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The Best Dungeon Crawlers Not Named Diablo

An experimental take on a very experimental franchise, Darksiders Genesis was arguably the best title in the series.

The words "dungeon crawler" are defined as a genre of role-playing games wherein "heroes navigate a labyrinth environment, battling various monsters, avoiding traps, solving puzzles, and looting any treasure they may find."

Now, if you, just like every other gamer, thought immediately of any of the Diablo games when you read that, you're probably not alone.

The thing is, the Diablo franchise has been synonymous with dungeon crawlers since 1997. But while the Diablo titles have long been considered the most popular dungeon crawlers, they're far from the only ones that are worth playing.

So, whether you're waiting for the Diablo 2 Remake, Diablo 4, or Diablo Immortal, or you're just looked for other dungeon crawlers, we've rounded some of the best dungeon crawlers not named Diablo.

Darkest Dungeon

Darkest Dungeon might not look like a typical dungeon crawler, but it's got all the right elements and then some.

Platform/s: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita, PC, and iOS

Darkest Dungeon is a divisive title that isn't afraid to make players know that it's difficult. It's a game that's seemingly out to get you from the get-go. However, the developers, Red Hook Studios, manage to find just the right mix of ingredients.

As a result, gamers still want to play this difficult title because of how much fun, engaging, and rewarding the gameplay is.

Of course, like a dungeon crawler, Darkest Dungeon checks all of the right boxes.

The game lets you explore countless dungeons. However, at the same time, it mixes things up by using a complicated-but-fair turn-based combat system. In between dungeon runs, you can also stock yourself with the right items and upgrades whenever you're in town.

Speaking of being in town, the game pokes fun at your flawed party of heroes by letting you send them away so that they can have a pint or two to drown away all their sorrows.

It's an absurd game, without a doubt. However, it's also very rewarding, with art and sound design that makes the punishing difficulty all the more worth it.

Children of Morta

Platform/s: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

Pixel-art and dungeon crawlers don't often mix unless we're talking about roguelikes, but then you're already venturing onto a different genre and that's not something we're here to talk about.

With that said, Children of Morta manages to create the perfect setting for a dungeon crawler, despite sporting pixel-art animation.

A story-driven action hack-and-slash RPG, Children of Morta focuses on a rotating cast of playable characters from the Bergson family that players can use. Each Bergson family member has a unique ability and class that makes one totally different from the other.

In-game, players have the choice to fully invest in a single specific Bergson family member or distribute resources across all of them. Regardless of however you want to approach the game, it's completely up to you.

What's important here is that you're able to defend Mount Morta by venturing deep across a variety of levels and procedurally-generated dungeons.

Naturally, though, each dungeon can be played through by any one of the six playable characters. It's just that each character excels more at a particular area, so you might want to level them all up if only to have a chance to switch things up just in case you want to try something else.

Children of Morta currently supports local co-op with online multiplayer expected in the future.

Torchlight

Platform/s: PC and Xbox 360

Torchlight was first released way back in 2009 and has since seen two sequels. However, nearly two decades later, none can still compare to the magnificence of the first title.

A true hack-and-slash isometric dungeon crawler made in the same mold as Diablo -- Max Schaefer and Erich Schaefer, co-designers of the first two Diablo games, were involved in the development of Torchlight --  this 2009 title featured fast-paced and exciting gameplay.

The game sent players on a familiar world-saving quest to help stave off the scourge that's corrupting everything in and around the small little town of Torchlight.

Much like Diablo, the levels are all randomized. This means that every playthrough will feel fresh and new. You'll literally never know what you'll get from each monster you slay and puzzle you solve until you've done it.

While there's certainly a lot in Torchlight for you to enjoy, what really sets it apart is its robust modding community.

Runic Games made Torchlight so that it would support mods. Because of this, the game remains just as popular today as it once was. This is the result of multiple modders having since lent their hands to either updating the game's graphics or crafting new experiences and places for other players to go on and explore.

Darksiders Genesis

Set before the events of the first Darksiders title, this prequel gives you a glimpse of the relationship between these 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Platform/s: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

For a franchise known for experimenting, Darksiders Genesis feels oddly like just what you'd expect.

The fourth title in the Darksiders series of games, Darksiders Genesis completely disregards the third-person perspective of the first three titles. In its stead is an isometric view that looks a lot like the other games on our list and Diablo.

But while the game does indeed look like a Diablo clone, it also manages to set itself apart in a lot of ways.

For starters, it's banter-filled and ridiculously fun. It encourages players to literally blast through the game's different dungeons. This, surprisingly, is just the right way to go at things.

In Darksiders Genesis, you're in control of Strife, the fourth Horseman of the Apocalypse, a no-nonsense gunslinger who's always up for a fight. Meanwhile, helping you out is your rage-filled brother, War, who was the protagonist of the first title.

Fun, frenetic, and beautiful Darksiders Genesis lets you revel in the carnage and appreciate the beauty in it.

Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire

While the story is not nearly as engrossing as you'd expect, the journey and your adventure are just as worthy of your time.

Platform/s: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC

Either one of the Pillars of Eternity would have undoubtedly made the list. These fine games from Obsidian Entertainment were essentially a shoo-in. However, we ultimately decided to go with the sequel just because it feels so much more like an improvement.

The world-building, writing, quest design, and even the attention to detail, all feel very Obsidian.

The best part here is that the game manages to pay homage to the classic dungeon crawlers of the past. Meanwhile, it still manages to inject itself with enough fresh ideas. This makes Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire feel less like a mere cash-grab that's taking advantage of the power of nostalgia.

Path of Exile

Platform/s: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC

Dungeon crawlers were not a fairly new concept when Grinding Gear Games released Path of Exile in 2013. However, they made these types of games feel fresh and new by adding one thing that previous titles had lacked -- customization.

True, previous titles like Diablo let gamers customize their characters to some degree. But, the customization in Path of Exile is on a whole different level.

The game literally gave you free reigns to anything in the game outside of designing it yourself.

You could craft the ideal hero or you could build hideouts scattered all across the world and decorate it however you pleased. It's like having a Sims game in a Diablo title. But, while that's a novel idea and all, at its very core, the game remains a solid dungeon crawler that lets you throw all sorts of magical spells against massive hordes of enemies.

As a bonus, it's also free and with a competitive PvP multiplayer.

So, at the very least, you can give the game a try, whack a few heads (or get whacked yourself), and be done with it if you don't like it.

Baldur's Gate II: Enhanced Edition

Platform/s: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Android

If there's a reason why people are saying that BioWare's changed over the past few years, you can only point out this as Exhibit A in a gallery of examples.

Baldur's Gate: Enhanced Edition is arguably BioWare's best title ever.

A timeless classic, Baldur's Gate II was a direct sequel to the original Baldur's Gate title and even let players import their character from the first game. However, BioWare thought of everything, as they put a level cap so that players don't end up being overpowered when they transferred their progress to the sequel.

Speaking of the sequel, Baldur's Gate II was easier to digest for a larger audience as the combat was far less clunky and faster-paced. The story was also better in every way as well and featured a more immersive experience.

Whether you're in it for the story or the gameplay, Baldur's Gate II will deliver.

Book of Demons

Your atypical dungeon crawler, Book of Demons is a challenging but accessible game that fans and non-fans of the genre will love.

Platform/s: Nintendo Switch and PC

For a game that is not Diablo, Book of Demons looks a hell of a lot like it. It even features pretty much the same plot, with players sent out to venture into the dungeons found underneath the town where the game is set.

With that said, Book of Demons still manages to separate itself from what's obviously the game that inspired it.

For starters, while it's still an isometric hack-and-slash game, it doesn't play like any other dungeon crawlers. Instead, it's designed to make it feel like you're reading through a pop-up book and essentially twists the classic dungeon crawler gameplay into a card-building hybrid with a bit of hack-and-slash mixed in between.

Instead of mastering your hotkeys and slashing your way through dungeons, you'll have to play cards and manage your character's special abilities.

This, admittedly, will feel new for anyone coming from Diablo and other dungeon crawlers. However, it's also more accessible and the game is easy to fall in love with. Plus, in case that happens, there are two other games in development set in the same Book of Demons universe, so you can expect more from where that came from, or so to speak.

Grim Dawn

Versatility is one of the best traits of Grim Dawn that makes it so fun to play as a dungeon crawler.

Platform/s: PC

The class system is pretty much par for the course when we're talking about dungeon crawlers and ARPGs.

However, what makes Grim Dawn so unique is that it takes this fairly standard concept and literally one-ups even Diablo by letting players play as two classes.

Yes. You read that right.

In Grim Dawn, players can make hybrid classes by combining two classes, which, when you take into consideration the hundreds of items and skills available in Grim Dawn, gives birth to dozens if not hundreds of possibilities in terms of gameplay.

With an absurdly deep in-game lore and an intriguing apocalyptic setting, Grim Dawn has just about everything you need to scratch that Diablo-sized itch.

Sacred

Sacred is an oldie but goodie that deserves to be remastered so that more people can appreciate how ahead it was of its time.

Platform/s: PC

Transport yourself back to a time when things were simple and nearly every bit of content was made available upon release with Sacred.

On the surface, Sacred looks very much like a Diablo clone. However, once you've played the game, you'll realize that it's more of a high-fantasy take of the genre than a deliberate clone. Not to mention, the game was popular enough that it saw not just one sequel, but two, with numerous expansions released for each other.

However, as good as the sequels were, it's the original that really shines and has managed to stand the test of time.

Sacred was an ambitious title that was released way ahead of its time. It had a sandbox open-world. This stood in stark contrast to its competitors, which often confined you in dungeons. It rewarded exploration and encouraged players to see what lied ahead.

If you can withstand the older graphics, we recommend giving it a try. If not, the sequels, although less ambitious, are available and look more modern.

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Written By

Ray is a freelance content writer based in the Philippines. He is a lifelong gamer and a PC hardware enthusiast. He builds and repairs laptops and computers for friends and family in his spare time. You can find Ray on Twitter.