The Best Indie Roguelikes – Green Man Gaming Blog

The Best Indie Roguelikes

The best roguelikes can offer you near-infinite gameplay with loads of chances for awesome builds, fun with friends, and some of the coolest mechanics in gaming. With Risk of Rain Returns having just come out, which is a remaster of one of the best indie roguelikes ever made, we thought it would be fun to make a list of the best roguelikes for people to jump into. 

Roguelikes as a genre are interesting, because while it does define the whole live, die, repeat aspect of the gameplay, the actual things you’ll be doing in each game can be wildly different. As such, our list of the best roguelikes is one of the most varied on the Green Man Gaming blog, and we’re pretty proud of it. So, spend that currency to get some upgrades, and let’s go ahead and start a new run. 


Hades remains perhaps the best roguelike ever-made, and maybe the most powerful one too. That’s a weird sentiment, but bear with us. Hades was one of the first and best indie roguelikes to have not just a story, but one that continued through every playthrough over dozens of hours, and even includes light romance. 

Plus, the voice acting and music are both incredible, and perhaps most importantly, it plays like a dream. Hades is nigh-on perfect in every capacity, and the only way we see it being dethroned is when the second one comes out at some point. That’s not a slight on any of the other games on this list; it’s just that good!

Dead Cells

Dead Cells takes Metroidvanias and puts them into a roguelike format. In fact, it does it so well that there’s even actual Castlevania DLC that has you fighting off Dracula and a few other big bads along the way. 

This is a fast-paced side-scrolling platformer where you get absurd weapons, different outfits, and a steady dose of slapstick humour as you adventure around. You can unlock new permanent abilities as you play that’ll help you explore new areas, and it’s just very good all around. 

Vampire Survivors

Vampire Survivors is free on mobile phones, and if you’ve not already downloaded it and let it turn every five-minute toilet break into a half-hour-long retreat, then now is the time to do so. Also, it’s such a popular game that it basically spawned a new sub-genre. 

While most games have you attacking on your own, Vampire Survivors does away with that hassle. You run around trying to avoid enemies and their attacks, and as you kill them and gain experience, you get new weapons and passives and can level them up and evolve them until you’re just a tornado of death and destruction. There are loads of great updates and DLC to enjoy too. 

Monster Train 

While many view Slay the Spire as the best example of a deckbuilding roguelike, we’re not many, we’re GMG, and we’re in charge of this list. Monster Train still involves drafting cards and spells and hoping for the best, but you define your class by mixing races of demons together as a pair. 

Once you’ve done that, you have to defend a train with your chosen creatures and cards, and each mix has a couple of different strategies to play with. Throw in the ability to upgrade monsters, plenty of challenging higher difficulty levels, and the ability to speed up gameplay, and you’ve got a winner. 

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Streets of Rogue 

Streets of Rogue is a top-down game where you control one of multiple different characters and try to overthrow the corrupt mayor. That makes it sound like an action game, but it’s not. Well, not unless you really want it to be. 

Instead, Streets of Rogue is an immersive sim which you can play in a lot of different ways. You can be violent, sure, but you can also play as a comedian who makes jokes to get people to like them, or a hacker who just hacks everything to their advantage. It’s also co-op, and one of the coolest and best indie roguelikes out there. 

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30XX - best indie roguelikes

30XX is a Mega Man roguelike. That’s going to have sold a big old section of people on the game already, and they’re in for a treat. 30XX has two characters, one ranged, and one melee, and they each gain new abilities as they beat bosses. 

The result is a game that can feel completely different, not only depending on which order you end up playing the levels in, but also which character you’re playing. When you throw in co-op, all the random items, permanent upgrades, the incredible music, and the art, you’ve got an amazing game. Also, you can turn off the roguelike stuff if you want a purer Mega Man feel. 

Risk of Rain series
risk of rain returns - best indie roguelikes

The original Risk of Rain is an amazing side-scrolling roguelike and one of the best indie roguelikes you can play. The jump to 3D in the second one is legitimately as impressive as Mario 64 was, at least in our humble opinion. These games let you become almighty as you play, have amazing co-op experiences, and have some very cool character designs. 

Risk of Rain Returns is an interesting proposition as a return to the original game but with some quality-of-life improvements and new characters. Basically, the series is one of the best collections of roguelikes going, and there are also some very cool mods for the second game that let you play as Goku. 

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