5 Roguelite Hidden Gems You (Probably) Missed – Part 3

UPDATE: Fury Unleashed was a few reviews shy of 1,000 when this article was first written. It now has over 1,000 reviews.

And we are back with another edition of 5 Roguelite Hidden Gems You (Probably) Missed, an article where we feature awesome roguelite games that might not be as popular as Dead Cells or Slay the Spire, but they’re just as fun to play.

By this point, I think we could make this a monthly thing so we could feature more hidden gems that are out there waiting to be discovered.

Again, the list will NOT be in any particular order so if your favorite game went first, please do not curse me or steal my lunch or whatever.

What are the criteria for a game to be a “Hidden Gem”?

For a game to be considered a “hidden gem”, we are using the following criteria:

  • Since we’re not able to see how many copies the game has been sold on steam, we’re going for the next best thing, which is the number of reviews. The game has to have 1,000 reviews or less.
  • Since some newer games may have less than 1,000 reviews but would likely break that barrier, we are only including games that are at least 6 months old, so games released after November 4, 2021 will not be included in this list.

Dandy Ace

Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4

5 Roguelite Hidden Gems You (Probably) Missed - Part 3 - Dandy Ace

Ever since I’ve played the first Diablo game, I generally liked action games played in an isometric setting. Games like Transistor, Bastion, and most recently, Hades, have all been enjoyable. I know they’re all from Supergiant Games, but you have to admit, each one of them is excellent in its own way. There is another isometric action roguelite that I like that is just as good that is not from Supergiant Games: Dandy Ace.

I’m very impressed with the action in the game and how well the controls are implemented. There are instances in the game where it looks like a bullet hell game, but you are able to dodge them with the skills you have.

Also implemented in this game that is not in other games is the ability to turn a skill into a passive skill. You can set up to 4 skills in the game, and when you manage to get a new skill, you can either replace an existing skill you have or set it as a sub-skill, gaining its passive bonus. This opens up an incredibly wide array of combinations as to which skills and passives you’ll use.

One thing that’s overlooked is the game’s presentation. Most roguelite games have a dark undertone to them. Dead Cells starts with you being a prisoner trying to escape, you guard the last remaining bastions in the world now full of monsters in The Last Spell, and in The Binding of Isaac, Isaac is about to be sacrificed before escaping the dungeon his mom locked him in. Dandy Ace is so different from the other roguelites in that the plot is a lighthearted one. No end of the world, no illegal experiments, no nothing. Just a disgruntled magician trapping his rival Dandy Ace in a magic world because he wants to be the best, but deep inside, he also admires him. Roguelites are not known to have great stories, but I feel this plot is good enough for what it is, and a breath of fresh air for being a game with a story not centered on death and decay.

Get it here: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4

Fury Unleashed

Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, GOG.com

5 Roguelite Hidden Gems You (Probably) Missed - Part 3 - Fury Unleashed

Fury Unleashed ALMOST did not make it on this list, currently sitting at 993 reviews, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it breaks the threshold soon. Still, this game could still be regarded as a hidden gem as I feel it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves.

One of the things that immediately stand out when you start playing this game is its comic book feel. It’s like a comic book come to life, and I’m not just referring to the dialog before the level starts. This can also be seen in the tooltips and the layout of the minimap. It’s a pretty neat aesthetic that gives the game a ton of personality.

At the start of the game, you’re given a few tips on how to traverse through levels, and one thing I appreciate is that the game doesn’t give you a ton of information right from the get-go. It eases you in slowly but surely, then before you know it, the real challenge begins once you’re used to the controls.

Speaking of challenges, the platforming mechanics are excellent in this game. This includes the “combo” mechanic, where you gain more ink (which is, again, staying true to that “comic book” theme) the more enemies you kill within a certain timeframe without getting hit.

Get it here: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4, GOG.com

Iris and the Giant

Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch, GOG.com

5 Roguelite Hidden Gems You (Probably) Missed - Part 3 - Iris and the Giant

Deckbuilders are just meant to be associated with roguelites, and with all the amazing and popular roguelite deckbuilders out there like Slay the Spire, Monster Train, and Inscryption, there are others that are excellent in their own way but didn’t achieve mainstream success like the ones mentioned. The perfect examples of these are the ones in our previous iterations of roguelite hidden gems, like Vault of the Void and Yamafuda! 2nd station, and this next game which has the potential to be a sleeper hit: Iris and the Giant.

Honestly, the game’s title sounds more like a movie than a deckbuilder game, and I think the devs purposefully named it as such as the game has a unique feel to it; like you’re experiencing what Iris is going through while playing a roguelite deckbuilder. That opening scene surprised me with its amazing narration and voice acting and sets the mood of what could potentially be an emotion-filled game which is rare not only for a roguelite game, let alone a roguelite deckbuilder.

Speaking of deckbuilder, the game takes an innovative twist to the genre. Once you use a card, it’s gone forever, and once you run out of cards, the game is over. It adds an amazing depth to the strategy as you will need to balance card usage when trying to eliminate enemies. You do get some cards back by clicking on treasure chests though.

Another feature not commonly present in roguelite deckbuilders is the level-up system. Iris levels up once he eliminates enough enemies, giving her bonuses like lifesteal, harder enemies for better rewards, or a free chest. You also get “memories” in some of your runs that both progress Iris’ story as well as unlock permanent upgrades.

Get it here: Steam, Nintendo Switch, GOG.com

Skelly Selest

Platform: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4

5 Roguelite Hidden Gems You (Probably) Missed - Part 3 - Skelly Selest

Admittedly, this game wasn’t even on my radar when I was making this list not because I consider it a hidden gem. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve heard a lot about Skelly Selest back then that I thought it was a big hit, then to my surprise, it only had a few reviews in its name. Shame, really, because this game is excellent!

Skelly Selest is a game with beautifully-made pixel art similar to Spirits Abyss (which we’ll likely feature here soon). The gameplay is not out of the ordinary: you go room after room killing waves of enemies using an ax and a gun that only gains bullets if you manage to kill enemies with said ax.

The game is difficult, but that’s what makes it a great game because it’s one you can pick up and play in quick bursts, around 2-5 minutes per run, and try again later. That being said, similar to other “difficult” roguelite games, once you get acclimated to the controls, the game gets a bit easier and the runs get deeper.

An unexpected (but very welcome) addition to this game is “Clashful Cards”, a card game that has striking similarities with Final Fantasy VIII‘s Triple Triad. Basically, you drop a card anywhere on the board, and if it is next to an enemy card, the cards will clash and the one with the higher number on the position facing each other will take over the other card, and once all cards have been played, the one in possession of most cards on the board wins.

You get at least two amazing game modes offering completely different ways of play, and with a full price of just $4.99, there really isn’t a reason why shouldn’t pick this game up.

Get it here: Steam, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Playstation 4

Strike Buster Prototype

Platform: Steam

5 Roguelite Hidden Gems You (Probably) Missed - Part 3 - Strike Buster Prototype

As I was building the list for this set, I looked at Strike Buster Prototype and noticed that the game is already out of Early Access, so I expected a very presentable game. Unfortunately, the start was everything but, from the snappy screen to the badly looped music (even though the music is actually pretty good). It was a pretty rough start. Thankfully, I powered through the initial exterior and found what’s inside, revealing the reason why the game currently has a “Very Positive” 89% rating.

For starters, the game has no story to speak of. Most of the time, that might seem to be negative, but it’s actually not a deterrent in this case, as this means you forgo all the cutscenes or dialogue in between and go straight into the action.

Speaking of action, the controls in the game are pretty simplistic, and if there is one thing gaming history has taught us, it’s that your game doesn’t have to have a gazillion inputs in order for people to like it. Vampire Survivors is the perfect example of this, but so is Strike Buster Prototype. You either use your WSAD keys for movement and then the mouse to aim, or if you’re a gamepad player like me, you only have to use the analog keys; the left one for movement, and the right one for aim. That’s it. Pretty simple, but trust me, it’s all you need.

The game is total nonstop action, not letting you breathe for a moment. In fact, you could be very busy trying to eliminate minions then the boss appears out of nowhere and starts wrecking everything before you could eliminate everything else around. The pace is incredibly frenetic, and I, for one, LOVE it!

To sum it up, the game definitely needs a polish, but I’m not sure if that’s still in the books since it’s fully released now. Despite that, the game is incredibly fun, and at $3.99, you’re not going to break the bank to try this game out.

Get it here: Steam

Leave a Comment