We love a good roguelike game, and thankfully there are plenty of them on Xbox Game Pass.
Sure, roguelike games can be annoying: you make a lot of progress, then you die. Kaput, back to the beginning. But rather than rage-quitting, a good roguelike draws you back in, luring you with the promise of permanent upgrades and the knowledge that, now you know what you’re doing, you can get just that bit further. And so, before you know it, one more go becomes a dozen more goes. And even though you didn’t think you stood a chance just mere hours ago, you’ve now taken down the bosses that stood in your way.
The best roguelikes on Xbox Game Pass come in various shapes and sizes. From first-person shooters to platformers and even farming (!), there’s likely something for everyone. And few games offer as much satisfaction as a roguelike does when you overcome one of its tricky obstacles. We just can’t get enough of them, and so we thought we’d share with you some of our favourites.
Read on to see the best roguelikes you can play on Xbox Game Pass. They’re all included as part of your subscription, so you can try ’em out at no extra cost.
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Roguelikes really don’t get much better than Hades. Telling the story of Zagreus, son of the titular Hades, it tasks you with escaping from the underworld – but as you can probably imagine, that’s no easy feat. It turns out being Prince of the Underworld isn’t all it’s cracked up to be; Zagreus longs to be free, but escaping the Underworld means making his way through its many layers, each more deadly than the last. If he fails – which he will, multiple times – it’s right back to the start, where he’ll have to dust himself off and try again.
Like any roguelike game, Hades relies on you repeating similar battles, learning the ropes, mastering weapons and gradually improving yourself through each attempt. But unlike most games in the genre, Hades also doubles down on a fascinating narrative and excellent world-building. Talking to the characters in the Underworld reveals a deep story which only unravels as you keep playing. It’s a fantastic game, and undoubtedly one of the best roguelike games on Xbox Game Pass.
2. Crown Trick
If you enjoy strategic combat, you’ll love Crown Trick. This roguelike action game casts you as Elle, a girl who finds herself stuck in a world of nightmares accompanied by a talking crown atop her head. In order to escape, she needs to make her way through a series of procedurally-generated dungeons – but it won’t be easy. Each dungeon is filled with enemies out to get Elle, but she’s got the upper hand. Well, as long as you’ve got enough skill, that is.
You see, enemies only move (and attack) when you move. So by standing still, the enemies also stand still. Plan out your moves carefully, then, by anticipated each move of the enemy, and you can get out of every battle unscathed. Particularly when you consider that Elle has a rather powerful arsenal of weapons and abilities up her sleeve. Crown Trick is one of the more challenging roguelike games, but if you enjoy strategy, it’s one of the best on Xbox Game Pass.
3. Going Under
Going Under is a roguelike with a difference. These aren’t your usual dark, dank dungeons you’ll be exploring. Oh no. Instead, Going Under is set entirely within the corporate workplace. It pokes fun at itself and ridicules the corporate lifestyle in a way that anyone who’s ever worked in an office will groan and chuckle at. It’s bold, it’s colourful, it’s wickedly funny – and a hell of a lot of fun to play. Put it this way; there aren’t many other games on Game Pass that will let you whack a goblin to death with a laptop, are there?
This isn’t a game that takes itself seriously, as you can tell. And its this fun-loving attitude that makes us love Going Under. Even if you die fairly quickly (which you probably will, at least to begin with), you’ll be quick to jump back in thanks to its wacky, colourful charm. You won’t have played anything quite like this before, we promise, and that’s why it’s one of the best roguelike games on Xbox Game Pass.
4. Dandy Ace
Vivid, colourful, and with some of the wackiest enemy designs you’ll ever see, Dandy Ace is a lot of fun. It’s also wickedly hard, but that’s one of the reasons we love it so. A top-down action game, it sees you step into the shoes of a magician on his quest to defeat an evil illusionist. Trapped within a cursed mirror, he has a lot of obstacles to overcome, and plenty of enemies to defeat.
Luckily, Dandy Ace‘s protagonist comes equipped with plenty of abilities, from throwing cards to huge explosions, and by skilfully using them, he can overcome just about anything. Don’t worry if you fail, though; it’s back to the beginning you go, but a strong permanent upgrade system means you always feel like you’re making progress – even if it is slow. If you like something a little different, this is one of the best roguelike games on Xbox Game Pass.
5. Neon Abyss
A side-scrolling platformer with a lot of heart – and a lot of challenge – Neon Abyss is very difficult to put down once you’ve picked it up. Playing as one of several available heroes, you’re tasked with defeating a number of so-called ‘managers’. But in order to defeat them, you’ll have to make your way through increasingly difficult dungeons, killing a range of weird and wonderful foes on the way.
Rather like a bullet hell game at times, Neon Abyss can get very hectic. You need to be quick on your toes to avoid enemies’ attacks – or just make sure that your attack hits them first. As you play, you’ll level up your weapon, find new guns, and pick up a myriad of modifiers to change your skills and give you perks. Maybe you’ll get bouncy bullets, for instance, or maybe you’ll learn to fly, giving a whole new dimension to your bullet-dodging.
And so, Neon Abyss is one of the best roguelike games on Xbox Game Pass. It’s the sort of thing that will pull you in again and again; the lure of what pick-ups you might collect is just too strong.
6. Rainbow Six Extraction
Rainbow Six Extraction isn’t exactly marketed as a roguelike, but it has a lot in common with the best roguelikes on Xbox Game Pass. A first-person shooter that sees you undertaking missions after an alien apocalypse has wiped out most of Earth, you’ll likely die. A lot. There’s a lot of risk-versus-reward at play in Rainbow Six Extraction. Each mission is made up of three sections. Finish one section, and you can extract yourself, reaping the rewards. But push on to finish the second or third, and your rewards will increase exponentially. But so will your chance to die. And if you fail, or get critically injured? Well, your operator will be out of action for a while, and you’ll have to try the mission all over again.
Like the best roguelikes, Rainbow Six Extraction allows you to gain permanent upgrades, like upgraded weapons and useful pieces of tech that can help you while out in the field. It also challenges you to learn your environments and figure out the best way to take down enemies, usually leading you to replaying missions over and over until you nail it. So, while this isn’t your typical roguelike, to us it sits neatly in the genre, and its mixture of exploration, shooting and stealth means it’s one heck of an exciting game to play.