2022 saw not as many roguelikes compared to previous years, most likely thanks to the bullet heaven craze. Still, we got some interesting takes off of action roguelike design.
Revita tells a sorrow-filled story full of dashing, bullets, and a lot of grief. Exploring a mysterious tower and trying to break a cycle, you will fight different manifestations of grief on your way to the top. The different abilities and persistent unlocks do help to give the game variety. Since it was released, the developer is working on a big 2.0 version that greatly expands and changes the game for 2023, and we’ll see how much it will add to the game soon.
#2: Dome Keeper
Dome Keeper is another great example of how simple roguelike elements can greatly add to an experience. Your mission: dig into the procedurally generated earth of an alien planet to find relics, while making it back to your dome to defend it from waves of monsters. The music has this Zen vibe to it as you dig down to create tunnels to essential resources. Each one of the game’s starting options radically changes your strategy for that run. The game has been updated with new content and there is more planned for 2023.
#1: Cavity Busters
Considering as one of my favorite action roguelikes of all time is The Binding of Isaac, it should come as to no surprise that another “grosspunk” styled game would take a favorite with Cavity Busters. Featuring far more robust and challenging gameplay, what I really loved about the game is the level of variance that can occur run-by-run thanks to the ever-present threat of diseases. Because the game takes place in a human body, diseases can show up that you must either take with their negatives or leave them to make the entire run harder. Cure a disease, and you keep the benefit while the enemies suffer the downsides.
This is not the best roguelike for newcomers, but it is one if you’re looking for a brand-new take that is going to test your skills.