I am going to get a rogue-like/lite/whatever on my Switch. It will be my first in the genre. I am not good at games. I clearly need help


#1

Hello.

I am not great at games. I used to be good, but I am getting old now and don’t have the reflexes I once had. I also have a young baby keeping me up all hours, so my thought processes are also not what they were. Where I once would start a game on hard, I now am on default difficulty levels, and due to my limited gaming time I am loathe to get stuck on a level repeatedly (as an example, I really liked Sonic Mania until Flying Fortress, where I died four times and could not face going through that first act a fifth time so have not been back. I know it’s good, but Mario and the Rabbids keep calling and I can actually advance in that game currently.)

With that set-up in mind, I have been thinking about getting a Rogue-like/lite (dunno the difference, not really bothered) game for a while. I have a holiday coming up in a few weeks, and the Boy may give me a few hours over the week to really give one of these a shot (alongside Rabbids of course) They have been doing the rounds for several years now and I have always avoided them, and I feel I should give one of them a spin.

I was in the Neurovoider AMA a few days back and those guys seemed cool, and they specifically addressed the difficulty in this genre of games and said they felt it was an average challenge for gamers. So I am tempted by that, which is out today along with Binding, but there is actually a fair few games out there in the genre (though I appreciate they may not be the typical rogue-like games).

My research/answers from other people have so far got me to this list, in order of likely purchase:

Neurovoider - Not as hard as the others, not the most expensive game in the world as a tester. Seems to have generated some excited buzz for its Switch release. Chaps on the Reddit AMA seem thoroughly decent and plan to release free updates in the future
Ironcast - I like Match 3, seems to be an interesting spin on things, again not hugely expensive
Binding of Isaac - best bang for my buck, but it is a lot of bucks. Most well-rounded of the games, but also pretty damn hard. Maybe not the first one to get. Maybe it totally should be the first one to get? Conflicted.
Tumbleseed- New update had made the learning curve easier for beginners.
GoNNer - Wildly different views on it’s difficulty
Has Been Heroes - as GoNNer, also wildly different views on if it is any good or not.

I did see mention of Quest of Dungeons but either I am a but dimb, or it is not on the UK/Europe eshop.

Now I know most/all of these are re-releases from previous platforms so I am assuming you guys have had experience with some/most/all of the above games. Plus any I may have missed. Enter the Gungeon seems to get a lot of love, but no release date on the as far as I can see for the Switch.

So, any views given my set-up regarding difficulty, time available etc?

Thanks


Update - Due to a Paypal deal with the eShop Binding would be £30 (rather than £35) but with Neuro being £12 or so, there is still a large difference there for something I could just bounce hard off when I die for the 20th time (yes, I know dying is the point, but dying with little progress happening).


#3

I haven’t actually played any of those games, but since I really like roguelike/lites and no one else has chimed in yet, I just wanted to pop in here and encourage you to check one out.

I’d say you should definitely pick a game that you think looks fun to replay continuously, since the purpose of making games with procedurally-generated content and levels is to encourage replaying. I’ve never come close to beating Spelunky or Crypt of the Necrodancer, but they’re both a lot of fun and I don’t think my enjoyment of those games is diminished by not having seen all their content (yet). I really like platformers and rhythm games, so it makes sense that those two games are among my favorite roguelikes (and games of any genre), so if you like normal Match 3 games, Ironcast could be a great fit for you (though I’d be a bit concerned that it may get repetitive since it has relatively little procedural generation). Reviews for Ironcast suggest that success in it is tied quite severely to randomization which is both bad (you should always learn something from a loss in a roguelike) and good (gambling mechanics are often maligned but they can be a lot of fun if you enjoy the core game; plus, highly random games benefit novice players by reducing the extent to which skill is the deciding factor in success).

One of the benefits of a roguelike or roguelite is that you’ll never be “stuck on a level” in the traditional sense: you’ll never need to repeatedly try the exact same challenge, since the game changes on each attempt. However, the challenges you are given can potentially be fairly similar and there’s a potential for frustration if you’re stuck attempting variations on a challenge if all the variations are too similar. The game needs to strike a balance between predictability (so you can learn skills) and novelty (so each run feels like a new experience).

Most (all?) of the games you seem to be interested in are roguelites as opposed to roguelikes, so they’ll have some persistent progression which helps keep things novel (although these progression systems are less important than you might think, since the “progression” that comes from learning a game’s systems is incredibly powerful). However, roguelites are balanced with the expectation that you’ll be replaying the game with upgrades, so you definitely shouldn’t be discouraged when your first runs end in failure.

From what I saw of Tumbleseed, I wouldn’t recommend it as a first roguelite, even if its difficulty has been rebalanced. Each new game plays too similarly and although you definitely would get better at it and make progress over time, that progress is tied largely to becoming better with a tricky control scheme as opposed to learning things about the game world or figuring out how to play with interacting systems which are, IMO, more rewarding skills to master.

Neurovoider looks like a solid pick, and you can’t really go wrong with Binding of Isaac if you’re not put off by the art style, theme, or price.


#4

Of those listed the only one I’ve played is Binding of Isaac. I love it!

The original (Rebirth is actually a remake) was actually my first rouglite / like and I fell in love with the genre. As someone who is also not good at games rougelikes take some time commitment and it’s probably going to feel like you’re dying without making any progress sometimes, but when you finally feel yourself getting better at the game it really does pay off. Isaac takes some of the edge off of losing for me because you’re always going to get a different combo of items every run, and seeing how these items interact with one another is the main reason I fell in love with that game.

That said, if you’ve got issues with body horror, scatological humor or religious (and what some would consider blasphemous) imagery then you should really steer clear. Isaac has all of those in spades. Sorry I couldn’t give more specific comparisons with the other games! I’d never actually heard of Neurovoider, and it looks pretty rad, I’ll probably have to give that a try at some point.


#5

Thanks guys, I appreciate the responses. It seems to be a straight choice between Binding and Neuro and I think I will, for once, splash the cash and go for the one a fair few people have played and get Binding. I will put Neuro on my Watchlist though as it does seem very interesting, and I will with Ironcast as well. If they drop below £10 at any point I will snap them up. The others on the list I will forget about for now. By the sounds of it, if Binding clicks then that and Rabbids will keep me going until Christmas anyway!