The rogue-like genre is one I first heard of maybe last year or so. The name comes from an old PC or Arcade game called Rogue. The Genre is marked by a couple features: One is procedurally generated dungeons, which means that the dungeons are invented by an algorythm, not created by designers piece by piece. So the levels are different every time you play. The other thing is permadeath. When you die, you die. No continues. Tough shit.
That second feature is not so popular. In fact, for example, probably one of the most famous Rogue-like-likes from our time is Diablo. But there wasn't permadeath until Diablo II, which was dubbed 'hardcore.' I think Blizzard realized that they could sell more copies of the game if it wasn't quite so punishing.
If you have any interest at all in the genre, I highly recommend checking out the IndieStatik Roguelike-primer by Dominic Tarason. It's an article that breaks down the best games in the genre into entry level, intermediate and expert. And then there's a final bit for genre bending games like FTL.
From the list in the above article, the games that stand out for me are: Dwarf Fortress, Unreal World RPG and Roguelike Doom (the id software classic reimagined as a roguelike).
A quote from the blurb on Dwarf Fortress:
"I can’t think of many other games where you can deliberately twist an embedded blade to cause pain, hoping to drive your foe into unconsciousness."
I just really like that quote. Moving on.
An exciting new entry into the Rogue-like genre is a game called Rogue Legacy. Rogue Legacy was featured in Extra Credits - 'games you may not have tried 6'. And the guys over at the Experience Points podcast listed it as a game of the year in 2013. Frankly, it sounds like a great game. I love the generational aspect; it's a cool idea that when you die, the next playable character is from the next generation of your family, and inherits all the money you earned in your last play. This is doubly cool, because it is a side scrolling, castle-dungeon game, with a basic story that your family has tried through the generations to invade this particular castle and destroy the evil within.
Well, holy shit. This is basically the entire Castlevania series boiled down into one game. It seems to me that Konami only has one available choice: Rip this idea off completely, and create a Castlevania Rogue Legacy-like in which generations of Belmonts try to bust through the castle to kill Dracula. Probably they should use a procedurally generated castle to keep the game fresh when starting different legacies. Also, Alucard should be a hidden character somehow. Yes. Do this. NOW.
P.S. uh oh! looks like someone already beat you to it, Konami! But come on, it's not too late to show them how it's really done!