The Best Roguelike Games for Android

From traditional to creative, the best permadeath RPGs on Android

Here are some of the best modern roguelike games for Android devices. These games include features such as turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and procedurally generated levels. But don't think these games are cookie-cutter; they can differ from one another significantly and offer a variety of gaming experiences.

The Roguelike Game Genre

The term roguelike describes a genre of roleplaying-style games that have features inspired by the eponymous "Rogue" game that was popular in the early 1980s. They are characterized by dungeon crawl gameplay through levels that change, making each play-through a unique experience. You start with a base character and build them up, such as by acquiring items and equipment. Roguelike games feature permadeath, meaning that if your character dies, you have to start all over from the base again. The idea is that you can't master a game through rote memorization. Instead, you have to practice and become skilled in order to do well.

Modern game developers have taken the principles of roguelike games and developed new games around them, expanding them to other gaming genres and tweaking the parameters to create different experiences. This has led to other terms to describe these games, such as roguelite and roguelike-like.

Wayward Souls
Rocketcat Games

This game perhaps represents the best halfway point between the classic roguelike game and the modern interpretation of its principles. It's an action-RPG in which you have limited health and abilities to make it through several incredibly dangerous dungeons, starting fresh every time you play. The currency you collect can be used to upgrade your base stats, giving you just a bit more of an advantage every time you go back through the game.

"Wayward Souls" is a tense but fun experience, making you aware of every mistake you make, forcing you to learn how to use your characters better. With the variety of character types and the difficulty of reaching the next dungeon, it has the kind of depth that will keep playing for a long time without boredom. But if it proves to be too difficult, there are cheat codes!

If you've played Rocketcat's other action-RPG Mage Gauntlet, you'll find better controls and systems in "Wayward Souls," along with greater replayability and more character types to use. It's a dramatic improvement. More »

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Hoplite
Carter Dotson

"Hoplite" is much closer to the original definition of the roguelike; it's a turn-based game, and there are no advantages you can confer on yourself before you play. You control a Greek soldier armed with sword, shield, and spear, trying to advance through a dangerous dungeon and obtain the golden fleece of legend.

The game puts a lot of hazards in your way. Enemies have particular behaviors that must be learned, and you'll have to use your abilities wisely. Throwing your spear might help you out, but you have to go pick it up, and in the mean time you lose the ability to lunge through enemies. Your shield bash is helpful, you'll be without it for a few turns.

Through determination and effort, you should be able to eventually get the golden fleece. Your score is tracked, and if you pass up the upgrade blessings along the way, you can get more points and skip the fleece to go even further in pursuit of a higher score. And there's lots awaiting you if you want to keep going—and that's without mentioning the challenge mode.

Hoplight is also available on iOS, where the game has picked up extra attention and acclaim. More »

The Nightmare Cooperative
Carter Dotson

This roguelike from the now-defunct Lucky Frame is probably a bit closer to what you'd get if Threes was a roguelike, and it's a ton of fun. You maneuver groups of heroes around, trying to defeat and dodge enemies as necessary. You make your way through 16 floors of the dungeon using your abilities, picking up new party members, gold, and potions as you go.

"The Nightmare Cooperative" has a unique feel thanks to the the way you control everyone at once and the number of levels you have to make it through. It was initially released for desktop systems but is probably at its best on mobile. You can play it in portrait mode on smartphones, or in landscape mode on tablets, and it works well either way. More »

Quadropus Rampage
Butterscotch Shenanigans

This action-roguelike doesn't take itself too seriously. It is flavored with a unique style and humor, but the action is deadly serious as you collect powerful weapons and abilities while hacking and slashing your way through enemies in your mission to defeat your comically-named nemesis, Pete.

There is an end goal, but with plenty of upgrades and replayability, reaching that goal will only leave you wanting to dive in again. "Quadropus Rampage" is more casual-friendly than perhaps "Wayward Souls," but it is still plenty challenging.

The developers, Butterscotch Shenanigans, offers other games like Crashlands, and there is a documentary available on Steam about its production, particularly as one of the developers has had to deal with two bouts of cancer during its development. More »

Out There: Omega Edition
Mi-Clos

If you want something with a narrative experience, Mi-Clos' "Out There: Omega Edition" is really interesting. The premise: You're a lost space explorer, trying to make it from planet to planet, refilling your lost resources as you travel. You interact with alien races, take risks in drilling for more resources, and uncover a mystery across the galaxy you're lost in, starting from a fresh beginning each time.

The initial release of the game was great, and since then a major Omega Edition update built on that greatness with dramatically revamped art, gameplay improvements, and a new game mode in which you can find the ships you've lost before. Definitely check this one out. More »

Do you rogue-like our choices?

Are you more of a traditional roguelike fan, or was there a more modern interpretation of roguelikes we missed out on? Tell us in the comments.