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Top 25 best roguelikes and roguelites on Nintendo Switch

Top 25 best roguelikes and roguelites on Nintendo Switch

There are no better options when it comes to Switch roguelike games

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Updated on November 24, 2022 - re-checked the list

We're arguably at peak of Switch roguelikes right now, with a fresh procedurally generated treat seemingly hitting the eShop every other day.

But roguelikes and roguelites are inherently more resistant to the strains of repetition than most genres. Indeed, making repetition interesting is kind of in their DNA.

The terms are named for the seminal 1980 game, Rogue. This game combined procedurally generated dungeons with a punishing permadeath system, which together made every attempt feel like a fresh and meaningful adventure.

Modern games that stick closely to the original Rogue template - including the turn-based movement and combat - are known as roguelikes. But increasingly over the years, we've seen more roguelike games, which are taking the randomly generated levels and permadeath and apply them to new genres.

The ultimate list of Switch roguelike games

The Switch eShop is bursting at the seams with both. Indeed, Nintendo's wondrous hybrid feels like the spiritual home of the roguelike / roguelite, with its inherent portability and indie-friendly nature.

Have we missed your favourite roguelike games on Switch from our list? Let us know in the comments below, and when you are done with this one, we'd recommend the list of best Switch RPGs!

Original list by Jon Mundy, updated by Pocket Gamer Staff.
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Dead Cells

Moment to moment, there are few roguelite platformers that feel as good to play as Dead Cells. Its nimble movement and combat mechanics are a cut above the rest, while the sheer variety of weapons at your disposal proves intoxicating.

If you want to know how well we liked this Switch roguelite, make sure to read our Dead Cells review. It's as good as you might expect - or better! We have made the Cavern key and Gardeners' keys guides to help you acquire them in case you decide to start playing the game.

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Enter The Gungeon

A major contender for the finest twin stick shooter ever made, Enter The Gungeon sets you loose in a handful of crazy gun-themed dungeons and gives you an endless supply of outlandish firearms to wield.

In our Enter the Gungeon review we mentioned how this game would be a great addition to every fan of shooter roguelike games on Switch.

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The current darling of the whole roguelike/roguelike scene, Hades manages to add genuine narrative craft to its solid and detailed isometric dungeon-crawling action. Guide the son of Hades out of the underworld, one brutally failed push at a time.

This game looks stunning, and the narrative that sets it in motion is not too shabby itself. It's one of our personal favourites and that's what landed it in our list of best roguelikes on Nintendo Switch. Make sure to give it a try!

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Rogue Legacy

Another esteemed member of the modern Switch roguelike pantheon, Rogue Legacy has you controlling a new generation of heroes with every run - with all of the genetic quirks and perks that brings.

Did you know we also have a Rogue Legacy review? Make sure to check it out if you're eager to learn just why you should give this platformer bonanza a shot!

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The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+

The ultimate version of one of the titans of the modern roguelike/lite genre. The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ is a part twin-stick shooter, part dungeon crawler, but it thrives on a dizzying array of perks and power-ups that can transform a run into something very different.

A literal binding between modern and classics, this game is one of the most wholesome experiences you'll ever have. Just read The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ review.

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Slay the Spire

Arguably the finest deck building card battler on the market is also one of the finest Switch roguelikes. Steadily assemble a powerful deck of cards as you pick a random path to the big bad in this tactical triumph.

Let's be honest though - it has cards, it has brawls, and it has action. MAD action. Isn't that what we all love about this genre? We loved it so much that we had to create a Slay the Spire tier list of best cards and we have also covered who's the best character in Slay the Spire at the moment. You'll find both of them more than useful if you're new to the game.

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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? It's a game you must play, especially if Zelda is a game that fascinated you ages ago.

If you want to learn more, make sure you read our Moonlighter review. It'll give you all the details you need.

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Bad North

Bad North takes the classic real time strategy genre, condenses it, picks up a few tips off the tower defence genre, then applies it to a roguelike structure. The result is a Norse-themed tactical masterpiece.

It's a stunning game. We know it, you know it, everybody knows it. And while we don't have a review for the game yet, but we do have a couple of Bad North tips to help you master this Switch roguelike. So, check them out if you're looking for a few handy pointers in the right direction.

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Cadence of Hyrule

If you've played Crypt of the Necrodancer, you'll know what to expect. Everyone else, brace yourselves for something a little different. This is no carefully crafted top-down Zelda adventure, but rather a Switch roguelike rhythm action game with a randomly generated overworld and dungeons.

You shouldn't miss our Cadence of Hyrule review! If you want to know how the game plays out from our perspective and whether or not you should give it a try.

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City of Brass

City of Brass sports some of the most solidly executed first person action on Switch. That includes a delicious whip mechanic that can stun or trip skeletal enemies and send you swinging across its randomly generated, trap-filled levels.

It's unlike any of the games on this list, and that leaves us wondering... is it that good? Well, that's up to every player to decide. We decided to put it somewhere in the middle - just check our City of Brass review. You can learn what works and what doesn't from our point of view.

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One of the purest, most focused roguelite platform-shooters around. The key to Downwell's success is its gunboots - a truly inspired means of both locomotion and defence as you drop through its levels.

Did you know we have a Downwell review? It was meant for another platform, but it's still going to give you a clear idea of why this is one of the top roguelites on Switch even in 2022.

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A remarkably lithe roguelite action-platformer that sees you zipping between targets with frightening speed and agility. If you're playing it right, you'll barely touch the ground as you reduce your foes to scrap.

What really stands out when you start playing this game is the vibe it gives off - the game's got an empowering aura about itself, which really all that it needs to make it one of the most intense experiences on Switch. If you think you've got what it takes, make sure to give it a shot, if not, just continue rummaging through the best roguelikes on Switch and you'll find something you'll like!

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Dicey Dungeons

Terry Cavanagh takes yet another left turn with his latest project, laying on a remarkably charming roguelite built of tactical RPG and deck-building components. Your fate might be at the whim of rolling dice here, but there's plenty of strategies to back it up.

From graphics to gameplay, there's a lot to love about Dicey Dungeons and not a lot to hate. It's a wholesome game that delivers from every perspective - and if you're feeling extra lucky, you might even roll something special. Oh, and before we forget. The game might look cutesy, but it's in fact much more tactical than you might expect!

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Into the Breach

The maker of FTL returns to create another roguelite masterpiece, this time in the form of a brilliant twist on the real time strategy genre. Into the Breach is a desperate game of managed loss and last ditch tactical manoeuvres, as you guide a squad of hulking mechs against the alien hoardes.

Of course, having the best squads in Into the Breach will help you out immensely, but you'll still have to think through every step carefully. These squads make sense only if you utilise them correctly.

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Void Bastards

Ostensibly a first person sci-fi shooter with hints of System Shock, Void Bastards soon reveals itself to be a roguelike action game packed with randomly generated 'dungeons' and a filthy British sense of humour.

With a fantastic cartoon-ish approach and comic book-like features, this Switch roguelike shooter is ideal for kicking off on a Sunday afternoon and shootin' up some nasty voidlings. However, if a more relaxed approach is what you seek, you might want to point your attention towards other titles.

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Nuclear Throne

Vlambeer's twin-stick shooter is as brutally unforgiving and characterful as you'd expect from the developer. Highlights include a dozen distinctive protagonists, deformable levels, and a distinct shortage of ammo.

Don't forget to read our Nuclear Throne review. It'll give you all the details you need about the game and help you assess whether or not it's a game you'll want to try out or not.

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It's not Undertale, but UnderMine, and it adopts the top-down Binding of Isaac approach to roguelites, but with far more breezy charm, a more extensive permanent upgrades system, and a lot less poop (literally speaking).

You've got boss fights, shops, and a lot of smaller elements that make it a worthy experience. In fact, it's a game that you will quickly fall in love with. It has all the right elements to call it a brilliant roguelite and role-playing experience. You wouldn't want to miss it.

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Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos

'What if Zelda but roguelike?' isn't exactly an original proposition, but Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos comes up with a more convincing answer than most. Its cutesy top-down adventuring is spot on in almost every regard, including multiplayer.

The pixelated approach gives it a slight retro appeal (the Zelda mention above), but it also takes us back to games that we felt like where all the rave back in the day. Except... with a more contemporary feel. Does that make sense?

All in all, it's a more laid-back Switch roguelike game that you'll need to add to your collection.

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Darkest Dungeon

Ah, Darkest Dungeon. A side-scrolling RPG that really, REALLY wants you to be miserable. How many souls has it claimed yet? Too many I believe... If you dig Lovecraftian lore and like your decisions to have real weight and consequence, Darkest Dungeon is the game for you. You sadist.

For the most daring among you who would love to get a glimpse of what it looks like, please consult our Darkest Dungeon tier list, as it will explain to you which characters you should pursue and why. We also have a review for the iOS version, but it'll give you a clear idea of what this game is about. It's one of the top representatives of the genre on any platform, so it certainly earned its spot amongst the best roguelike games on Switch.

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A unique roguelike shooter that adds a dose of '80s anime pizazz and spacefaring flight physics to the mix. Guide your fighter-mech through hostile asteroid fields, blasting aliens and upgrading your skills.

It's a lot more colourful than you might expect, but all of the VFX and booms are there for one reason, and one reason only - to transpire you into the wholesome experience that is space shooting. It does that quite well, so if you want an alternative roguelike game on Switch set into space, Galak-Z is the game for you.

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Curse of the Dead Gods

Curse of the Dead Gods brings a thick slice of dark Lovecraftian lore to the roguelite genre, along with oodles of crunchy melee-focused combat. It's a potent combination.

With a top-down ARPG approach, Curse of the Dead Gods has so much potential and intensity that it's a well-deserving title to honor our list. If you're looking to play an underrated yet fun and exciting roguelite, you should check it out. We are 100% positive it'll impress you as much as it did us.

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Crown Trick

In an eShop that's filled with roguelites, Crown Trick is an all-too-rare roguelike. Its more considered turn-based dungeon crawling is a breath of fresh air, though it's allied to some beautifully detailed 2D spritework.

The animations are cartoonish and quirky, but in an oh-so-good way. There are just so many elements to praise this game for, that it's not even fair. Crown Trick is beautiful, it plays well, and it's a game worth dedicating your time to. You'll probably not find it as intense as Downwell or some of the other hardcoreSwitch roguelike games on this list, but rather a more toned-down wholesome experience.

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The Persistence

Given that it started life as a VR experience, The Persistence on Switch is an unexpected treat. It effectively combines first-person action with tense sci-fi horror, all under the umbrella of solid roguelike mechanics. In a way, it closely resembles Doom Eternal, but on a slightly smaller console and with fewer... creature-y creatures.

Its horror approach is rather unique, in the sense that it's more jump scare-y than intense. If you're not into that, you might want to look at other games. Otherwise, it's a good choice for a Switch roguelike game.

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Gods Will Fall

A clever twist on the roguelite dungeon crawler, in which you guide a team of 8 warriors into war against the fickle gods that plague their lives. Each warrior is effectively a life, though each also has their own perks and hack-and-slash fighting styles.

There is a lot to learn, and even more to discover. The graphics are also pretty good, mashing a smooth 3D approach with some slight minimalistic elements. The result - a fun-looking, yet intense action to everyone's delight.

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GoNNER 2 isn't the most original roguelike action-platformer in terms of mechanics, but its hand-scribbled visual style is really quite arresting. This is no case of style over substance though, with tactile combat and a steep learning curve.

You should also check out our GoNNER2 review. We loved it, and if you're unsure whether it's that gem for you, the review should answer all your questions. What a fitting title to wrap up our list, don't you think?

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