Top 10 Roguelike Anime Games [Best Recommendations]

Roguelike is a genre that truly challenges anyone who dares step into the tricky dungeons that lie ahead, and will punish you severely if you act careless. Taking bits and pieces from various genres such as RPG’s along with some action adventure, roguelike games throw players into difficult scenarios where they must rely on strategic decision making in order to progress through the game. There’s very little in terms of resources and so every step you make must be one that will help advance you. We’ll be taking a closer look at some of the best roguelike anime games out there, and see which one ends up taking the number one spot on our list.

10. The Nightmare of Druaga: Fushigi no Dungeon

  • System/Platform: Windows
  • Publisher: Akira | Namco
  • Developer: Akira | Chunsoft
  • Developer: July 29, 2004

The Nightmare of Druaga: Fushigi no Dungeon is the sequel to Tower of Druaga, which was developed by then called Chunsoft and Akira. The story follows a knight named Gil who embarks on a journey to rescue his fiancee Ki from Skulld,, an evil sorceress who’s out to wreak havoc on the world. Much of the game’s story is reflected through real time cutscenes and follows a very anime type approach.

This game is one of the most unforgiving games in terms of gameplay because despite how hard you try sometimes, the game just tells you no more. Deaths result in a loss of every item you collected in the dungeon, along with half of the gold you managed to collect along the way. Fortunately the game allows you to save some of your items beforehand at the temple of Ishtar, but if you manage to forget along your dungeon exploring, well, good luck. A lot of the enemies in the game are often times so strong that you actually have to avoid them, so making sure to hit up the town section to upgrade weapons is something you should definitely do before going any deeper.


9. Dark Cloud 2

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 2
  • Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Developer: Level-5
  • Developer: November 28, 2002

Known in Japan as Dark Chronicle, Dark Cloud 2 is an action role playing game that’s the spiritual successor to Dark Cloud but features an entirely new plot along with fresh characters added to the mix. You play as both Max and Monica who come from the present and future, and must work together to put a stop to Emperor Griffin, who has a strong desire to destroy the present day from deep in the past.

While not necessarily a roguelike game by definition, the gameplay does provide a similar dungeon crawling experience and instead of leveling up your characters you instead level up your weapons. The longer you continue to use the same weapon, it begins to show signs of wear and tear so constantly upgrading and changing weapons in the game is imperative. There’s honestly just a ton of things to do in this game that you’ll be more than pleased as you spend well over 60 hours trying to complete it. Everything down to the dialogue is polished, with enough of a challenge to encourage you to come back for more.


8. Legasista

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3
  • Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
  • Developer: System Prisma
  • Developer: March 15, 2012

Legasista isn’t a game not many people outside of the roguelike universe are aware of, so it’s nice to bring some games that haven’t a chance to shine into the spotlight. Legasista is a dungeon crawler rpg created by Nippon Ichi Software, who follows Alto who’s on a journey to obtain an ancient weapon that’s capable of removing the curse placed on his sister. He manages to find the weapon but it has taken the form of a young girl named Melize, so now the two must work alongside one another to explore dungeons in order to find his sister.

As with most roguelike games, Legasista follows the same blueprint which places players in a dungeon type scenario, and must battle strong monsters in order to progress to the next section. Upgrading your weapons is paramount as you move further into the dungeon, and you’ll truly need to grind your way through in order to successfully get to the end. While many may not be fond of grinding through dungeons to survive, it should come as no surprise because roguelikes tend to place you in situations that you’re not too comfortable with and you’ll need to manage what you have in your arsenal to clear the way without dying. Check this underrated title out because it’s definitely one to experience if you’re new to roguelike games.


7. The Guided Fate Paradox

  • System/Platform: PlayStation 3
  • Publisher: Nippon Ichi Software
  • Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
  • Developer: January 14, 2013

The Guided Fate Paradox takes place in a multiverse which was established in the Disgaea series. Renya is the protagonist who is granted the gift of being God after winning a raffle at a mall. After traveling to Celestia and confronting seven angels who tell him that they’re now his servants, Renya must now use his abilities as God to grant wishes to those who pray to him. To do so, Renya must now use a machine known as the Fate Revolution Circuit which creates dungeons for him to traverse through and defeat Satanael.

With all the gameplay being played from an isometric perspective, you’ll need to control Renya as he cruises through wild dungeons and defeats hellish bosses that he encounters along the way. You also have your angels that play alongside you, which acts as a support system to heal or buff during battles. You’ll need to play very skillfully with the angels because once they die they become unavailable until either you die, or you leave the dungeon.


6. Dragon Fin Soup

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Grimm Bross
  • Developer: Grimm Bros
  • Developer: November 3, 2015

Dragon Fin Soup is an action role playing game that features various aspects of roguelike gameplay, along with other tactical procedures that you’ll need to master along the way. The game allows players the option of taking part in two modes, one being the usual story mode that provides you with a pretty normal role playing experience. The other is survival mode where most of the true gameplay resides, because a lot of the time you’re focusing on trying to stay alive for as long as possible since the moment you die, you have to start from the very beginning.

That’s the true selling point of roguelike games, it’s that you’re never guaranteed a way out no matter what you attempt to pull off, and the amount of concentration needed to come out unscathed is at an all time high. Another great selling point of Dragon Fin Soup is that it incorporates a very Super Nintendo feel to it in terms of its appearance, which brings the nostalgia levels well over max, and it makes the experience much more enriching for anyone who grew up in that era. The speed of the game reflects that of the player, so if you’re the type to rush through then the game will mimic that, however if you’re anything like us slow motion is better than no motion in this roguelike rpg.


5. Heart & Slash

  • System/Platform: Steam
  • Publisher: Badland Games
  • Developer: AHEARTFULOFGAMES
  • Developer: August 10, 2016

Not many roguelike titles take the form of 3D, since the genre really was birthed in a 2D realm. However Heart & Slash takes players on a wild roguelike adventure where everything is fast paced and adrenaline pumping, with very little room for error. The wonderful aspect about Heart & Slash is that it doesn’t shy away from the uniqueness that roguelike games provide, but it throws you into this very vibrant world that can oftentimes become such a distraction because it’s so nice to look at.

Initially starting off as a kickstarter title which eventually made its way onto steam, Heart & Slash is a title that any fan of roguelike games shouldn’t avoid because it treats you in every possible way both in performance and overall gameplay. While not as unforgiving as other roguelike titles, it still provides a suitable challenge that’s enough to keep you awake for long hours at night. The charming and very endearing main character is also quite cute which makes it so funny because you’re just hacking and slashing your way through, with no one to hold your hand along the way.


4. Rogue Legacy

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Cellar Door Games
  • Developer: Cellar Door Games
  • Developer: June 17, 2013

The name itself should already let you know what you’re in for, as Rogue Legacy treats players with a nice roguelike-lite experience as they traverse through crazy dungeons filled with random enemies. The goal of the game is to make your way through four dungeons, each with their own respective bosses, until you manage to reach the final boss where the excitement truly begins.

When you die in this game, you have a chance to choose from six randomly generated heirs which all come with their own unique playstyles. So unlike other games where once you die it’s back to the beginning, Rogue Legacy encourages you to keep going and find new ways of overcoming your problems, while spending gold on the manor will allow you to upgrade stats, and unlock new classes. Inspired by games like Demon’s Souls and Dark Souls, Rogue Legacy will surely provoke you in various ways but in doing so will generate a much more richer gameplay experience.


3. Crypt of the Necrodancer

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Klei Entertainment
  • Developer: Brace Yourself Games
  • Developer: April 23, 2015

Indie games have been making a splash as of late, and for roguelike titles, it seems like a resurgence has definitely begun. Crypt of the Necrodancer takes your fundamental roguelike elements that you know and love, but throws a twist into the fray by encouraging players to follow the musical patterns to progress through challenging dungeons.

The greatest feature that Crypt of the Necrodancer has is that you can also throw in your own music tracks for a more personal approach to the game, but the gameplay more or less still remains a challenge if you aren’t careful. This was one of our favorite titles on steam when it released, and now that you can grab it on consoles as well makes it even better for anyone looking to add another great roguelike to your collection. One thing to note though, the only notable difference compared to other roguelikes is that you really need to listen to the beats otherwise you’ll be seeing a lot of flat notes from dying.


2. Spelunky

  • System/Platform: Multi Platform
  • Publisher: Mossmoth
  • Developer: Mossmouth | Derek Yu
  • Developer: December 31, 2008

Spelunky is one truly genuine game that takes everything you loved from past platform titles, while also being the forerunner for many more roguelike titles to be created. You control a character known as spelunker who must explore through an array of caves while collecting treasure, saving beautiful women, fighting tough enemies, while avoiding traps along the way.

Spelunky has been such a great influence on the genre and we can’t help but tip our hat to Mossmouth who developed a truly fun and immersive game, that had us reaching for that cup of coffee every now and then to stay focused on what was happening. Everything is randomly generated so your experience will most certainly be different every time, with the notable permadeath feature that sends you all the way back to the beginning if you screw up. Spelunky is a rewarding title because it really tests your might and encourages you to react to problems, take note of certain enemy patterns, and collecting the right gear to overcome obstacles.


1. Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate

  • System/Platform: Nintendo DS, PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: Spike Chunsoft | Aksys Games
  • Developer: Chunsoft
  • Developer: December 9, 2010[DS] | July 26, 2016 [Vita]

Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate hits the number one spot because it takes all of the great points of the other titles, and implements great new elements to further annoy you as you climb to the top to The Tower of Fortune. Originally making its debut for the Nintendo DS back in 2010, Shiren grew a large following very quickly as word broke out about its very challenging roguelike aspects, along with a great story added in. We did a review on Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune and the Dice of Fate, and so if you’d like to know a little more about the backstory then be sure to give it a read at your best convenience.

If you die in the game you lose everything you earned and start back from level 1, while the dungeons constantly change on you so that things stay fresh everytime. The monsters also change their positions so you’re always caught off guard every time you re-enter dungeons thinking you can somehow come up with a strategy. There just is no correct strategy in this game other than just coming up with the right approach to defeating enemies, or simply avoiding them to proceed to the next section. Whatever your plan of action is, Shiren the Wanderer will surely have you wandering all around looking for the right items to assist you on this arduous journey.


Final Thoughts

Roguelike anime games will always continue to shine in their own way, so long as fans continue to support the genre. It may not be at the forefront of what’s hot at the moment, but be rest assured that the moment you pick up a roguelike title you’ll be immersed in it for hours trying to determine the right course of action in order to successfully clear every dungeon in one piece. What roguelike title do you love most? Let us know down below in the comments section, and be sure to share, like, and tweet out our articles to keep the community buzzing!

As always, if you want to know about all the latest buzz straight from the bee’s nest in Japan, be sure to keep it locked here at Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

A passionate fan of gaming, anime, and philosophy. I do lots of graphic design, and stream a lot of games on twitch. I play fighting games competitively, as well as hearthstone. I've lived in Japan for 4 years now and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love ramen, and various types of Japanese style cuisine. Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles! Take care!

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