5 Addicting Roguelikes For The Nintendo Switch
The roguelike is a genre of video game that tends to include elements of randomly generated layouts, item collection, and permanent death with an external progression system. Many of these games reward practice, persistence, and sometimes a healthy dose of luck. Here are 5 Switch Roguelikes that are worth your time.
1. Risk of Rain 2.
Developed by Hopoo Games, our first Switch Roguelike is the only fully 3D game on this list. In terms of gameplay, Risk of Rain 2 is a Third-person shooter that rewards mobility as much as it rewards damage. In terms of story, you are one of several explorers sent to the mysterious, extremely hostile planet of Petrichor V. From the moment your drop pod hits the planet, your task is simple. Kill and loot everything as fast as possible, and find a way to get off this nightmarish menagerie of a world. Playing fast is important, because the game’s difficulty is tied to an in-game timer. This forces an interesting dilemma of risk versus reward. You find yourself asking if spending extra time looting is worth the reward. The game features a wonderful cel-shaded art style, a great variety of items, and numerous modifiers to switch up your gameplay experience. It also taught me that if you have enough crowbars, and explosives even a god can fall to your hand. It also has multiplayer.
2. Skul: The Hero Slayer.
Our second Switch Roguelike is a hidden gem of a game created by the Korean dev team SouthPAW games. The game is a 2d action-platformer in which you take on the role of Skul, the smallest skeleton in the Demon King’s army. Your mission, fight your way through the evil human armies that attacked your home, rescue your captured monster friends, and slay the Humans’ champion, The First Hero. Along the way you will gather various artifacts to empower yourself, but the main gimmick is the skull-swapping mechanic. Skul, as his name would suggest, is a skeleton, and he can swap out his own skull for those of more powerful beings, assuming their appearance and abilities. You can carry two skulls at a time, and this gives the game a lot of build variety. The game play is quick and responsive, the difficulty curve is fair most of the time, and the progression elements ensure that even when you’re defeated, you begin your next attempt better prepared. I also enjoy the fact that it’s the inverse of a standard fantasy adventure story.
Our third Switch Roguelike is a top-down, isometric action game that can only be described as godlike. In Hades you play as the son of Hades and must fight your way through Hades so you can defeat Hades and escape Hades. If you found that confusing, let me explain. The game takes place in a version of Greek Mythology, and our protagonist Zagreus is the son of Hades, god of the underworld. He wants to visit his family on Olympus, but his father will not let him. So, like any good rebellious child, he grabs a weapon and tries to do it anyway. Hades was developed by the massively talented and acclaimed Supergiant games, the studio behind such gems as Bastion and Transistor. The art and music of the game are absolutely gorgeous, and it’s clear how much work the devs put into every aspect of the game. There’s also a fairly moving story that is told as you unlock new items and abilities, and the various weapons and divine boons offer an immense variety in terms of playstyle. I also have a soft spot for the little interactions between characters, as it shows the Olympians as the big, horribly dysfunctional family that they are.
4. Dead Cells.
At number four on our list of Switch Roguelikes, we have one of the highest-profile ones. Some would argue that Motion Twin’s masterpiece Dead Cells is a modern classic. Despite being almost 5 years old at time of writing, Dead Cells has received relatively consistent content updates for most of its lifespan, and released its most recent paid DLC Return to Castlevania. In terms of gameplay, the game combines roguelike and metroidvania elements that reward mastery of the levels as much as they reward combat skill. In Dead Dells, you play as a headless man possessed by a weird blob thing, and you must explore the afflicted remains of the Island you find yourself on. The island is afflicted by a mysterious Malaise, and perhaps you can do something about it. The game also has various cameo and crossover weapons that reference other indie games and roguelikes, including ones found on this list. I love this game, and will be getting the new DLC very soon. The island is your playground, so grab your frying-pan-nunchucks and show the monsters who’s boss (yes, that’s an actual weapon in the game. It’s great).
5. Enter the Gungeon.
For our final switch roguelike, we have Devolver Digital’s pun-filled bullet heaven: Enter The Gungeon. In this game you play as one of several adventurers who come from throughout the galaxy to the dreadful fortress known as the Gungeon. These “gungeoneers” all have something in their past that they wish to undo, and to that end they seek the ultimate treasure of the gungeon: the Gun That Can Kill The Past. To find this legendary weapon, they must fight their way through an unending barrage of gun and bullet-themed enemies, puns, and pop culture references. This top-down shooter has many weapons ranging from the humble Peashooter (it literally shoots peas), to the VertibraeK-47 (an AK made of bones), to the Hexagun (basically a magic staff with a rifle grip that turns enemies into chickens). The music, pixel art, and gameplay compliment the game’s style and humor perfectly, creating a hilarious and irreverent experience with immense variety. The references aren’t just limited to pop culture and video games, as it’s clear that the devs are also Avid players of Tabletop Games. If you like any or all of these aspects, maybe you too, should Enter the Gungeon.