Hello, friends. It’s been a few minutes since our last list of the best Switch games in a particular genre, but I’ve been thinking recently about plugging a few gaps in the existing line-up of articles. One I’ve really wanted to cover is the roguelike/roguelite genre, which is one of the more popular types of game on the Switch and thus one that people could probably use a curated list for. I’m not going to get too bogged down in the definition of the genre here, as we could spend all day on that. If the game calls itself a roguelike or a roguelite, I’m going to consider it. As ever, the games are presented in no particular order, and are simply our favorites in the genre. Feel free to share yours in the comments.
Dead Cells ($24.99)
You’re going to see a lot of familiar titles in this list, but there’s a good reason for that: these are the cream of the crop on the system, largely irrespective of individual tastes. Dead Cells is a roguelite action game that was ported to the Switch in fine fashion. There’s a ton of content here if you dive into the DLC, but even the base game will keep you busy for a long time. An especially good choice for fans of side-scrolling action games looking for a gateway into the roguelite arena.
This is another fairly easy-to-get-into roguelite, with fun action-based gameplay and style to burn. Play as Zagreus, the son of Hades, and try to fight your way out of the underworld to Mount Olympus. You’ll be helped and hindered by a wide array of kooky characters along the way, lending this game a lot of personality that you don’t always see in games of this genre. Most players should be able to make their way through this one if they’re persistent.
I throw the term ‘roguelite’ around a lot when I talk about games of this sort on Switch, but here I’m going to drop the big word: Tangledeep is a roguelike, and it’s one of a small number of truly stellar examples on the system. It looks great, it sounds amazing, and it offers a tremendous amount of variety thanks to its various job classes to use. It’s also rather lengthy and difficult compared to some of the games on this list, so be prepared for a real uphill battle if you opt to take this one on.
Slay the Spire ($24.99)
Cards show up a lot in roguelites, and why not? They’re associated with randomized gameplay, they’re fun to collect, and you can feel like you’re playing your trap card every time you use one. Slay the Spire is an amazing roguelite deckbuilder with turn-based battles. You never quite know which cards you’re going to end up with on any given run, so you have to learn how to come up with strategies regardless of the hand you’re dealt. If that’s something that gets you excited, you’re going to love Slay the Spire.
Shiren the Wanderer: The Tower of Fortune & the Dice of Fate ($19.99)
The Switch has a few really good Japanese-style roguelikes available, but the best of the bunch stars the flagbearer for the sub-genre in Japan: Shiren the Wanderer. The first Mystery Dungeon game was a Dragon Quest spin-off, but developer Chunsoft soon turned its focus on its own original characters. It has all of the depth and challenge the series has always had, and those with fond memories of things like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon or Chocobo’s Mystery Dungeon but want something with more teeth while find Shiren to offer familiar feelings with a much more challenging quest.
The Binding of Isaac: Afterbirth+ ($39.99)
Back to the action variety of the genre, this time with the now-legendary Binding of Isaac. It’s a bit pricey compared to the other entries on this list, but it’s not like you won’t get your money’s worth out of it. This one has a top-down shooter vibe and proved to be very influential in that sense. Perhaps less influential but equally striking is its mature theme and overall level of gross-out content. This is part of roguelite royalty even today, and it only takes a few minutes of playing to understand why.
Darkest Dungeon ($24.99)
Here’s another good choice if you’re just looking to dip your toe into the roguelite pool. The consequences of failure here are relatively light, so you should be able to stubbornly push your way through no matter how good you are at this sort of thing. Darkest Dungeon is a fascinating roguelite RPG with turn-based combat and an intriguing stress system where your party members will gradually break down in various ways. This one also has a fair bit of DLC available should you like what the main game has to offer.
Enter the Gungeon ($14.99)
If you’re looking for a roguelite action game with its tongue jammed so hard into its cheek that it’s practically punching through, Enter the Gungeon has your back. This is a very intense top-down shooter that requires action chops as much as it does strategic planning. You’ll explore dungeons and collect an arsenal of offensive abilities to use against hordes of enemies and massive bosses that like to flood the screen with bullets. Very exciting, very challenging, and very fun.
Dicey Dungeons ($14.99)
This is an unusual game in a lot of ways, but it’s assuredly a good one. Play as characters transformed into dice and use dice to make your way through a devious dungeon. The battle system here is very fun, as you get a bunch of dice rolls and have to assign them to attacks and other abilities as you see fit. A little bit of the random, a little bit of strategy. The enemies can make use of dice as well, and how all of that interacts with your equipment and abilities means all kinds of unexpected things, good and bad, can happen.
Spelunky 2 ($19.99)
No list like this would be truly complete without one or the other of the Spelunky games on it. I chose the sequel but you can have tons of fun with the original too if you’re looking to save a few bucks. Either way, you’re taking an intrepid explorer into a series of caves that seem impossibly rude at first but slowly teach you how to navigate safely. Then once you’ve got the hang of things, it will find amusing new ways to kill you. A lot of the deaths in the Spelunky games can come from your own careless actions, and you can’t help but laugh about it most of the time. The more you play, the more you’ll figure things out, and the more you’ll realize just how deep all of this goes.
This is another one of those lists where I could have had thirty games and still not run out of great picks to talk about. And that is where I turn things to you, dear readers. If you’ve got a great roguelite or roguelike that isn’t on this list, please post it in the comments below so that everyone else can enjoy the fruits of your favor.
Interested in more lists? Check out our other recommendations!