Excellent Free Roguelike Games

Last Updated on December 10, 2018

Roguelike is a sub-genre of role-playing games. It literally means “a game like Rogue”. Rogue is a dungeon crawling video game, first released in 1980 by developers Michel Toy, Glenn Wichman and Ken Arnold. The game stood out from the crowd by being fiendishly addictive. The game’s goal was to retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, hidden deep in the 26th level, and ascend back to the top, all set in a world based on Dungeons & Dragons.

The game is rightly considered to be a classic, formidably difficult yet compelling addictive. While it was popular in college and university campuses, it wasn’t a big seller. At the time of its release, Rogue wasn’t published under an open source license, which led to many clones being developed.

There is no exact definition of a roguelike, but this type of game typically has the following characteristics:

  • High fantasy narrative background
  • Procedural level generation. Most of the game world is generated by the game for every new gameplay session. This is meant to encourage replayability
  • Turn-based dungeon exploration and combat
  • Tile-based graphics that are randomly generated
  • Random conflict outcomes
  • Permanent death – death works realistically, once you’re gone, you’re gone
  • High difficulty

This article compiles a wide selection of roguelike games available for Linux. If you enjoy addictive gameplay with real intensity, I heartily recommended downloading these games. Don’t be put off by the primitive graphics offered by many of the games, you’ll soon forget the visuals once you get immersed in playing. Remember, in roguelikes game mechanics tend to be the primary focus, with graphics being a welcome, but not essential, addition.

There are 16 games recommended here. All of the games are available to download without charge, and almost all are released under an open source license.

Roguelike Games
Dungeon Crawl Stone SoupA continuation of Linley’s Dungeon Crawl
ProspectorRoguelike game set in a science fiction universe
Dwarf FortressAdventure and Dwarf Fortress modes
NetHackWonderfully silly, and addictive Dungeons and Dragons-style adventure game
AngbandAlong the lines of Rogue and NetHack. It is derived from the games Moria and Umoria
Ancient Domains of MysteryVery mature Roguelike game
Tales of Maj’EyalFeatures tactical turn-based combat and advanced character building
UnNetHackInspired fork of NetHack
Hydra SlayerRoguelike game based on mathematical puzzles
Cataclysm DDAPost-apocalyptic roguelike, set in the countryside of fictional New England
BrogueA direct descendant of Rogue
Goblin HackInspired by the likes of NetHack, but faster with fewer keys
Ascii Sector2D trading and space flight simulator with roguelike action
SLASH'EMSuper Lotsa Added Stuff Hack - Extended Magic
Everything Is FodderSeven Day Roguelike competition entry
WoozoolikeA simple space exploration roguelike for 7DRL 2017.
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Serge Ulankin
Serge Ulankin
5 years ago

Also Pixel Dungeon, Isleward, those two are really well-made and quite popular too, perfectly playable on Linux.