Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?

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OrangeRKN
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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by OrangeRKN » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:07 pm

ITSMILNER wrote:If I spent an hour+ on a game, only to then die and lose everything I had done in that time..... :evil:


The point is that you haven't lost everything you have done because you yourself have learnt and become better. The progress isn't in the game, it's in the player and their ability. You could argue for it being purer as a game in that sense, matching how people repeatedly play and improve at real-world games like chess, or at playing sports.

In videogames look at Overwatch. That has in-game progression in "levels" and unlocking cosmetic items, but that's really a false measure of progression in ability at the game. A really good player who has played the game for a long time can start playing on a new account and they won't be "starting again", because it's a multiplayer game and they will still retain all of their ability, and their ranking will quickly adjust to match that.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Balladeer » Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:21 pm

Ah, the crappy real-life version of progress! Yes give me shiny trinkets every time thank you. Many roguelikes do, to be fair!

OrangeRKN wrote:It's an exploration into the unknown, a novelty that can only be emulated with hand-crafted level design, an illusion that doesn't hold up to multiple playthroughs or discussion with friends.
...
That isn't me saying that the roguelike mechanics mastery approach is better than hand-crafted level design...

'Emulate'. 'Illusion'. What you say says one thing, the words you use say another. :P

The implication here is that exploration into the unknown is more valid when the world is procedural. I dispute this quite heavily. An explorer going back into the Amazon for the second time will likely find it quite the same as when he left it. Likewise a reader delving into a great book. 'Illusion' is nonsense: these are the unknown for the relevant party. It doesn't matter that somebody will have discovered them first: it's unknown for, really, the only person that matters when playing a one-player game.

There is of course the fact that the game will be the same on replays: I think that's a good thing, that feeling of somewhere recognisable on the return trip, the taming of the wilderness. But I can see the value of constantly having a new challenge, if you're the sort of person who will replay their games a lot. I... don't do that often.

Also when it comes to discussing games with friends, I'd much rather be able to discuss the ins and outs of levels than go, 'I had this one level where the floor opened up underneath me and...' Nobody else will be able to visualise that level (Twitter screenshots aside I s'pose): at best they'll draw up something similar from their own experiences. If I say, 'You know that one bit in Celeste in the hotel where there's a group of gribblies around a bit in the centre and you have to go around the gribblies twice, landing on the gribbly grass in different places each time, to get the strawberry...' then everyone who'll play it will recognise that bit (or I've communicated it badly - also possible). I prefer that to the procedural option, but again: personal preference.

It's all personal preference, apart from that bit about the unknown being an 'illusion' in handcrafted games which is Image .

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Saint of Killers » Fri Feb 08, 2019 6:24 pm

Loved The Binding of Isaac even though the description makes it sound impossible to like :lol: Dead Cells is equally brilliant but with the added bonus of going easier on the player and the fact there are a couple of really easy ways to cheat its system.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Parksey » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:50 am

I was going to come in here saying a lot about Roguelike, but Orange Racoon hit a lot of the points.

What I will say that just because something is designed to be procedurally generated, does not indicate an absence of design.

I think it was Mark Brown's Game Makers Toolkit bodies that said Sperlunky was "random levels designed by hand" or something like that (go check out his videos on that game, they are really good).

Sperlunky, which is probably the best 2D platformer of the last ten years in a lot of people's eyes, has randomised levels but they don't feel like you're just playing bits of mashed up code put together haphazardly by a computer.

Derek Yu designed it so the each level had a set of rules, each game square was created "procedurally" but not "randomly". Certain squares could never go together. There always had to be an exit at the bottom, accessible without power ups. There always had to be this feature in this stage somewhere, or another feature somewhere else (I'm explaining it badly, watch the video).

As a result, while the levels aren't crafted to have the peak and trough "flow" of a 2D Mario game for example, they aren't lifeless.

Indeed, because every level and enemy in Sperlunky is so dangerous, they are exciting as you're always navigating an area that can kill you at the slightest mistake. The excitement comes from overcoming dangers and getting to the exit.

Let's face it, in games like Mario, the stage are very curated. You often finish them by knowing what's coming, where the enemies are, where that tricky jump is or where the power ups are. It's dependable and you can always learn by repetition if you can't do it the first time.

Sperlunky isn't like that. Sure you can get lucky with a power up (though it's a lot less reliant on power ups and items than most over roguelike) but you're often just reliant on your skills, your cautiousness and your adaptability. You don't learn the levels, you learn how to play the game. I'd argue that it's one of the most skill-based platformer out there. You can only really best it by being good at it, albeit a run can be made slightly easier by a good run of items or well-placed damsels/burly dudes/dogs to save and nab extra health.

For some, people say Roguelikes are gimmicky or reliant on luck or grinding. That can be true, even of the good ones. I really liked Rogue Legacy, but that definitely had an element of grinding to it. I didn't mind that, as I liked the game's mix of Castlevania, Metriod, Dark Souls-style perma-death and RPG levelling up. For those who don't like the hard reset element of Roguelikes, you could at least feel like most rubs had a tangible gain in terms of future stats.

Though I would say even in games without these stats, like Sperlunky, each run has a slight gain anyway as your skills and knowledge improve. You learn that this enemy can kill you in this way, this trap is going to activate and do this, buying the jetpack before the ice caves is better than carrying a shotgun or whatever.

For me, the best Roguelikes are some of the purest games out there. You start from scratch each time, there's no slow, grinding trudge to the finish - and let's face it, for most games, there's a sense of "if I spend long enough just slowly moving forward, I'll eventually wear the game down and beat it". You're not playing a developer-designed rollercoaster, where the thrills and spills are always in the same place. You're not playing a game because you like the story or characters. You're not unlocking stuff through time or a grind, you're finding stuff out through seeing things in-game and experimenting ("Oh" I wonder what that Ankh does" in Sperlunky or putting the fire out in the first stage of Gungeon).

You're playing it because you like the mechanics - how the game plays, how satisfying the shooting or platforming is, how navigating the game's obstacles is satisfying, how finding the game's secrets is exciting. Because the stages aren't curated, that gameplay has to be strong. There are plenty of games where I play not because the moment-to-moment gameplay is astounding, but to see what's next, or to move the plot. Roguelikes are the opposite of that.

And they often reward skill more than most games like I said. I bought Binding of Isaac on the Switch earlier this week, having put some hours in to the Vita version a few years back. I "beat" it on my first go (not in any sense the real ending, but I beat the "final boss" and got the/an ending). I had no extra characters unlocked, I didn't have any of the secrets found or extra power ups in there. I managed to get through it as I have become somewhat decent at the game. My first ever go probably ended in death after 15 minutes or so. I'm now good at the game, so I don't need that perfect storm of power ups, a lucky roll for bosses and enemies or a beneficial RNG for items.

But the next game, if I'm not focusing or lazy, I might die on the first floor. Gungeon is typical of this, where I just make mistakes and strawberry float up.

For me, Roguelikes are perfect when I want to "play" a game. My favourite three - Sperlunky, Gungeon and Isaac - are often what I play when travelling on a long train or plane journey. They are shed of the trappings that make modern games often unsuitable for this (cut scenes, lack of save points, long missions etc) and are great to just pick up and play through a run or two. After that run is over, I can put them down for a bit, knowing that when I pick them up again I am at the exact same point as always. Not like going back to RDR after a month away and wondering what the Hell is going on.

That's not to say every Roguelike is this pure form of gaming goo. Some are gimmicky, some are a grind and some are a bit lifeless. But I do think that there's probably a Roguelike somewhere, in some genre that would appeal to most people. They might just not have found it yet.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Squinty » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:31 am

I generally don't like procedurally generated content, there's only a few games that get it right.

My mate recommended The Binding of Isaac, he actually bought it for me. Played it for a few hours and it didn't really click with me at all. I didn't get why everyone loved it.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Rightey » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:41 am

I absolutely love Everspace, but it's really more that it's a great game overall rather than that it's procedurally generated.

The gameplay is very straight forward, and the way they integrate you dying over and over into the plot was pretty neat. It could probably have had more depth as an rpg if they didn't have the whole constantly dying thing, but I still liked it for what it was.



I think the levels are also done fairly well. Although you can very quickly learn what to expect, each level normally has x number of bases or whatever, I at no point felt like I was just playing through a re-skinned level in the same way I constantly did when going into dungeons like in Elderscrolls games.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by MrBrown » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:50 am

Dead Cells and Everspace have already had shout outs. Want to add Rogue Legacy to the list. Brilliant wee game.

I think at the end of the day, if a game is fun then that’s all that really matters.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by more heat than light » Sat Feb 09, 2019 7:57 am

As with pretty much every game genre, if it's done well then a decent game will be had. If it's poorly implemented it'll be shite.

I don't think anyone's ever played Spelunky and complained that it's unbalanced or too random. It's a wonderful game.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Ad7 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 9:20 am

I've not played very many of them, but what I have I love.

Spelunky is one of my favourite games, the balance is so good, the learning through failure is such an addictive loop when it's done this well. I've never finished it, but I've had some great tense runs, made all the more exciting by knowing a death ends it, and you'll never see that run again. I loved having to take a key from early in the game all the way through to later in the game to unlock a shortcut, it was such a great challenge.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Clarkman » Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:29 am

Godzilla wrote:Hate the idea of the genre but.... Dead Cells though. It's just so good.


Pretty much this. It is the only way the genre can appeal to me. So much depth in the systems, with far more than aesthetic differences between the style options. Near infinite reward available for repeated efforts.

Can't see myself ever touching a twinstick shooter roguelike.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by HSH28 » Sat Feb 09, 2019 2:12 pm

I'm not a big fan especially of Roguelikes, however it really does depend completely on the individual games.

Spelunky is undoubtedly a classic, I think it helps that the levels are kept to a manageable size and the game itself isn't too long. There's just enough in the game to keep playthroughs interesting without overwhelming the player with too much to remember.

I do think its a fine balance, a roguelike which you can put hours into a single run and then lose all your progress in is just too much.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by OrangeRKN » Sun Feb 10, 2019 12:19 am

Balladeer wrote:Ah, the crappy real-life version of progress! Yes give me shiny trinkets every time thank you.


The "crappy" thing is being conditioned to only find activities rewarding when you get shiny trinkets for doing them. And I thought you didn't like trophies? ;)

Balladeer wrote:The implication here is that exploration into the unknown is more valid when the world is procedural. I dispute this quite heavily. An explorer going back into the Amazon for the second time will likely find it quite the same as when he left it. Likewise a reader delving into a great book. 'Illusion' is nonsense: these are the unknown for the relevant party. It doesn't matter that somebody will have discovered them first: it's unknown for, really, the only person that matters when playing a one-player game.


Who's more famous, Neil Armstrong or John Young? Both walked on the Moon, only one of them did it first. Explorers are drawn to the Amazon for the undiscovered. If it was only personal discovery driving them, then it would be a lot easier to just go to the Lake District. Being the first does matter, and that's partly why games like No Man's Sky use the idea of heading into the universally unknown in their advertising. Procedural generation can give that (although granted, this isn't really the appeal of roguelikes. Procedural generation in roguelikes is about mastery of mechanics, not exploration of worlds).

You sometimes have the same discovery of the universally unknown with hand-crafted games too, when first released. People will race to be the first to find all the secrets in a game, for example. Again, if it was only person discovery that mattered, there would be no need to race. But it happens.

Balladeer wrote:Also when it comes to discussing games with friends, I'd much rather be able to discuss the ins and outs of levels than go, 'I had this one level where the floor opened up underneath me and...' Nobody else will be able to visualise that level (Twitter screenshots aside I s'pose): at best they'll draw up something similar from their own experiences. If I say, 'You know that one bit in Celeste in the hotel where there's a group of gribblies around a bit in the centre and you have to go around the gribblies twice, landing on the gribbly grass in different places each time, to get the strawberry...' then everyone who'll play it will recognise that bit (or I've communicated it badly - also possible). I prefer that to the procedural option, but again: personal preference.


On the contrary, talking about differing experiences can be more interesting, and if everyone is familiar with the game and its elements then they will possess the ability to visualise exactly what you describe. If someone describes how they were 5-2 down with 20 second to go in Rocket League and brought it back for a win, it doesn't matter that I haven't had that exact same experience - I have played the game and know the rules it plays by so I can still understand the story perfectly. Sharing stories about differing and interesting runs is fun. Really though, talking about level design and swapping novel stories of runs at rougelikes are very different discussions.

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This was a really good post :toot:

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Balladeer » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:46 pm

OrangeRKN wrote:The "crappy" thing is being conditioned to only find activities rewarding when you get shiny trinkets for doing them. And I thought you didn't like trophies? ;)

It's almost the opposite: I know that if I played games that had trophies in I'd like them too much! See: Smash, where I completed all the challenge boards, even the ones I didn't care about and didn't find overly fun to clear. Trophies play into my reward-grabbing nature. I thought you were similar?

As for your first sentence: nope. That's a big difference between gaming and the real world, and most of the reason while I dabble in the former: instant pay-off. Maybe not always in the form of trinkets, but a trinket can definitely work.


I'll leave the rest of your post, I either ascribe value to different things than you (the third part) or [REDACTED] (second part). You're not going to get me liking roguelikes/lites either way; and while I'm swimming in games to play, I have no problem with that! The only one I really wish I could get on with is Dead Cells.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Lex-Man » Tue Feb 12, 2019 10:38 am

I really like a couple of them. Spelunky is one of my favorite games of all time also FTL is amazing. I think that Dead Cell is alright but I'm finding it a little boring now as it just feels very grindy.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Pedz » Wed Feb 13, 2019 9:48 pm

strawberry float is John Young?

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by Damian » Sat Feb 16, 2019 1:34 pm

Moggy wrote:
IAmTheSaladMan wrote:I don't usually like them but I had Rogue Legacy from PS+ and rather enjoyed it. I thought the whole genetic traits mechanic was pretty fun.


I think Rogue Legacy is the only Roguelike I have ever played. I enjoyed it for a bit but it got boring after a while.

I enjoyed that one too, but actual progress feels too slow. Even after many hours in it, I was still ill equipped to survive beyond the first area... I could of course just be rubbish at games.

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PostRe: Roguelikes/Roguelites - What do you think of this genre?
by rdvlln » Sun Feb 17, 2019 11:47 am

Probably my favourite genre in all honesty. Spelunky is an all-time Top 5 game for me, and I've played (and thoroughly enjoyed) Rogue Legacy, Risk of Rain, Downwell, Enter the Gungeon just off the top of my head. I find the incremental progress aspect of it to be a pretty satisfying challenge. It's fun to watch yourself gradually getting better at it over time.


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