Can a game be a Roguelike and uninteresting? My answer is maybe not. Roguelikes are largely defined by being interesting. Interesting due to the interplay between procedural content and permadeath. This interesting interplay shows itself through variety.
Lack of variety = lack of interesting game play = maybe not a roguelike. At least it’s a failed or boring Roguelike.
So how does one add that variety? How does one keep it interesting? One answer is the common occurrence of rare challenges. Your game should provide a different/new challenge each time because each new game throws something different, or rare, at the player. The player faces these challenges over and over, learning each one, thus mastering the game.
Out of depth monsters, artifact weapons, the occasional cursed item, random starting gear, character classes and specialty levels are all examples of this. You are going along, on autopilot, then BOOM OMG WTF IS THIS WHAT DO I DO NOW! That’s where the fun is. That’s where the deep gameplay is.
My current game does not do this. The game layout is different each time, but the challenges remain about the same.
I shall en devour to create more variety in the challenge. I have some ideas. I also have 3 days. 🙂