What are roguelite games?

Roguelite or roguelike-like is a genre of game that avoids strict elements of traditional roguelike games such as permadeath or being turn-based. 

Roguelike games were borne in the era of early computers where game development had more limitations. However, with the development of new gaming systems, better consumer hardware and more accessible game development tools, developers are exploring mash ups of different game elements to present new experiences. 

Hence the repertoire of roguelite games keeps growing.

Roguelike vs Roguelite: the key difference

The main difference between Roguelike and Roguelite games is whether the game follows strict rules to what makes a roguelike game.

As mentioned in our definition of Roguelike games, these games have 7 defining elements:

  1. Randomly generated environment
  2. Puzzle like gameplay with limited resources
  3. Permadeath
  4. Grid-based and Turn-based mechanisms
  5. Non-modal
  6. Exploration and Discovery
  7. Battling is a key element

Roguelite games on the other hand, may not have all the elements above. In order to create new experiences, developers have to balance between incorporating strict roguelike elements against having the flexibility to experiment with features beyond the list. 

Roguelite games tend to incorporate selected elements from traditional roguelike games like permadeath and resource management while sacrificing on features such as having random generation.

That said, the distinction between roguelike and roguelite games remains fuzzy. For example, the popular dungeon crawl game, Hades is described as both roguelike and roguelite depending on who the writer of the review is.

Several game publications may even lump both Roguelike and Roguelite games in the same category.

Some popular Roguelite games are:

  • Shovel Knight
  • Hades
  • Streets of Rogue

Author’s Opinion
Good roguelites are the perfect way to spend pockets of time. Compared to mindlessly scrolling on social media, a quick Roguelite run always feels more rewarding.

Most would fall under Roguelite…

Given the strict rules of Roguelike games, it’s not surprising that newer games would tend to fall under the Roguelite category.

Ultimately, the label of Roguelike and Roguelite serves to give us an idea of what to expect in the game. Instead of debating the category of the game, it’s more important to enjoy the game itself. 


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