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 metroidvanias to card-based games, 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.
1. Darkest Dungeon
If dark and foreboding roguelike games are your thing, you really ought to play Darkest Dungeon. A modern classic, Darkest Dungeon sees players travel through forsaken lands, battling against fearsome foes as well as the mere stresses of trying to stay alive. Sure, the battles may be tough, but you’re also your own worst enemy here: you’ll be fighting against stress, disease, starvation and more as you fight to get as far as you can.
It’s a rather grim game, then, and getting everything to go right for you in Darkest Dungeon often feels like an insurmountable challenge. But its turn-based card-based battles are engaging, and the feeling of not knowing what awaits around any corner constantly keeps you on your toes.
2. Dead Cells
Inspired by classic metroidvania games, there’s a whole lot to love about Dead Cells. Of course, unlike the likes of Castlevania, this is a roguelike, and so permanent death is always hanging over you. Still, it’s the type of game that’s going to keep you playing and coming back for more. Thanks to permanent unlocks, like new abilities that allow you to access new areas, you always have a sense of progression – even if death does come quite easily.
Boasting gorgeous pixel art, a huge interconnected world and more than 150 weapons and spells to find, every time you play Dead Cells it can feel quite different. We love its sense of freedom and exploration: each time you play, you’ll likely to find a new secret room or hidden passage. It’s undoubtedly one of the best roguelike games you can play on Xbox Game Pass, so don’t miss it.
3. Loop Hero
There’s nothing else really like Loop Hero, and it’s for that reason that it earns a place on our list of best roguelike games on Xbox Game Pass. This is a card-based roguelike like no other. You see, your cards aren’t to be used in combat; instead, you use them to lay out the world around you. Different types of environment tiles will determine what sorts of enemies you’ll encounter, as well as what kinds of bonuses you’ll get.
Keep moving around the same loop, with the world changing around you. Die, and you’ll go back to your camp – although you’ll hopefully have secured some resources which can be used for useful permanent upgrades. This is the type of game that will keep you coming back for more… and more… and more.
4. Vampire Survivors
You’re probably well aware of Vampire Survivors by now: this roguelike auto-shooter has taken the world by storm, and if you’ve played it, it’s not hard to see why. It’s very simple: you move your character through the world, collecting gems to earn experience. As you move, your weapons will auto-fire, and as you level up, you’ll gain new abilities and improve the ones you already have.
It’s very easy to get swamped by enemies, though, and death comes very quickly. But you’ll be motivated to jump straight back in, desperate to get that bit further next time. You’ll unlock permanent upgrades, too, like bonuses to your health and damage, and unlockable characters offer their own bonuses and weapons.
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.