Top 25 best roguelikes and roguelites for iPhone and iPad (iOS)
The list of tough and more lenient iOS roguelikes and roguelites for iPhone and iPad
If you love playing hard games, where your actions and sometimes random encounters can have dire consequences, this list of best roguelike games for iOS is a blessing for you.
You've doubtless seen the descriptions 'roguelike' and 'roguelite' bandied around a lot in recent years. But you might not know what that means, exactly.
No, it doesn't mean being a bit of a scoundrel - or indeed, not much of one. Rather, it's a reference to the classic 1980 video game Rogue, which added permadeath (one strike and you're out) and randomly generated levels to its turn-based dungeon-crawling gameplay.
When a modern game follows all of these elements, it's described as roguelike, because it's like Rogue. When a game copies some of those elements (typically permadeath and random levels) it's sometimes described as roguelite because... well, you get the picture.
There have been plenty of games that fit this description over the past four decades, but the roguelike and roguelite genre has really experienced a massive resurgence in recent years. These distinctive elements, which create both challenge and replayability, are everywhere you look, from big-budget console games to humble indie efforts.
Needless to say, there are loads of roguelikes and roguelites on iOS. We've rounded up 25 of our favourites in the following feature. Oh, and you should also check the splendid list of best RPGs for iOS!
Don't see your own personal favourite iOS roguelike or roguelite listed here? Let us know in the comments below.Original list by Jon Mundy, updated by Pocket Gamer Staff.
FTL: Faster Than Light
Warping between unknown star systems, striving to keep ahead of a vast enemy armada and engaging in frequent tactical ship-to-ship battles, playing FTL is an exercise in making split-second tough decisions. If there's a more compelling set-up for a mobile roguelike, we haven't seen it.
If you're not yet sold on the idea of a beautiful space roguelike, we don't quite understand why. So... make sure to read our FTL: Faster Than Light review! It should convince you to try this masterpiece.Download FTL: Faster Than Light
Downwell practically buzzes with kinetic energy, whether you're bouncing on the head of a frog, blasting through layers of rock with your gunboots, or ducking into a time bubble to buy some weapon upgrades. A truly thrilling iOS roguelike.
Did you know we also have a Downwell review? If you are not sure where you stand regarding this game - whether you are down to try it or not - you should check it out. It should give you some clear answers.Download Downwell
Rogue Legacy is a platformer of uncommon replayability, thanks to its procedurally generated levels and an ingenious character progression system. Each successive generation of your character's family steps up to the plate with their own strengths and (often hilarious) quirks.
Make sure to read our Rogue Legacy review if you haven't yet. It'll tell you all about this intense platformer iOS roguelike, in great detail. Believe it or not, it's actually a truly fantastic port.Download Rogue Legacy
Dead Cells provides one of the slickest, most satisfying action-platformer experiences on mobile. Run, leap and dodge through randomised levels, picking up a deadly range of swords, shields, projectile weapons, automated turrets, and magical attacks. Then die and do it all again - but a little differently.
As we all know, sometimes you need a bit of assistance in roguelike games like this. You'll surely be looking for the Cavern key and Gardeners keys, for example. Our guides should help you acquire them effortlessly.Download Dead Cells
The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
One of the most enduringly popular roguelikes of recent times, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth plays like an unholy mash-up of Robotron and Zelda. And we do mean unholy - Edmund McMillen's labour of love frequently dips into the profane as you shoot and wretch your way through its grim random levels.
This game plays extremely well, and while it's a little bit... poopy (literally speaking, of course) it is an insanely rewarding and satisfying iOS roguelike to conquer. Just check our review for The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.Download The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth
This stunning roguelike hack and slasher is so slick, you can play it with one hand. It's far from brainless or shallow, though. Each fearsome enemy requires a different approach, while there are plenty of decisions to be made with your warrior's progression.
In the Immortal Rogue review we've put together, we mentioned how massive this stunningly-looking action blood-sucking iOS roguelike feels. It feels massive in the way that the gameplay is all about staying alive and beating your previous high score.Download Immortal Rogue
Bad North: Jotunn Edition
Bad North combines RTS and tower defence elements with a run-based roguelike structure. It makes defending your islands from a Viking onslaught endlessly repayable.
We absolutely loved Bad North, so if you find yourself attracted to the immersive Norse action present in the game, you might want to check out some Bad North: Jotunn Edition tips. They're going to come in handy more than you think (tried and tested)!Download Bad North
Slay the Spire
It's an imperfect port, but Slay the Spire is one of the best roguelikes of recent years. This is a brilliant card battler that sees you shaping a deck of powerful cards and utilising them in tense turn-based battles.
If you're used to the rather bloody and messy iOS roguelikes, you'd be surprised to learn that there's an alternative to that - we shared more about it in our Slay the Spire review, but if you really want some slightly more strategic action, this is definitely the game for you. Make sure to give it a try.Download Slay the Spire
As the title suggests, Darkest Dungeon is rather punishing to play, but in the best possible way. From its Lovecraftian lore to its brutal side-on turn-based battles, everything has a dark and twisted allure - an intensely immersive and addictive one at that. For those of you who are daring enough to try it, use our tier list for Darkest Dungeon, it will assist you immensely.
It's a game where your entire team will be wiped out, seemingly at the whim of a malevolent god - and you'll still go back for more. It's one of the best dungeon crawlers that hurts... so good!Download Darkest Dungeon
Suitably enough, Sunless Sea is a game you immerse yourself in. Exploring a vast underground sea in a steampunk ship, you'll embark on a beautifully written narrative adventure while taking part in tense real-time naval battles.
If you are still unsure whether to row, row, row your boat gently down with steam, maybe our Sunless Sea review will help you decide. We are certainly loving it, and if you are a fan of Lovecraftian worlds and unexplored 'zeas' (pun intended!), give it a try!
Download Sunless Sea
Moonlighter mixes Zelda-like dungeon crawling with a fascinating premise - what if you were responsible for setting the price and selling all that exotic loot you're so accustomed to fighting for?
We don't have an iOS review, but we do have a Moonlighter review on Switch. That will let you in on just how great this roguelite dungeon-crawling creation feels. You should definitely check it out!Download Moonlighter
The developer of Crying Suns has clearly played a few game games of FTL. This tactical rogue-lite has many of the same spacefaring elements, but it also adds a compelling narrative and entertaining flight-squadron combat mechanics.
Did you know we have a Crying Suns review? You should read it if you're thinking about trying out this game since it'll give you an overall idea of what to expect and just how amazing Crying Suns is!Download Crying Suns
Crypt of the NecroDancer
A brilliantly bizarre roguelike dungeon crawler that replaces the usual tactical turn-based battles with a rhythmic music-based system. You need to keep to the beat in order to vanquish those skeletons and dragons, which is something unique and never before seen in games belonging to the genre. Bonkers.
If you're eager to try out something new but full of life, colour and pixels, you should give Crypt of the NecroDancer a shot. It might just turn out to be your next favourite!Download Crypt of the NecroDancer
Invisible, Inc's slick art style and polished turn-based stealth battles give the impression of a highly sculpted experience. But its random level layouts and brutal fail state reveal a wicked roguelike edge.
And like we're accustomed to Klei creations (such as Don't Starve), we know that there's so much more than first meets the eye once you dive into the actual gameplay. Just read our Invisible, Inc. review - it's one of those few games that will leave you wanting for more. And more. And more...Download Invisible, Inc.
Death Road to Canada
Zombies have infected every gaming genre known to man, so a zombie roguelike survival action RPG was always on the cards. That's Death Road to Canada in a slightly unwieldy nutshell. It's awesome.
We've long stated, even in our Death Road to Canada review, that this is one of the few iOS roguelikes that feel so darn right. From every single point of view, starting with controls and ending with the visuals. It's a mash of all the classical elements and intense, bloody battles that you'll keep playing for hours on end.Download Death Road to Canada
Have you ever imagined two completely opposite genres colliding into a brilliant game? That would be the case with Peak's Edge. Kenny Sun has proved himself the master of clever, fiendish puzzlers. And in Peak's Edge, he's nailed the roguelike too - albeit with Sun's signature abstract twist.
This game is pretty simple at the start, but then it escalates - it gets crazily complicated, and you really feel the intensity of each stage creeping in. If you haven't tried any of Kenny Sun's games before, you should definitely check out this one.Download Peak's Edge
Dungeon of the Endless: Apogee
The tower defence genre gets the roguelike treatment, as you ascend a tower and embark on a series of desperate backs-to-the-wall defensive operations.
In Dungeon of the Endless: Apogee, you have both, but tweaked tenfold. It's a beautiful, yet challenging game. You will love the graphics, the mechanics and even the touch controls, that we all know are not something every game has managed to nail.Download Dungeon of the Endless: Apogee
Cultist Simulator is described as a roguelike narrative card game, but that doesn't adequately prepare you for the sheer freewheeling possibilities of this cosmic game of Poker. Draw cards, explore arcane rites - then die and try it all again.
There are so many features you need to keep track of, to learn and master that it can easily become overwhelming. In our Cultist Simulator review we mentioned that it might not be a game that will appeal to many, but it's a brilliant one nonetheless. If you want a more visual approach, you can also check our Cultist Simulator video review!Download Cultist Simulator
Fallen of the Round
This startlingly tactile roguelike tactics game folds in auto-chess and board game elements, and intriguingly gives you no save facility, so you'll have to tackle each run in a single sitting.
It is rather intense if you want our honest opinion because it's not a game that you can just pause and think - you need to act, act, and react. It's brilliant, it's fast and challenging. That ticks all the right boxes to make it a great roguelike iOS game.Download Fallen of the Round
Meteorfall: Krumit's Tale
A sequel to Meteorfall: Journey that mixes roguelike deck-building mechanics with tense, strategic battles and a glorious cartoon art style. This time the latter incorporates a much deeper grid-based system.
If you want to learn our unforgiving, non-death-defying experience while playing it, you might want to check out our Meteorfall: Krumit's Tale review. We wanted to quit it, but well, we couldn't. It's that good (but oh so painful at times)....Download Meteorfall: Krumit's Tale
Void Tyrant is a colourful deck building game build on solid roguelike foundations. At the heart of it, it is a game of interstellar Blackjack. But as you keep playing, you will aim to draw higher than your space alien foes without going bust.
In this game you'll have artifacts to collect, blueprints and ships to unlock, and that's only the chill part of the game. The intensity of it comes from the actual card battles that will leave you in awe from time to time. They get surprisingly challenging, even to the most seasoned TCG players - that's because of its roguelite approach.Download Void Tyrant
Few genres are as stuck in their ways as the 2D shmup, but Steredenn gives things a shake up with a little roguelike magic. Random levels and permadeath, alongside an inspired weapon customisation, really give the action a jolt.
Make sure to read our Steredenn review to see why this bullet hell roguelite is such an appealing game to many. To us, it's fascinated us through sheer action and no bull in between. It's all an action game junkie needs!Download Steredenn
The developer of Card Crawl, ENYO and Card Thief has produced this exquisite turn-based swiping puzzler. Move a mouse around a randomly arranged 4x4 grid, vanquishing clockwork enemies.
In Maze Machina, you will have a slightly lighter experience than in Meteorfall: Krumit's Tale, but essentially pretty similar down to the core. It also looks and feels slightly more realistic (because of its 3D approach), so if you want something more clockwork-y and less cartoon-y, give it a shot.
Fair warning though - it might not be for you though if you want a more action-packed iOS roguelite.Download Maze Machina
Road Not Taken
Road Not Taken splices roguelike elements into the tile-sliding puzzler, and the results are brilliant. Add into the mix a gorgeous cartoon art style and a surprisingly emotive story, and you have one of the most unique roguelikes for iPhone and iPad on this list.
It looks beautiful, but that's just the tip of the iceberg. Road Not Taken is filled with puzzles, battles and secrets at every corner. It's a brilliant mobile game that should be in everyone's collection, roguelike / roguelite fan or not.Download Road Not Taken
Card Hog offers the kind of deck-based roguelike dungeon crawler that we see a lot of on mobile, but it pulls the formula off with style. It's far deeper than its cartoony graphics would suggest.
What that means is, it's an ingeniously crafted concoction that allows for a multitude of playstyles, mechanics and approaches, that will appeal to a lot of players seeking to play something unique. There are dangers lurking at every corner - or almost every corner, and the battles intensify as you progress. Don't let the cutesy graphics fool you, Card Hog is actually a fairly challenging game that shouldn't be taken lightly!Download Card Hog