Roguelikes are an almost ubiquitous style of game now, but VR roguelikes are a little harder to come by.
Thanks to the likes of The Binding of Isaac, Into the Breach, Slay the Spire, and even Dead Cells, you can’t go five minutes without finding a game that is more willing to kill you off than help you. Well, that’s the case on consoles and PC anyway. VR roguelikes aren’t as common, which is odd because pairing the two together makes perfect sense. It’s not just because roguelikes are an excellent genre though; there are a couple of solid reasons to herald them as the true killer apps of virtual reality.
For starters, you don’t always have a huge amount of time to play VR; it’s one of the things that makes games like Beat Saber and Pistol Whip so perfect. Well, the same is true of a roguelike, if you’ve only got half an hour, then you can simply jump into one to see how far you can get. If you’ve got all night, then you’ll probably “one more run” yourself into the early hours. Not only this, but they make for excellent showcase games if you’re trying to convert your friends to the good words of VR. Lord knows we all are, so chuck them into In Death and the lack of sleep will probably lead them into our cult.
In the spirit of celebrating VR roguelikes, here is an alphabetical list of the 10 best we’ve seen so far!
A Legend of Luca
A game set firmly within mythology, you play Luca and have been awakened by the goddess Diana. Your aim is to escape a procedurally generated dungeon and try to destroy the god you face at the end of each run. It’s got loads of upgrades to find, different classes, and a fair few weapons to try out too. Not only that, but it makes good use of 360 tracking and will have you killing demons by the dozen.
Oculus Rift Home Only
Not a VR Brooklyn Nine-Nine experience, but a retro-looking cyberspace FPS that allows you to journey through bright neon-lit rooms and fight off wireframe enemies. It’s fast-paced, visually stunning and I don’t mean in the usual term, it’s unlike anything else in VR. It’s also good fun and incredibly hard. Oh, and there are giant cat heads that try and kill you, good if you’re that way inclined.
Compound (Read Our Coverage)
Another oddly retro-looking game, but this one harks back to classic Doom, at least when it comes to the environments you’ll be running through. The world is randomized, but the fact that you’ll be getting shot at definitely isn’t. You have to keep on your toes if you want to survive this rather tough FPS game, but you’ll feel great if you manage it. Plus, once again, it’s incredibly walking through a visual style like this.
Dungeons & Treasure VR
I promise I’ll stop waxing on about how cool graphics in VR are, but not yet. Dungeons & Treasure is a voxel-art game that has you smashing your way through enemies, bosses, and everything else the world can throw at you. Plus, it’s multiplayer, which means you can team up with friends or randoms to take on the trials and earn the treasures.
A very different entry to the ones that have come before, Everspace has you flying through space trying to survive in a universe that is full of surprises, surprises that want to kill you. It’s perhaps the best-looking game on this list, and it’s an incredible game. There’s also a solid story to follow through in your runs, which makes it great for those looking for more than just gameplay.
From Other Suns (Read Our Review)
Oculus Rift Home Only
Another space-based VR roguelike, but this one has you controlling someone on a ship, not the ship itself. That means shooting people with dual space pistols and stuff, and that never really gets old. It’s got multiplayer so you can fight off the unknown with friends, and it’s got more space enemies than you can shake a space stick at. Just keep in mind that you’re probably going to die.
In Death (Read Our Review)
SteamVR, Rift Home, PSVR
In Death has you fighting through purgatory having been forsaken by all in a horrific afterlife. You only have your trusty bow to rely on, and you’ll have to fight through hordes of teleporting archers, demonic babies, and horrific ghosts to make it all the way through the game. It’s one of the best archery experiences in VR, and it’s endlessly replayable thanks to its brutal difficulty and moreish gameplay.
Node (Currently Unlisted on Steam)
This slick-looking FPS will have you making your way through randomly generated worlds to try and become the ultimate soldier. It’s an incredibly pretty game thanks to the Unreal Engine, and there’s lots to do as well. Just keep an eye out for the masses of robots that want to test your mettle; otherwise you’ll never become the best.
The Persistence (Read Our Review)
Horror and VR are a natural pairing; after all, jump scares are so much more effective when you can’t look away. The Persistence has you playing as a cloned staff member aboard a space station that has been corrupted by a black hole. You have to try and restart the systems to escape the black hole, but you aren’t alone. There are plenty of other cloning machines all around the ship, and they’re malfunctioning, meaning they’re constantly making horrifically botched clones for you to fight against. It’s all pretty terrifying, but hey, sometimes you just need to get that heart rate up.
Until You Fall (Read Our Review)
SteamVR, Rift Home
Sometimes what you want from a VR game is a good melee experience. There are a few out there, but the best VR roguelike one is Until You Fall. Set in a vibrant but doomed world, you have to duel your way through corrupted beings to try and save the world. It’s got an excellent blocking system, one of the most satisfying weapon-summoning animations around, and an all-around great amount of customisation. This is, for my money, one of the best games in VR, and the fact that it’s a roguelike just makes it all the sweeter.
What are your favorite VR roguelikes so far? Let us know down in the comments below!