Like many, I am hesitant to be drawn in by steam early access titles. Too often someone cries foul and a seemingly great game turns out to be bland, ugly, and unplayable. Despite these initial reactions, Dungeon of the Endless stayed on my radar for a long time. The only thing that kept me away from buying it was the lack of steam sales for it. When the opportunity arose for me to take a look at this early access title, I couldn’t wait to get started. Since Dungeon of the Endless is an early access title I won’t be handing out any stars, but instead I will be providing my impressions of this title, and its various phases. To begin let’s dive into the world of Dungeon of the Endless.
An alien space craft flies over a beautiful and mysterious planet, when suddenly it is attacked by a large menacing ship. Useless against its attackers the small coned vessel goes hurdling toward the planet’s surface. Once it crashes, the remaining survivors must band together to find their way out of the dungeon in which the ship crashed into. However, these survivors must drag along, and protect, their ship’s main power source, a crystal. With luck the warriors will be able to use their powers, resources, and the crystal to find their way out of a seemingly endless dungeon.
Dungeon of the Endless is a truly unique experience in terms of gameplay. It prides itself in being rogue-like game with dungeon crawler aspects and a strong tower defense base. It is quick paste, yet tactical. It is simple, yet unforgiving. In basic terms the game is about protecting the crystal and moving to the next floor. However, In my opinion the gameplay is truly centered around three variables: the characters, the resources, and the dungeon.
Dungeon of the Endless features a rather large collection of characters. At the beginning players can only start with 2 of 3 unlocked heroes. While searching through the dungeon, players will find other heroes to join them in their quest to leave the dungeon. These characters can become unlocked so that they can be used at the beginning of your next game, rather than found in-game. What makes the characters so unique is that each character has special abilities, specific strengths, and unique designs. For example, my favorite character, so far, is a small man name Troe.
He is described as a small man, who went through physical augmentation to become stronger, and as a result was given superhuman like strength, and rage. Troe has a very high DPS (damage per second) and a great amount of hit points, overall a great tank. Once he is leveled up, Troe is given an ability called Psycho Killer. This gives all heroes on the map additional hit power and speed. As he levels up more, Troe is given higher stats and stronger abilities. Like Troe all the other characters have strengths, abilities, and an amusing back story. Collecting heroes become incredibly fun, and mixing their abilities and strengths is key to surviving the Dungeon. However, the heroes alone can’t get through the dungeon, and trust me I tried. With the characters alone the game is brutally difficult, unforgiving, and down right frustrating. Luckily, this was intentional, and other aspects were added to help the lost heroes. This is where the resources kick in.
Recourses management is huge in trying to get through the dungeons. These recourses are given each time a door to the dungeon is opened. In the game there are 4 major resources. They are Food, Dust, Industry, and Science.
Food – heals characters, and levels up characters. This forces the player to take the risk of not being able to heal a hurt hero in return for new abilities and better stats.
Dust – Gives power to rooms. When the power is turned on in a room, monsters will not spawn in that area during raids. Also, power allows characters to build modules in new rooms. Left over dust, after powering rooms, can be used to buy items in stores.
Industry – The most precious of the resources, Industry allows players to build modules (basically towers). This is were the tower defense begins. Modules are split up into 2 groups, major and minor. The Major module can only be place in large module slots and at most a room will have one. Each major module is assigned one resource (Industry, science, or food). As a result the player will receive more of that resource when they open a new door in the dungeon. For Example, when an Industry module is placed, instead of receiving 4 industry when opening a door, the player will get 8. Unfortunetly, these towers are all bark and no bite, and are easily destroyed by monsters. A hero would do just fine defending it until a large wave comes to destroy the crystal or module. To protect these modules, and the crystal, minor modules are placed. These smaller items are aimed at attacking enemies, defending the module, or supporting the heroes. One module shoots fire, while another may slow enemies, and the last boosts character health.
Science – Used to level up modules to stronger builds. Science is spent when large crystals found throughout the dungeon are used to research new modules. The updated modules are more powerful in the case of the minor modules, while giving you even more resources per room when upgrading the major modules
As is the tendency of rogue-like games, the dungeons in this game are always randomly generated. However, in Dungeons of the Endless, this randomness can be the difference between life and brutal death. The goal of all the heroes, and modules, is to find the exit to each level of the dungeon and then quickly bring the crystal there to get to the next level. What makes this difficult is the complete randomness of this exit route. It could be one room away, or 20 rooms in the opposite direction. Furthermore, monster will spawn to attack modules, and the crystal, from each dark room at random points. Since only a certain amount of rooms can be given power, a large number of enemies can quickly spawn to crush the characters and the crystal. This is further influence to move as quickly as possible through the level and pray that the exit isn’t far off. Random encounters are also scattered across the rooms. Stores, new heroes, dancing dogs, powerful weapons, and more resources are just a few of the events that can occur. To tell the truth the thrill of opening each door in this game, is one that I haven’t felt in a long while.
Overall, what seems to be a messy mixture of different genres is actually a brilliantly put together experience. Everything is smooth, everything is fast paste, and everything is exciting. The mixture between skill, and luck is simply awesome, and much of that feeling is created through the elements described previously.
Dungeons of the Endless is a beautiful pixilated masterpiece. Every character, dungeon, and detail, is clear and colorful. I simply can’t say that the graphical arstyle is anything less than stunning. As for the music, it perfectly accents the graphics. The tones are beautiful and calming, yet exciting when the time arrives. The only issue with the music, is that there is very little. In my experiences the music was repetitive, but it didn’t take away from how charming the game is.
Although I have to remind you that this is early access and that the current game, “May not represent the final product.” I still see Dungeon of the Endless as a masterpiece. The brilliant use of tower defense mechanics, rogue-like randomness, and simply amazing gameplay, makes this title one of the best indie games I have ever played. To some it all up in one sentence: Dungeon of the Endless is a rouge-like Tower Defense dungeon crawling masterpiece.
Since it is early access, here are some features that are coming to Dungeons of the Endless at a later date.
– Bigger/Badder dungeons
-Stronger Story driven details
If you are interested in partaking in this amazing game, get it on steam right here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/249050/
Thanks for checking out my first piece of work on SteamFirst. I look forward to making more content.
Thanks for reading and God Bless,