turn-Based Rogue-lites to play in 2022 – Part II
We begin with the second part of carry-over progression games that we recently tried. The ones that stood out and we would recommend. Many of these titles provide a demo, which is a blessing.
Don’t forget that Thursdays are the day we dedicate to Rogue-lites. At 7.30 am CET you can find us playing live on Twitch.
Topping the list of unexpectedly compelling games is Peglin, an RPG that uses a Peggle-like Pachinko mechanic for combat. This fairly unique mechanic is used to activate powerful abilities for your adorable pixelated Peglin. A necessary activity to defeat the enemies that stand in your way. To achieve it simply requires the breaking of pegs and barriers on the Pachinko board.
If you’re looking for something a little different, Peglin offers a fun twist on the rogue-lite formula. It remains in early access, but fortunately a free demo is available to try, before committing to a purchase.
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Oaken‘s lovely character designs and lush backgrounds are an invitation into this world of nature-borne spirits. Here you will lead your chosen hero on a journey to preserve or destroy the Great Oak. A mighty, living tree that is slowly succumbing to corruption. The player will fight a series of small-scale tactical battles that take place in tight quarters. Hopefully achieving the victories necessary to save it.
Oaken has smart combat that requires careful movement and resource management. Every screen from its menus to its battlefields are a treat for the eyes. The game is expected to be in Early Access for the remainder of 2022. Yet it already provides plenty of fun even in its current state. If you’re on the fence, you can always try the demo!
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With Shotgun King: The Final Checkmate receiving a lot of buzz in the Indiesphere right now, developer j4nw’s Pawnbarian is another chess-based game that deserves some attention. Players control a single, mighty Pawnbarian who can move like any chess piece provided they have the appropriate card. The Pawnbarian also has multiple hit points, allowing them to resist a limited number of enemy attacks.
The goal of each floor is to destroy all your enemies, capturing them as you would any other chess piece. With close quarters and unexpected moves, this can be a real challenge! Pawnbarian and Shotgun King are both great, low-cost additions to your library, or a fantastic gift for the chess enthusiast.
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Sea Horizon from 45 Studios offers a level of exploration that isn’t usually seen in rogue-lites. It is a game of mostly one-off journeys that presents only a handful of choices each step of the way. Sea Horizon on the other hand lets you undertake a voyage across a hex-based ocean. Islands and curiosities abound, giving you plenty of opportunities to find loot and danger.
4X fans who love the early game and its infinite possibilities should enjoy Sea Horizon. Especially since a single play-through is much shorter than in that storied genre. As with many of the other games on this list, a demo is available. Therefore there is nothing to lose in giving it a try.
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Defend the Rook
Despite its name, Defend The Rook is not chess-based. Instead, it’s an exciting fusion of tower defense and grid-based combat. Players combine smart tower placement with powerful hero abilities. Their aim to fend off the massive waves of enemies bent on conquering the board.
Like many of the games published by Goblinz, this exciting title from One Up Plus has great visuals. A visible treat across both its gameplay and cutscenes. Defend The Rook is also released in its full version, offering a more complete experience than titles in Early Access.
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Klei’s Griftlands, at first feels like a sci-fi Slay The Spire. It offers more character development and storytelling than your average deck-building rogue-lite. Each of the three playable characters has their own campaign story, brought to life with top-notch character designs and animations.
Griftlands also shakes things up by making the player compete on a social battlefield, as well as the physical one. Negotiation encounters play similarly to combat, but with different cards and mechanics available. The aim here to attempt to weaken your opponent’s resolve and get what you want out of them. Best of all, it has a very fair price tag of only 20 USD.
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Trials of Fire
Trials Of Fire stands out in the growing field of tactical deck-builders. This is in thanks to its deep character customization and epic battlefield animations. If you enjoyed Spelldrifter you’ll be right at home in Trials Of Fire‘s three-hero battles. Its rogue-lite nature offers quicker campaigns with less grinding, as well.
Trials Of Fire also offers an exploration element, with the party journeying across a world map between encounters. It even has a rat with a crossbow – who can say no to a rat with a crossbow?
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Ring of Pain
If the title Ring Of Pain gives you the sense that this is a game where you die a lot, you’re one hundred percent correct. This creepy rogue-lite challenges players to endure multiple floors of a ring-like dungeon of cards. How you interact with the nearest cards affects other cards in the ring. Only once every card in the ring has been resolved (for good or ill), can you move to the next floor.
Ring Of Pain offers tough choices and plenty of challenge. Players who like the feeling of overcoming insurmountable challenges will have a good reason to play this game. At least as long as they can handle the constant, unblinking gaze of their character’s unsettling owl companion.
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It’s quite clear that Mixed Realms have decided to go all-in with the creation of Gordian Quest. An obvious effect of being the sort of game they have clearly always dreamed of playing. It’s been in early access for two years and sports top-notch visuals and several game modes centered on card-based battles.
Gordian Quest has a ton of replayability even when compared to other rogue-lites, with carryover rewards and multiple difficulty levels. There’s even a PvP mode, letting players who have a competitive streak duke it out with their best builds.
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Solo developer ATOM VOID has made an ambitious card battler. One that puts players in command of a squad of mercenaries fighting endless hordes of zombies. Every action the player takes is animated in the style of a third-person shooter. This gives the game a perspective unlike any other in the genre.
Dead Grid was released in early access this March and is expected to have a full launch in 2023. It’s already clear that the developer has big plans for their game. For our part we’re excited to see how it grows over the coming year.
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