ROGUES ROGUES EVERYWHERE but there is unfortunately a more limited selection for Macs
October 12, 2011 4:34 PM   Subscribe

I need roguelike or roguelike-like games that will work on OS X Lion or an iPhone 4, maaaaybe a PS3 but I'm not looking to spend much money. I have some optional preferences.

I just blew through The Binding of Isaac, beat it twelve times including with ???, and only have five more items to find. I'm going to need something else to play once this is over because I still have the roguelike (and roguelike-like) bug.

I'm not picky except that it must work on OS X Lion or an iPhone and maybe a PS3. Unfortunately, Nethack no longer works on OS X Lion, so my old standby doesn't seem to be an option. By roguelike and roguelike-like, I mean something where there are randomly-generated dungeons and lots of items to equip, and is usually pretty difficult (death is permanent, or there's at least a permadeath option).

- A GUI would be nice, even a lame one, but I can do without.

- It does not need to be turn-based, hence roguelike-like.

- One thing I don't like about Nethack is that you really do need to get some specific items to have any hope of winning, since there are monsters that will instant-kill you otherwise; sometimes this feels really tedious. One thing I like about The Binding of Isaac is that you can actually make due with anything you find, it's just harder if you only find bad stuff. If you can actually win the game based on skill, not luck, without finding ideal items, please note this as that will greatly appeal to me! (In Nethack you can technically win even without certain items if you're very lucky, i.e. you keep winning the rolls against instant-death. That doesn't really make the items optional in my mind.)

- I tend not to like first person controls, especially shooters, but I'll make exceptions for certain games (Bioshock) if they're interesting enough. Third-person I like.

- Games that can be won in less than two hours are pretty neato. I've found that in The Binding of Isaac but not much else.

- The Binding of Isaac
- Nethack
- Angband (been a long time, if there's a Mac port I'm willing to play it again)
- 100 Rogues on iPhone (fun, but not many items)
- Diablo and Diablo II, if you tell me to play the D3 beta I will cry because DON'T YOU THINK I WISH I HAD A BETA KEY, DON'T YOU THINK
- Torchlight
- Kings Field I, II, and whatever that one after it was; granted these aren't randomly generated OR turn-based, but there are items and they're brutal enough that they hold the same appeal

I'm willing to be a @ symbol in other games, Angband and Nethack are just the only roguelikes I ever really tried out.
posted by Nattie to Grab Bag (17 answers total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: If you're not playing Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup you are missing out on the best the genre has to offer.
posted by murphy slaw at 4:42 PM on October 12, 2011 [4 favorites]

Desktop Dungeons is pretty great! Games usually last 5-15 minutes, but you can progress to harder levels with more items, etc.
posted by Spacelegoman at 4:55 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Demon's Souls and Dark Souls are PS3 games by the same people as King's Field, and have been described as their spiritual successor.

They're definitely not roguelikes, and don't meet any of your criteria except brutally difficult, and superb.
posted by Magnakai at 5:00 PM on October 12, 2011

iphone: Powder
Mac: Dwarf Fortress...better than DCSS imho, however it's not a roguelike in the classic sense of the term.
posted by AltReality at 5:05 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

A couple of actual Roguelikes that I've played and liked:

Sword of Fargoal - iPhone
Shiren The Wanderer - SNES (but easily emulatable)

I'd also recommend reading this column called @play at I haven't looked at it for a couple of years, but it's really well written and the author seriously knows his stuff. You might find something interesting in there.
posted by Magnakai at 5:07 PM on October 12, 2011

Moria is available via MacPorts... but you'll need a numeric keypad.
posted by pompomtom at 5:31 PM on October 12, 2011

How about the millions* of angband variants? Most of them can either run in the terminal or with a runtime (with crude graphics.)

posted by modernserf at 5:51 PM on October 12, 2011

I'd also recommend reading this column called @play at I haven't looked at it for a couple of years, but it's really well written and the author seriously knows his stuff. You might find something interesting in there.
posted by Magnakai at 5:07 PM on October 12 [+] [!]

JHarris to the courtesy phone...
posted by Sebmojo at 5:52 PM on October 12, 2011

Rogue Touch is a simplified roguelike for iOS. Great for casual play.
posted by jedicus at 5:54 PM on October 12, 2011

Seconding Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. It's amazingly deep, and the GUI is very well thought out, eliminating a lot of the tedium found in Nethack, Angband, etc.

It's so great that Rogue Touch appears to have lifted its monster graphics, judging by the screenshots
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 6:09 PM on October 12, 2011

Hey, definitely give Angband another go! It's under strong current development, and has somewhat recently had another detailed version update.

There's a small but very active community shepherding the continuing development as well. It's quite healthy & thriving for a 20-year-old game!

I can also highly recommend the Extra Sound Effects Pack that may also be found on that page.
posted by Aquaman at 7:01 PM on October 12, 2011

posted by grobstein at 8:20 PM on October 12, 2011

Stone Soup is great - something that hasn't been mentioned yet is that it's specifically designed to be finishable without spoilers (which can't be said for nethack).

A game I've been enjoying lately is Prospector. It's a very neat space exploration/mining/trading/combat/etc. game which combines roguelike elements with the kind of open-universe freedom of something like Elite. It's excellent, very replayable and in active development. What's more, it's incredible atmospheric. Play it with the Bladerunner soundtrack in the background and enjoy your new life in space!
posted by Ted Maul at 2:47 AM on October 13, 2011

The roguelike-like which Isaac reminded me most of was the excellent Wonderswan homebrew title Dicing Knight. It's not turn based; it has Zelda-like controls, shooter-inspired enemies, and bosses.

Physical copies are rare, so you'll probably need to emulate it.

Also seconding Shiren, Brogue and Crawl.
posted by seikleja at 4:08 AM on October 13, 2011

You could always telnet into if you want to bring back the old flame. Additionally, DCSS even has a GUI version you can play via your browser, at
posted by duomo at 10:02 AM on October 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you so much for all the answers! Right now I only have the first one marked as "best" but that's because I tried it first and have not played anything else since. Oh my god. It improves on Nethack in a lot of ways, and I really like the GUI and the autoexplore feature. Also like the "learn by doing" experience feature; it reminds me of Dragonrealms, a MUD I used to play. It seems much less dependent on specific items, too, though so far I'm pretty bad at it compared to Nethack, but I guess that's to be expected at first.

This list will keep me busy for years.
posted by Nattie at 11:47 AM on October 24, 2011

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