Dungeon of the Endless is probably the best rogue like dungeon crawler that I’ll ever play, because it takes the genre and adds a tower defense mechanic to it with a science fiction theme. The object is to explore randomly generated floors all while defending your crystal. The crystal gets used to power rooms that you’ll place defenses and harvesters that bring in extra science, food and industry for every new door that you open. Once you discover the exit, one of your party members needs to lug that crystal from the elevator to the exit as the floor floods with enemies. Any party member not in the room with the exit gets left behind if you chose to exit without them.
Your characters will defend a room automatically and fix any damaged equipment if there’s nothing happening. You only need to have your people in the right room at the right time. Its a fun and casual way to play the game. If someone gets too low on health, you can click a medical bag near your character’s card to use food for more health. Some difficulties even replenish your health for each room or wave of monsters that you clear. You can spend food on each character to level up.
The more rooms of a floor that you clear out, the greater chance of enemy waves attacking. There are still rooms full of enemies, but its the waves that make things a true challenge. These waves will spawn in any room that isn’t powered. Your foes can’t go through doors and they’ll only spawn in rooms you’ve uncovered so its best when you start a new floor to choose one door and work down that path instead of opening all four doors to each elevator.
You’ve got your choice of four characters from the start and plenty to unlock as you progress. You can find new recruits and purchase them with food, but that doesn’t mean they’re unlocked. In order to unlock them you need to have and keep them for at least a floor. The game lets you have a maximum of four per party and it can be difficult juggling them, because you can only control four at once. Under normal circumstances, I have three of them guard the crystal and explore with one.
Dungeon of the Endless has an amazing multiplayer that gives each player one character. Its a much easier experience. You pick a server locally, with your friends or even global. Then select who you want to be or let the game chose randomly and hop into a game. Once it starts no one else can join, even if a player drops out. When a character dies, they can’t be revived and this goes for single player too! Instead you’ll need to find a new character in the dungeon and recruit them. If you have more than one character under your control, you can pass them to another player. If you play global, its just as smooth as someone in your own region. The only issue that I have with the multiplayer is when the host leaves, the game ends!
The controls are easy, right click to move. That’s it. Right click a door to open it and watch your character go to the door. Right click to interact with something. Right click your character icon to open their stats. Of course there are still hot keys and you can scroll the screen or focus in on your character. If you ever need to see the map, mouse wheel back to see the entire dungeon along with icons where the players, enemies and highlights are. Even see unopened doors in red. Its all streamlined, then mouse wheel forward again. Again, its super easy, a joy to play.
Along the way you’ll find merchants to sell you things, but the game doesn’t bog you down in equipment. Most characters have two or three equipment slots. There are science crystals that you spend science to research upgrades. You’ll need to wait a while and open more doors before the research is complete, so don’t spend science to research then exit the floor immediately. The recruits and merchants you find will also be attacked, so you’ll need to defend them or they’ll die.
There are plenty of things to find throughout the rooms: treasure chests, capsules to unlock at the cost of industry and even things that give you science, industry or food. Everything takes a second or two to unlock. Even doors take a while to open, but once they’re open they can’t be closed. An odd thing about the game is when you open a door, you’ve commit to walking into the room beyond it. So if its full of enemies, you will still walk in. Even a room full of enemies doesn’t feel like a threat, you can still fallback to a room full of turrets that you’ve setup.
As for placing defenses, you can’t just dump a bunch of turrets into a room, you need empty modules in a room to place modules. Some rooms don’t even have any modules available, but 90% of them do and the trick is powering the rooms. You’ve got a limited amount of power your crystal can generate. If the crystal takes damage, it can power fewer rooms. Of course exploring will find more power to beef up your crystal and charge more areas. In terms of defenses, you’ve got health, defense and weapons. Defense things such as holograms that will attract enemies. Weapons like turrets, Tesla and sentries. New things can be unlocked at science crystals.
Once you find the exit, its best to deactivate some of the powered rooms in order to power ones along the path. After they’re powered setup defenses, because when you pick up your crystal every door opens automatically. So every undiscovered enemy is activated, but more pressing than that are the waves of enemies that spawn.
Instead of classes, there are characters. Each character has their own stats for speed, damage, health and so on. Every piece of equipment can change those stats slightly. Things will boost your speed while lowering your damage per second. Some characters use swords, others have a pistol or a gun. Characters all have their own defense needs, some rely on armor, shields or devices. These characters all look and feel unique to be and play as.
Dungeon of the Endless does have only fifteen floors before you’ll need to play again from the start. So there is an end game for anyone that needs a goal. Its just reaching that fifteenth floor that is a challenge. Floors become longer, more difficult and dangerous, yet still doable.
Since the game revolves around a sci-fi setting, the premise is simple, you’ve crash landed in your escape pod. Why am I telling you that now this deep into a review? Because its never an issue in the game, the only time it is an issue is before you start, you’ll select your escape pod. After going through the game, you’ll unlock different escape pods, each with its own perk. There are a few different difficulties, very easy and easy. I assume that you can unlock more, but after 8 hours into the game I still have two difficulties.
As for the graphics, they’re simple and pixelated, yet still drip in atmosphere. Dungeon of the Endless is a dark and eerie sort of beautiful with a futuristic alien twist. The music gets relegated to ambiance and near chip tune music. Its barely a memory in my mind even after 8 hours of playing.
With everything said, Dungeon of the Endless is definitely worth your time for fans of both dungeon crawlers and tower defenders. This isn’t a genre for everyone, but what’s here is addictive, engrossing and easy to play.