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Persevere After Losing

Video games where you adventure into a harsh setting, try your hardest to survive and slowly develop your abilities but then inevitably die are often called Rogue-likes. This is because one of the first games that offered this style of play was called Rogue.

These are interesting games for families, not only because their difficult nature leads to shorter sessions, but also because they foster perseverance and coping with losing. After dying you are sent back to some sort of central village where you can choose upgrades for your next attempt. The incentive to play again once you have been killed is usually that you start with some more equipment or skills.

In this way, by belligerence and a slowly learned understanding of how the game world works and how best to survive, you incrementally get a bit further each time you play. Here are some really good roguelike games for families:

This list includes 165 games from the last 41 years, with 1,142 likes. They come from a range of different genres and play-styles and are all good games if you want to cope with losing.

DetailsList Details

PEGI Ratings: PEGI 3 to PEGI 18
ESRB Ratings: ESRB EVERYONE to ESRB MATURE 17+
Australian Ratings: G to R 18+
Genres: Action, Adventure, Brain Game, Collecting, Creative, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Physically Active, Platform, Point-and-Click, Puzzle, Race, Rhythm, Role-Play, Sequencing, Shooting, Simulation, Sports, Stealth, Strategy and Traversal
Total Likes: 1,142
 

 

Iris and the Giant

Release Date: 27/02/2020, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and Switch

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards

Iris and the Giant is a narrative strategy card game about a young girl named Iris who braves an imaginary world to tackle her inner demons and face her fears. It's a game about depression and anxiety and shows Iris coping with her life with escapism,...

Ico

Release Date: 24/09/2001, updated in 2011

Platforms: PS2 and PS3

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Ico is a running, jumping and exploring game where you rescue a princess from her evil mother. You take her hand to help her escape, guiding her along the pathways and protecting her from the hordes of enemies. Together, you jump chasms and scale walls...

Pokémon Legends: Arceus

Release Date: 28/01/2022

Platforms: Switch

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Pokémon Legends: Arceus is the latest game in the longstanding Pokémon series of role-playing games where you collect and battle Pokémon. Like those previous games, you compete in turn-based battles and try and collect as many...

Griftlands

Release Date: 14/06/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Pieces: Cards

Griftlands is an adventure game where you use cards to fight and negotiate your way through a broken-down sci-fi world. You will die or fail often, but then use your knowledge and growing deck of cards to have a better chance of survival on your next...

Elden Ring

Release Date: 25/02/2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Elden Ring is a role-play game set in a fictional world created by fantasy novelist George R. R. Martin, with a focus on combat similar to Demon's Souls and an open world with real time and weather like Zelda Breath of the Wild.

Hades

Release Date: 06/12/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Hades is a fighting game where you battle your way through dungeons to escape hell and the clutches of Hades. You play as Zagreus, the son of Hades and through the game you'll meet many recognisable greek gods like Zeus, Athena and Posiedon who will try...

Don't Starve

Release Date: 23/04/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS Vita, PS3, PS4, Switch, Wii U, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

This is an open-world survival game. Here it’s the environment and enemies, rather than other players, that you work with. You need to find and develop food, weapons and shelter to survive. It’s enjoyable because it’s hard, so repeat-plays to...

Alto's Odyssey (Series)

Release Date: 19/02/2015, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 4+ year-olds

Descend beautiful mountains, dunes and canyons on a snowboarding journey full of serenity and secrets. All you have to worry about is tapping to jump to avoid chasms, rockfall and other hazards. It’s simple and moreish due to the stunning landscapes...

Noita

Release Date: 05/10/2020

Platforms: PC

Noita is platform adventure game in a world where each and every pixel is physically simulated. This means that the tiny elements that make up the landscape and characters have their own properties that: melt, burn, evaporate, explode, flow, float,...

Minit

Release Date: 28/08/2018

Platforms: Android, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Minit is retro puzzle game where you complete small tasks in within a 60 second time frame. You must dodge or fight foes, cut through the undergrowth, explore your world and find keys and swords. You start from the same place for each of your 60 second...

Death Stranding

Release Date: 08/11/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 16+ year-olds

Death Stranding is an exploration game where you deliver supplies across a vast shattered, post-apocalyptic America while protecting and caring for a baby. It's intentionally slow, sometimes excruciatingly so, which means you carefully consider your...

Dicey Dungeons

Release Date: 13/08/2019, updated in 2020

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and iOS

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Pieces: Cards and Dice

Dicey Dungeons is video game adventure where you build a deck of cards to represent characters, attacks and weapons. Here the novelty is that these cards combine with dice rolls to determine who wins battles.

Granny

Release Date: 24/11/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, PC and iOS

Granny is a horror adventure game where you are locked in a house by a creepy grandma. You wake up in a dark room and have to carefully work your way through the house to escape without being caught. It's noted for the tense gameplay and jump scares.

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach

Release Date: 16/12/2021, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach is a survival-horror game where you explore a vast pizzeria and shopping centre while hunted by a murderer. In addition to continuing the intricate and multi-layered story of the previous games, this is the first...

Phasmophobia

Release Date: 18/09/2020

Platforms: Mac and PC

Phasmophobia (Phasmophobia VR) is a horror survival game where you and your team investigate paranormal activity. It focuses on creating a realistic world built to get your heart racing, through the interactive ghost hunting equipment and teamwork.

Geometry Dash

Release Date: 13/08/2013, updated in 2017

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Geometry Dash is a running, jumping game. It features over 20 stages where you play as a customisable small cube, which you used to dodge 2D obstacles to the rhythm of electronic music using a single button to control the cube. If you hit any of the...

One Hour One Life

Release Date: 27/02/2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

This is a civilisation survival game where each player lives a whole life in an hour of play and then passes away. Born as a baby into the care of anonymous other online players, you initially depend on them for food. Quickly growing, you can soon fend...

Splatty's Adventure (Dreams)

Release Date: 25/04/2019, updated in 2021

Platforms: PS4 and PS5

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Splatty’s Adventure is a running, jumping and fighting game where you play a small (4-year-old) hero who must escape an oversized bedroom and get on your way to save the world from destruction. Like stepping into a Toy Story film, but here you wield a...

Enlisted

Release Date: 10/11/2020, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Enlisted is an online shooting game set in historically accurate World War II battle. You play a squad of soldiers and can switch between them as you take on other players doing the same in large online battles. It's unusual not only for its historical...

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (Series)

Release Date: 15/07/2003, updated in 2021

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, Switch, Xbox and iOS

The Knights of the Old Republic (KOTOR) is a series of hard narrative-driven role-playing and combat games set in the Star Wars universe, 4000 years before Luke Skywalker and the Empire. You fight enemies and discover secrets by talking to the...

Kingdom (Series)

Release Date: 21/10/2015

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

In this retro-look strategy game, you must defend your town from the nightly attack of zombies as you develop your technology and civilisation day-by-day. But unlike other tower-defence games – where you set up defences and fend off waves of attacking...

Star Wars: Republic Commando

Release Date: 28/02/2005, updated in 2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Star Wars: Republic Commando is a shooting game set in the Star Wars universe, where you complete missions as part of an elite squad of Clones. Still regarded as one of the best Star Wars games over 16 years after its initial release, its fast-paced...

Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos

Release Date: 23/02/2021

Platforms: PC and Switch

Rogue Heroes: Ruins of Tasos is a fighting game where you battle Titans and explore the dungeons of an expansive over-world. It's unusual because it combines the homemaking of Stardew Valley with classic Zelda style adventures and lets you play with up...

Bad North

Release Date: 31/10/2018, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 10+ year-olds

Bad North is a stylised strategy fighting game. You control an army defending an island and must train and develop your forces efficiently. The simple visuals and knife-edge Viking combat along with the jeopardy of losing precious troops make this a lot...

Dead Cells

Release Date: 10/05/2017, updated in 2018

Platforms: Android, Mac, PC, PS4, Switch, Xbox One and iOS

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Dead Cells is a running, jumping and fighting game where you are escaping a prison. In a bright pixelated world you must accurately time attacks and dodges to defeat a wide range of enemies. It's intentionally hard, and you will die a lot. But each time...

Hitman (Series)

Release Date: 01/01/2000, updated in 2021

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Hitman 3 is a stealth game where you take on assassination missions and then figure out how to execute them. The dynamic situations you enter unfold as you play and you can try different approaches.

Monster Prom

Release Date: 27/04/2018, updated in 2020

Platforms: PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Monster Prom is a role-playing game set in a high school for monsters where you are looking for love. You make choices about the dating-focused narrative by exploring the campus and talking to different monster characters. It has some light...

BattleBit Remastered

Release Date: 20/02/2022

Platforms: PC

BattleBit Remastered is a multiplayer shooting game where teams of over 100 players compete in environments where almost everything is destructible. The simple visuals and fragility of architecture result in opportunities to launch surprise attacks, and...

Sifu

Release Date: 22/02/2022, updated in 2022

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5 and Switch

Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds

Sifu is a martial arts fighting game with a flowing control system and ageing protagonist. You fight with Kung-Fu combat designed with impact and authenticity in mind.

Unrailed!

Release Date: 23/09/2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 9+ year-olds

Unrailed! is a co-op strategy game where you work with friends to build a train line across endless landscapes. Along with finding the resources to build track, bridges and tunnels you need to deal with local inhabitants, upgrade your train and watch...

Dwarf Fortress

Release Date: 08/08/2006

Platforms: Mac and PC

Dwarf Fortress is a longstanding strategy game set in a fantasy world where you control a group of dwarves wanting to construct a wealthy fortress. It's unusual not only for it's text-based appearance but for it's expansive scope, and intricately...

Reigns (Series)

Release Date: 11/08/2016

Platforms: Amazon Fire, Android, Mac, PC, Switch and iOS

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Take charge of a kingdom, one decision at a time. Each choice is presented to you as a playing card with some advice or a question from one of the 38 different characters. Swipe left or right to make a decision that will impact the church, people,...

Deep Rock Galactic

Release Date: 13/05/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Skill Rating: 12+ year-olds

Deep Rock Galactic is shooting game where you play a team of dwarves in a totally destructible world. You explore caves and battle enemy hordes that are different each time you play (like Left 4 Dead).

Curious Expedition (Series)

Release Date: 19/05/2015, updated in 2020

Platforms: Mac, PC, PS4, Switch and Xbox One

Pieces: Dice

Curious Expedition is an expedition simulation, in the late 19th century. You join historical people to explore a world map to gain fame, science and treasures. Each time you set out the world is different, with unique challenges requiring particular...

Death's Door

Release Date: 20/07/2021

Platforms: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S

Death's Door is a noir adventure game where you play a crow whose job it is to reap the souls of the dead. When one goes missing you must fight, run and jump through a fantasy world to get it back. It's a simple combat game at heart, but the unusual...

Demon's Souls (Series)

Release Date: 04/10/2011

Platforms: PS3 and PS5

Demons Souls is first a series of fighting and exploration games recently re-released on PlayStation 5. From third-person perspective you navigate interconnected locations while fighting enemies with weapons and magic. Larger boss enemy encounters...

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon (Series)

Release Date: 17/11/2005, updated in 2020

Platforms: 3DS and 2DS, DS, Switch and Wii

Skill Rating: 7+ year-olds

Pokémon Mystery Dungeon is a series of fighting games where you control different cartoon creatures as they make their way through randomly-generated dungeons, defeating enemies and adding them to your team. It's a simple roguelike game where you take...

Dome Keeper

Release Date: 27/09/2022

Platforms: Mac and PC

Skill Rating: 11+ year-olds

Dome Keeper (formerly called Dome Romantik) is a strategy game where you mine to collect resources in between defending the dome that protects your world from terrible monsters. It's a hard game and when your dome is destroyed you die permanently and...

Due Process

Release Date: 20/10/2020

Platforms: PC

Due Process is a tactical shooting game that focuses on both the planning and execution of missions. You are presented with a unique mission where teams of five either have to defend or attack a particular location. Spending time talking through tactics...

Mortal Shell

Release Date: 18/08/2020

Platforms: PC, PS4 and Xbox One

Mortal Shell is a fighting role-playing video with difficult battles. It invites you to explore and fight your way through a shattered world where the remains of humanity wither and rot.

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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