Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What should I play first?

Stone Soup, DoomRL, or Brogue. These have improved interfaces, comparatively transparent mechanics, and tend to discourage scumming.


The most popular roguelike in active development, Crawl's success stems from a design philosophy supporting clarity, consistency, and accessibility. Thanks to an improved interface, exploration improvements, and a tutorial mode, Crawl is more accessible than most while retaining its tactical and strategic depth, and substantial differentiation between race/class/god combinations allows for true variety. Dungeon levels are persistent, like Nethack, but huge and scrolling, like Angband. In short, this is probably the link you came here for.

Evolving from Hack, Nethack is Rogue's most direct descendent and the rogue by which virtually all others are judged. Nethack's slogan is "The Dev Team thinks of everything," and in effect, every item and player action has clever, sometimes devious uses depending on context, leading to extensive reliance on spoilers and what some have termed "feature-itis". "-Hack" games are known for persistent, single-screen levels and shops that exist within the game world. Development on the main branch has stalled and possibly ended.

*Note that nethack was last updated in 2003. Nitrohack is an in-developement fork that fixes some bugs and has made several GUI changes that make the game experience much more enjoyable while still being true to the original game. Get the latest version here:

Moria's descendent, the other pillar of the roguelike family tree, and the classic that inspired the Blizzard game "Diablo". Borrows more liberally from Lord of the Rings, as evidenced by the name. "Band" games, in contrast to "-Hack" games, are known for huge scrolling levels that disappear after you leave, frequently begin on a "town level", and feature shops that break to a menu screen. Coupled with more items typically having only one obvious use, -Band games tend to be longer and grindier, but less spoiler-reliant than Nethack variants. Angband is the most frequently modded roguelike. Development has been resurrected.

Featuring the T-Engine, this Angband-based roguelike has unlockable content and support for player created modules. Unusually bloated and slow compared to its lean predecessors and contemporaries. Combat is based on cooldowns not unlike popular MMORPGs. In active development, Crawl vs ToME comparisons continue the Nethack vs Angband legacy.

A deeply complex roguelike featuring a pregenerated world map, quest tree, multiple endings, and unparalleled character generation system. Features single-screen, persistent levels like Nethack, but also contains a surface world and towns ala Omega. ADOM is notorious among the major roguelikes for never having the source code released, and ADOM 2 is being developed with a controversial "crowd funding" system.


A design philosophy influenced by Stone Soup and what the original Rogue might look like if it was still being developed today-- simple yet elegant, and very, very cruel. No tiles, but ASCII is unmatched in clarity and beauty. Not large enough to be considered a "major" roguelike, but arguably the better for it.

It's DOOM! Guns, health kits, levers, more guns & a new graphical update so there's lot's & lot's of blood! All as a turn-based roguelike!

Features deep character system and interaction mechanics based on DnD with some significant tweaks. Strives for high levels of depth and complexity akin to PnP, but held back by slow development and bug issues.

Where Angband nods to Tolkien, this variant explicitly exists in Middle Earth, with strong emphasis on tactical combat and discovery.

The most notoriously brutal roguelike, featuring a fiendish sense of humor. Strictly for masochists.

Post apocalyptic survival game with detailed inventory and combat systems and surprisingly interesting/expansive crafting.


The original roguelike! Rogue's use of ASCII characters allowed for true screen orientation in a CRPG, making it a landmark in gaming history and paving the way for virtually every video game "RPG" since.


The Rogue spin-off that would eventually become Nethack, so it plays like a sophisticated version of the former or a very crude version of the latter. An important benchmark in the genre's development.

The first roguelike with a "town" level, but not the obvious predecessor to Angband (that would be Moria). Level generation is more mazelike, but does not yet scroll.


The developers of this project re-coded the roguelike "Larn" from scratch and the result is a more stable and aesthetically pleasing version of a classic.

The predecessor to Angband and the historical equivalent to Hack. Map scrolls, but only when character approaches the screen's edge.


A somewhat obscure but very in-depth roguelike which features a world map, a questing system, and a good sense of humor. While clearly an influence on ADOM, differs from Hack and Moria in that it remains unique and therefore has appeal beyond historical curiosity. In other words, play this one.

The original version of Crawl as designed by Linley Henzell. More generic, grindy, and outright brutal, it may feel somewhat primitive compared to Stone Soup, but still holds its own against Nethack and Angband.


A coffee-break roguelike in which you attempt to make your way through a dungeon while eating every mushroom in sight

A stealth based coffee-break roguelike.Collect treasure, rescue the princess, and try to avoid combat when possible by staying out of the light.

Based on the movie aliens, this coffee-break roguelike is action packed and features sound effects

A coffee-break roguelike where you are an old veteran adventurer who starts out very powerful but becomes weaker as you gain experience.

This coffee-break roguelike is a fantasy survival game of tactical bloodshed, loosely based on Kentaro Miura's Berserk manga.

Castlevania lovingly made into a roguelike. Music, classes, monsters & more!

If you are a fan of chess, than this coffee-break roguelike is for you!

Featuring solid gameplay, this is a combat-oriented roguelike game that takes place in a cold fantasy world.

1/2- MECHAS!

(To get GH1 to run properly download and unzip it to the same directory as arena.exe)

"It is pitch black. You are likely to eat someone..."This coffee-break roguelike is stealth based, incorperating light sources and a FoV for NPCs

A very unique roguelike in the sense that it gives you control over a party of 4 adventurers rather than the traditional solo dungeon diving

Carefully select what weapons to use to cut off all the hydra's heads.Basic math skills are needed to get anywhere in this game.

A simple but fairly difficult roguelike in the vein of Nethack. Great for beginners to the genre, and also available on the NDS,GBA and PSP.

Zombie themed RL where the goal is survival.


Nethack variants adding classes, races, items, spells, techniques, creatures, and dungeon branches. Some consider these to succeed Nethack in the way that Nethack succeeded Hack.

This project is Nethack with some modified code to improve game balance, making it easier in the early game and harder in the end game

This coffee-break roguelike has a unique combat system(attacks never miss) and a nice dungeon generation system

Based on the hit video-game franchise "Zelda"


The Mystery Dungeon series.

Essentially includes some of the best roguelikes ever made, and is also the biggest roguelike series ever made.


Among one of the best Roguelikes ever made.

Tons of gear and base customization in this one.

: 1/2

Lots of resource management in this one, and an actual coherent story if you by any chance were to like it.

It's a disgrace to Azure Dreams, but I suppose it's not really all that bad.

Get the CHRONICLE edition that includes all the past releases, then get the latest game that was released last week.

A series of Mystery Dungeon inspired games with a Touhou skin.

Now this game might not be flashy, but it's an old classic.


- Detailed, huge RL with a JRPG theme.

(note: DF has its own general): Besides the excellent mining & building main game there is an adventure mode.

- Flash based platformer style of RL, still being dev'd, so new features always being added.

- This is not actually a roguelike, but instead it is a program that allows you to give 2d or 3d graphics to a console based roguelike.

For a more complete list of roguelikes, look
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