Is Enter the Gungeon a Roguelike or Roguelite?

Is Enter the Gungeon a Roguelike or Roguelite? We have the answer!

A warm debate has been simmering within gaming communities for a while now. Centered around the popular bullet-hell dungeon-crawler, Enter the Gungeon, the quarrel isn’t about the game’s arsenal of whimsical guns or its cursed items; it’s about defining its genre. Is Enter the Gungeon a roguelike or a roguelite? This contentious issue sends enthusiasts and neophytes alike diving into the abyss of genre classification, endeavoring to untangle this intricate web.

The confusion stems from the numerous similarities and subtle distinctions that mark the classes of roguelike and roguelite games. To answer this question definitively, we first need to scrutinize the characteristics that distinguish these two genres. Delve with me into the mysterious dungeon of game genres, navigating the twisting corridors and dark corners where the definitions of multiplayer roguelike and roguelite lurk.

Is these classifications just a matter of semantics, or does it truly affect how we perceive the game? Is Enter the Gungeon holding onto the traditional roguelike elements from its computer game progenitors of the 1980s or does it venture into the more modern, forgiving domain of roguelites? Let’s chart a course through these murky waters and attempt to plot our understanding of these terms onto this phenomenal game.

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As we march forward, let’s keep our minds open, remembering that genre categorizations, while helpful, should never constrain our enjoyment of a game. Instead, they’re a means to understand and appreciate the intricate systems and mechanics that contribute towards the game’s unique appeal.

Unraveling Roguelikes

Traditionally, roguelike games derive their name from the 1980s game ‘Rogue.’ They’re characterized by certain significant features, such as permadeath, procedural generation, turn-based gameplay, and high difficulty curve. These features create a unique experience populated with unpredictable threats and unparalleled difficulty, where each decision holds substantial weight and each death means starting over entirely.

Enter the Gungeon possesses several of these roguelike traits, which may lead some to categorize it as such. Its procedurally generated dungeons ensure that each playthrough is a fresh adventure with unpredictable layouts, enemies, and treasures. Its punishing difficulty, mimicking the ruthless nature of roguelikes, ensures that players are always on their toes, strategically navigating the Gungeon’s labyrinthine corridors.

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The permadeath system reinforces this brutal challenge. If your character dies in Enter the Gungeon, you don’t reload the last save point or respawn with all your progress intact—you start over from the beginning, stripped of all your gear and power-ups, a new run in the Gungeon commencing.

However, while Enter the Gungeon unquestionably exhibits these roguelike tendencies, it’s crucial to point out certain features that don’t align with the core definition of roguelikes–leading us to consider the alternative: roguelite.

Recognizing Roguelites

Roguelites, also referred to as ‘roguelike-likes’ or the ‘new wave roguelikes’, maintains some key mechanics from roguelikes while also introducing elements that are inherently more forgiving. While they retain permadeath and procedural generation, they incorporate persistent progression elements that transcend individual playthroughs, mitigating the harsh absolutism of death found in roguelikes.

Upon closer inspection, Enter the Gungeon showcases several roguelite elements. For instance, while each death in the game means losing all the weapons and items collected during the run, the game introduces several progression elements that persist across multiple playthroughs.

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One such roguelite feature is the game’s currency system. Players earn a type of currency, known as ‘Hegemony Credits,’ after defeating bosses. These credits can be used to unlock new items and guns that’ll then appear as potential loot in subsequent runs, creating a sense of persistent progression despite the countless deaths.

Other signs of roguelite elements in Enter the Gungeon include unlocking new characters, rescuing NPCs who then add new services throughout the Gungeon, and discovering shortcuts to the later levels. All these characteristics together point to a genre classification leaning more towards roguelite than purely roguelike.

Bridging the Gap

Given that Enter the Gungeon exhibits both roguelike and roguelite traits, it’s understandable why there’s so much debate around its genre. The game successfully bridges the gap between the punishment and unpredictability of roguelikes and the forgiving progression systems of roguelites, resulting in a unique blend that appeals to a broader audience.

While the brutal difficulty and unforgiving death mechanic can satisfy hardcore roguelike fans, the game’s persistent progression elements provide a sense of accomplishment and forward momentum familiar to roguelite enthusiasts.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that Enter the Gungeon embodies a ‘best-of-both-worlds’ approach. It pulls from both genres to create an engaging, challenging, and rewarding experience—regardless of how one chooses to classify it.

Classifications and Player Experience

In the end, the fluidity of Enter the Gungeon’s genre classification does little to impact the player’s enjoyment of the game. Whether you see it as a roguelike or a roguelite, the payoff for navigating the Gungeon’s bullet-filled chaos remains thrilling and satisfying.

Classifications can be helpful for understanding a game’s mechanics, but they shouldn’t limit or define your experience. Enter the Gungeon’s strength lies in its ability to deliver a unique, challenging, and satisfying experience that borrows from both roguelike and roguelite genres.

Whether you relish the crushing difficulty and the constant threat of permanent death or savor the steady progression and continual unlocking of new possibilities, Enter the Gungeon delivers on both fronts. Its strategic blend of merciless permadeath and trans-run progression creates an accessible yet demanding gaming experience that offers something for everyone.

Genre Fluidity and Evolution

The debate around Enter the Gungeon’s genre classification illustrates the beauty of genre fluidity and the evolution of game mechanics. Games like Enter the Gungeon challenge the rigid definitions of genres, bridging gaps and building connections to create new and innovative experiences.

As gaming technology evolves and developers continue to push boundaries, the lines dividing genres will continue to blur. Games will increasingly borrow and blend mechanics from different genres—challenging our traditional understanding and sparking debates similar to the one surrounding Enter the Gungeon.

This willingness to dismantle genre barriers and experiment with different mechanics is a testament to the ever-evolving, innovative spirit guiding game development. It’s this evolution that leads to gems like Enter the Gungeon, which—whether you label it a roguelike or a roguelite—stands as an unparalleled gaming experience.

At the intersection of roguelike tradition and roguelite innovation, we emerge from our genre exploration with a broader understanding of these classifications and a deeper appreciation for Enter the Gungeon. Navigating our way through the winding definitions and subtle differences, we realize that, like the game itself, it’s about the journey, not the destination. The journey through the Gungeon’s bullet hell, with its punishing progression system, is gratifying regardless of its genre tag.

While the roguelike vs. roguelite debate is fascinating, it’s clear that Enter the Gungeon transcends these classifications. It incorporates elements from both genres to create a unique, challenging, and rewarding experience that has captured the hearts of players worldwide.

So, whether you’re a fan of harsh roguelikes, prefer the persistent progression of roguelites, or, like many players, lie somewhere in between, Enter the Gungeon offers an experience worthy of your gaming time. Let’s cherish this transcendent blend of genres that defies strict classification, and continue blasting our way through the bullet-ridden mysteries of the Gungeon.


Embarking on the quest to classify Enter the Gungeon’s genre, we find ourselves at the crossroads of roguelike and roguelite. Armed with a better understanding of these classifications, we can appreciate the game’s skilled blending of punishing permadeath and satisfying progression, regardless of which genre label we assign it.

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Enter the Gungeon stands as a testament to the evolution of gaming genres. It’s a shining example of how fluid these classifications can be and how these genre-bending games can provide experiences that cater to a variety of player preferences.

In the quagmire of genre debate, let’s not lose sight of the joy that Enter the Gungeon brings. Roguelike or roguelite, the game delivers a unique, addictive challenge that keeps players gunning for one more run, one more boss, one more chance at glory.

As we close this chapter, remember that while exact genre classification can aid in understanding a game, it shouldn’t hamper your enjoyment. Navigate the Gungeon, cherish the challenge, and relish the thrill, irrespective of how you categorize the game.

In the fascinating realm of video games, be it the merciless roguelikes or the forgiving roguelites, games like Enter the Gungeon provide experiences that challenge us, entertain us, and stay with us—long after we’ve turned off our consoles.

So, does it matter? That’s entirely up to you!

Paul Bellow

LitRPG Author Paul Bellow

Paul Bellow is a LitRPG author, gamer, RPG game developer, and publisher of several online communities. In other words, an old school webmaster. He also developed and runs LitRPG Adventures, a set of advanced RPG generators powered by GPT-3 AI. Here at LitRPG Reads, he publishes articles about LitRPG books, tabletop RPG books, and all sorts of DND content that's free to use in your personal tabletop campaign - i.e. non-commercial use. Enjoy your stay and reach out on Twitter or Discord if you want to make contact.

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