Top 25 best roguelikes on iPhone and iPad

1

FTL: Faster Than Light

Developer: Subset Games

Publisher: Subset Games

Genre: Strategy


Warping between unknown star systems, striving to keep ahead of a vast enemy armada and engaging in frequent tactical ship-to-ship battles, playing FTL is an exercise in making split-second tough decisions. If there’s a more compelling set-up for a mobile roguelike, we haven’t seen it.

2

Downwell

Developer: Moppin

Genre: Action, Platform

Downwell

Downwell practically buzzes with kinetic energy, whether you’re bouncing on the head of a frog, blasting through layers of rock with your gunboots, or ducking into time bubble to buy some weapon upgrades. A truly thrilling roguelike.

3

Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy is a platformer of uncommon replayability, thanks to its procedurally generated levels and an ingenious character progression system. Each successive generation of your character’s family steps up to the plate with their own strengths and (often hilarious) quirks.

4

Dead Cells

Developer: Motion Twin

Genre: Action, Adventure

Dead Cells

Dead Cells provides one of the slickest, most satisfying action-platformer experiences on mobile. Run, leap and dodge through randomised levels, picking up a deadly range of swords, shields, projectile weapons, automated turrets and magical attacks. Then die and do it all again – but a little differently.

5

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (iOS)

Publisher: Edmund McMillen and Florian Himsl

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

One of the most enduringly popular roguelikes of recent times, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth plays like an unholy mash-up of Robotron and Zelda. And we do mean unholy – Edmund McMillen’s labour of love frequently dips into the profane as you shoot and wretch your way through its grim random levels.

6

Immortal Rogue

Immortal Rogue

This stunning roguelike hack and slasher is so slick, you can play it with one hand. It’s far from brainless or shallow, though. Each fearsome enemy requires a different approach, while there are plenty of decisions to be made with your warrior’s progression.

7

Wayward Souls

Developer: RocketCat Games

Publisher: RocketCat Games

Genre: Action, RPG

Wayward Souls (formerly Wayward Saga)

Imagine if someone made A Link to the Past into a combat-heavy roguelike, with each successive dungeon a punishing assault course of random design and brutal enemies. That’s Wayward Souls, and it rocks. Still.

8

Darkest Dungeon

Developer: Red Hook Studios

Genre: RPG

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon punishing to play in the best possible way, from its dour Lovecraftian lore to its brutal side-on turn-based battles. It’s a game where your entire team will be wiped out, seemingly at the whim of a malevolent god – and you’ll still go back for more.

9

Sunless Sea

Publisher: Failbetter Games

Genre: Adventure, Strategy

Sunless Sea

Suitably enough, Sunless Sea is a game you immerse yourself in. Exploring a vast underground sea in a steampunk ship, you’ll embark on a beautifully written narrative adventure while taking part in tense real time naval battles.

10

Crypt of the NecroDancer

Crypt of the NecroDancer

A brilliantly bizarre roguelike dungeon crawler that replaces the usual tactical turn-based battles with a rhythmic music-based system. Keep to the beat to vanquish those skeletons and dragons. Bonkers.

11

Don’t Starve

Developer: Klei Entertainment

Genre: Adventure, Hardcore

Don't Starve

A brutal survival game with a distinctively spindly comic book aesthetic. Guide Wilson through a hazardous alternate world, crafting your way to some form of temporary safety.

12

868-Hack

Developer: Smestorp

Publisher: Smestorp

Genre: RPG

868-Hack

A compact roguelike dungeon crawler with an abstract retro visual style and an unapologetically sharp edge. Featuring a tantalising risk-reward balance and requiring an uncommon level of focus, it’s quite the experience.

13

Invisible, Inc.

Publisher: Klei Entertainment

Genre: Stealth, Strategy

Invisible, Inc.

Invisible, Inc’s slick art style and polished turn-based stealth battles give the impression of a highly sculpted experience. But its random level layouts and brutal fail state reveal a wicked roguelike edge.

14

Death Road to Canada

Developer: Madgarden

Publisher: RocketCat Games

Genre: Action, Adventure, RPG

Death Road to Canada

Zombies have infected every gaming genre known to man, so a zombie roguelike survival action RPG was always on the cards. That’s Death Road to Canada in a slightly unwieldy nutshell. It’s awesome.

15

Ending

Publisher: RobotAcid

Genre: Puzzle, RPG

Ending

Ending looks so stripped back and retro, it seems to come from the same era as Rogue. Roguelike indeed. It actually plays like a thoroughly modern roguelike puzzler, however.

16

Cultist Simulator

Publisher: Weather Factory

Genre: Card/board game, Strategy

Cultist Simulator

Cultist Simulator is described as a roguelike narrative card game, but that doesn’t adequately prepare you for the sheer freewheeling possibilities of this cosmic game of Poker. Draw cards, explore arcane rites – then die and try it all again.

17

Hoplite

Developer: Magma Fortress

Publisher: Magma Fortress

Genre: RPG, Strategy

Hoplite

Hoplite is the roguelike stripped down to its basics, and we love it for that. Guide your Spartan hero through successive randomly generated grid-like levels, waging snappy turn-based warfare on your foes.

18

Sproggiwood

Developer: Freehold Games

Publisher: Freehold Games

Genre: RPG

Sproggiwood

Sproggiwood is a roguelike dungeon crawler in a similar vein to Desktop Dungeons. It sets itself apart with an altogether quirkier and more appealing Finnish fairytale aesthetic.

19

Void Tyrant

Void Tyrant

Void Tyrant is a colourful deck building game build on solid roguelike foundations. At the heart of its is a game of interstellar Blackjack, as you aim to draw higher than your space alien foes without going bust.

20

Steredenn

Publisher: Pixelnest Studio

Genre: Arcade, Shooter

Steredenn

Few genres are as stuck in their ways as the 2D shmup, but Steredenn gives things a shake up with a little roguelike magic. Random levels and permadeath, alongside an inspired weapon customisation, really give the action a jolt.

21

Black Paradox

Black Paradox

Just like Steredenn, Black Paradox juices up the classic 2D shooter with the judicious application of roguelike elements. It’s got a bullet hell vibe, but with a little extra bite.

22

Desktop Dungeons

Developer: QCF Design

Publisher: QCF Design

Genre: RPG

Desktop Dungeons

Roguelike dungeon crawlers have flooded the mobile RPG space in recent years, and this PC conversion is one of the meatier examples, thanks to an overarching kingdom-building element.

23

Road Not Taken

Developer: Spry Fox

Genre: Puzzle

Road Not Taken

Road Not Taken splices roguelike elements into the tile-sliding puzzler, and the results are brilliant. Add into the mix a gorgeous cartoon art style and a surprisingly emotive story, and you have one of the most unique roguelikes on this list.

24

Heroes of Loot 2

Publisher: OrangePixel

Genre: Action, Shooter

Heroes of Loot 2

Heroes of Loot 2 does away with the dual-stick shooter controls of the original, leaning more heavily towards the dungeon crawling aspect of its roguelike heritage. It remains a frantic arcade blast, though, with a neat character-swapping mechanic to liven things up.

25

Trigger Heroes

Publisher: Lucky Kat Studios

Trigger Heroes

Trigger Heroes borrows more than a colourful aesthetic and top-down gunplay from console roguelike Nuclear Throne. But it’s an accomplished tribute, all the same, with suitably streamlined mobile-friendly controls.

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