Thanks to sales and developer press keys, I’ve played a lot of rogue-like and rogue-light designed titles this year. And outside of a few standouts (Dead Cells, Slay the Spire), I keep finding myself returning to the Binding of Isaac. BOI is not the most complicated rogue-like on the market, but what it does well is that secret sauce that I feel a lot of rogue-like designers are not figuring out.
Persistent systems have become an effective way of smoothing out the difficulty curves of rogue-likes, and provide replayability and progression to many video games. Despite their popularity, there are ways to cause the player to lose interest in replaying a game.