Two years ago, I started this blog to recommend Indie gems to people… and one of the games that I have really wanted to review since then was Dungeon of the Endless, a game that I absolutely adore and love. But I didn’t write about it yet because I’m wasn’t exactly sure how to put my feelings into words for this game. It’s a great game but it’s also very niche and hence may not be to everyone’s liking… which is okay. It’s totally fine for a game to not appeal to everyone but this one’s a gem and it’s honestly a shame that it’s not more popular. Either way, today, I’m taking a look at Dungeon of the Endless again and I want to tell you why I personally love it so much and why you should maybe give it a go as well!
Developer: AMPLITUDE Studios Publisher: SEGA Genre: Turn-Based, Roguelike, Strategy, Indie, Pixel Art, Tower Defense Release Date: October 27th, 2014 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC, Switch, PS4, Xbox One, iOs Copy was purchased.
At its core, Dungeon of the Endless is a turn-based roguelike strategy game where you manage a crew of up to four characters. Your goal is to find the exit, make your way there with the crystal, and head on to the next floor. Once you’ve done that a bunch of times, you’re out of the station and you can go home. Huzzah! Every time you open a door, a turn passes and monsters start swarming towards you and the crystal. These can spawn in every dark room, too, which is why you need to accumulate “Dust” to power up rooms and make them safe. Powered up rooms can then be used to build food, science or industry generators to produce more resources or to build turrets and other gadgets that help you survive. The game has a lot of different layers to it but while it may sound a bit overwhelming at first, you can easily get into it by just playing a run or two. You’ll get the hang of it quite easily. I mean, it’s a bit of tower defense mechanics with a bit of roguelike-action and then there’s a bunch of resource management in there as well, which is something that I really like in games.
The many layers of the game allow the player to maximise their strategic abilities. Sure, having fewer monster spawns is nice and all but some characters actually get bonus resources from monster kills, which is why you may wanna kill more of them and hence not power every room. On top of that, you can choose different equipment pieces to maximise each character’s strengths or make up for their weaknesses if you have the right cards in your hand. And well, the different resources add this fun little management system to each run where you need to use science to research new technologies but you also need to balance your food and industry production, simultaneously. It’s fun and interesting, albeit maybe a bit complicated.
See, your crew members don’t level up by getting experience but they actually have to be levelled up using food. Food is also needed to recruit new characters or to heal your crew members. Science is needed to refresh skill cooldowns and at times the game can get very overwhelming for you as a solo player, to the point where it may even feel frustrating. Having a friend or three to play this game with, however, can make things a lot easier as everyone can manage one character and as everyone can send each other resources. Also, four heads are better than one, I’ve been told, which probably also explains why exactly Dungeon of the Endless’ singleplayer experience feels a bit overshadowed by the multiplayer. But it’s still playable in solo even if multiplayer sessions are quite easy to set up. The hardest part is sadly finding other people that own the game, which is a real bummer as the game is amazing overall.
I mean, yes, it can feel overwhelming but Dungeon of the Endless is packed with small jokes and details that can make you chuckle when you least expect it. That paired with the new mechanics that get introduced with the other pods/stations that you unlock as time goes on can lead to a lot of fun runs and more often than not, your enjoyment and success isn’t just based on RNG which is something that I really value in a good roguelike. And there’s also a bit of lore here and there that you can read through if you want to. It’s a game by Amplitude after all and because it has it in its name, it’s also part of the ENDLESS franchise, that some people may know.
Sure, it has some issues here and there. For starters, you can only zoom into a room or view the power grid and monitor your crew’s or the enemy’s movement with those two POVs but it would be quite nice if you could zoom in or zoom out more and basically monitor more rooms in one go, if that makes sense. It would also be cool if you had more modifiers or a boss of sorts as runs can be quite similar at times… and there’s also the issue of the game having no new content since it’s fairly old… but I still feel like this is an often overlooked gem with a lovely community, a cute art style, a lot of personality, unique mechanics, as well as an amazing soundtrack. I truly believe that more people should play Dungeon of the Endless and… if you’re not super into Pixel Art and an old game that probably won’t get updated any time soon, you may even want to wishlist Endless Dungeon, the spiritual successor, instead.
What I’m trying to say is: Dungeon of the Endless is one of my all-time favourite Indie games because it’s a lot of fun in single-player and even more fun with some friends. The beautiful aesthetic and music as well as the little details in the worldbuilding are great and add a bit of immersion into the game. The gameplay itself is rather unique, quite tough, and very unforgiving… but overall, it’s fair. Dungeon of the Endless is easy to learn but hard to master and I personally love it to bits precisely because of that. I can highly recommend it. Hope you get to love it as much as I do, too, and if you end up grabbing it, feel free to hit me up anytime!