Cellar Door shares favorite PlayStation roguelites to mark the occasion of its sequel coming to PS5 and PS4.
Rogue Legacy 2 is landing on both the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 on June 20. What’s more, it will be launching straight into the PlayStation Plus Game Catalog, so Extra and Premium members can download it straightaway and jump in! We’re going all-out by releasing RL2 with full cross-buy support for the PS4 to PS5. The game also includes the latest free content updates, the Fabled Heroes and the Swan Song, which are packed with additional challenges and exciting new game modes.
The original Rogue Legacy was released nearly a decade ago, and it’s incredible to think back on how it helped popularize roguelites on PlayStation. The community’s support for our little indie dream was nothing short of impossible. We were expecting a few hundred thousand players at best, but somehow ended up with more that 3.5 million across all PlayStation platforms. To say we were overwhelmed is an understatement.
With the upcoming aunch of Rogue Legacy 2 we’re excited to see if history will repeat itself. And to celebrate, Cellar Door Games is taking a look at some of our favourite roguelikes/lites (that aren’t Rogue Legacy) on PlayStation, and I’m giving some personal insight on what made them so great.
Slay the Spire
What it is: A deckbuilding roguelike where you slowly build your own deck as you ascend a tower.
What We Liked: One of the first deckbuilding roguelikes that truly capitalized on the “one more run” addiction. You can tell that the developers had a deep understanding of deck-building mechanics because of how well the cards synergize with one another. The balance and tempo throughout every run is also impeccable, both on the micro (enemy encounter length) and macro scale (time it takes to curate your final deck).
Aside from being incredibly solid and consistently fun, the map progression system is one of those things that had a real impact on the roguelike genre as a whole. Since the release of Slay the Spire, the ‘tower path’ progress format has been copied endlessly, because it’s just ridiculously elegant and simple.
Crypt of the Necrodancer
What it is: A dungeon-crawling roguelite where you move to the beat.
What We Liked: This is just an all-around fantastic rhythm-based roguelite. It’s fun, it’s crazy unique, and it’s incredibly catchy. But one of the coolest things it does is completely invisible to the player. If you slowly drift off-beat, the game will subtly change the tempo of the music in order to get you back on track. That level of player consideration isn’t seen in enough games these days.
It’s really easy to tell a game what you want it to do. If I press jump, I expect my character to jump. But what is ‘correct’ might not always be ‘fun’, because in reality nobody can play a game perfectly. Sometimes you might press the jump button a frame too late, and to compensate you need an input grace period when falling off a ledge, ubiquitously known as coyote time. Making a game feel good requires recognizing and accommodating player intent. Crypt of the Necrodancer understood this and implemented very creative ways to make it as enjoyable as possible.
What it is: A one-to-two-player looter shooter roguelite.
What We Liked: I’m a sucker for mobility shooters, and Gunfire Reborn is absolutely fantastic in this regard. I tend to avoid random number generation (RNG) heavy roguelites/likes where luck can sometimes play a bigger role than skill, but the balance of both in this game is pure joy, and the co-op is hard to beat. I also loved their take on class diversity and character build design. They streamline each class into only three-to-four specific builds but are unapologetically blunt about it.
What it is: You know what it is.
What We Liked: There’s so much to love about this game that it’s hard to choose only a few things, but what really stuck out to me was the narrative design. One of the major drawbacks to the “play it over and over” game loop of roguelikes/lites is how the story gets told. Since progress in these games isn’t always guaranteed, neither is progress in the narrative, which oftentimes makes it feel disjointed and repetitive. Hades somehow took the seemingly monotonous nature of repeated playthroughs and used it to its advantage. I won’t spoil anything, but because of that, there’s no story told quite like Hades.
And so many more
There are so many great roguelikes/lites out there that I could go on forever. We like to think the original Rogue Legacy played a tiny role in paving this path, one that even its sequel is now traversing. If you cherish creativity, then there are few genres that offer more variety than this one, and we’re excited to see how Rogue Legacy 2 pushes the boundaries even further.
We hope Rogue Legacy 2 ends up on some of your favourites lists as well when it launches on PlayStation June 20.