What’s Killing My Social Life This Week – Dungeon of the Endless
Posted by The Fairy Wizard
Are you tired of these games that… fuck it, I’m not doing an introductory paragraph this time.
Dungeon of the Endless (not to be confused with, Legend of the Dungeon, Dungeonland or I-have-no-creativity-when-it-comes-to-naming-my-game) is, according to that Face Recognition app, a 48-year-old squirrel with one gammy eye and an eating disorder. The story is similar to Risk of Rain’s in almost every way; you are a person/s on a prison ship heading towards a place of unknown place-ness, when suddenly you crash down on an alien planet due to the actions of a particularly aggressive plot-device. Finding yourself in what’s presumably a mutant-infested, underground research lab, you have to use your wit, strength and charisma to escape in as few pieces as possible. The game itself is a weird hybrid of TDs, Dungeon crawlers, RPGs and resource-management games with a few rogue like elements sprinkled on top. Oh and also it has a Tutu. Did I mention the tutu? Twice now, you reply.
At the start of each level you and your up-to-four characters are plonked on one of the many floors said lab possesses and have to slowly make your way up to the next. You always start in the room with your crystal/nexus/core/shiny and from there you need to open other rooms and explore the rest of the randomly-generated dungeon. Utilizing resources such as industry, food, science and energy (used for building stuff, keeping you alive, research and powering rooms respectively) you need to look for both treasure and the exit, whilst also keeping the horrifying, bloodthirsty monstrosities that assault you at bay. Once you have found the way out and have finished gluing bits of you back on, you have to carry your cryst-nex-core to said exit, which your character will do in the slowest and tensest way possible. The only problem being that -once you do pick it up from its resting spot- EVERY.SINGLE. Vent, grate, crack on the wall and/or bit of unoccupied space springs open, as hordes of shambling abominations burst out to kill your pixelated ass. So, while one of your guys is walking slower than a two-legged crocodile on land, the others need to be defending them from all angles, desperately trying to hold back the waves of swarming enemies. And while the situation does become marginally less dire if you build enough defenses (i.e. guns), you need your industry points to stay at an acceptable level, or you won’t have enough to build stuff on the next floor.
Actually, the game’s mechanics deserve to be examined more closely, as their complexity is what makes it so unique (which is to say weird). Progression here (I refuse to use the acronym DotE) works with turns; each time you open a door to another room, a turn passes. Whenever you do so, you gain some resources and/or loot as the game debates whether or not to send a battalion of frothing fiends your way. Characters are healed at the end of each turn (when you’re no longer under very stressful attacks) but you can also heal them mid-battle for a few food points. These points can also be used to level up your party –in much the same way Popeye got stronger eating spinach- giving you access to more abilities and increasing its stats. There’s a bunch of other stuff like trading items with merchants for more resources, using crystals to buff up your guys, random E.M.P pulses fucking up your plans, a bestiary-style scrapbook and random goats that further fuck up your plans. None, however, are as important as the power mechanic.
From the get-go, you can but power/light up only a limited number of rooms. This number goes up the longer you play, but I can guarantee it will never be big enough to power every one. Powering a room means that you can build shit in it, while also preventing monsters from directly spawning inside. This, in turn, means that you have to carefully plan which rooms you want to keep powered and which you’ll leave so dark that they end up getting used on the new Silent Hill game (oh wait, for a second I mistook this for a world where nice things could still happen). Having to bear too many attacks from the west side? Why not spend a bit of power to light ‘em up and never have to worry about it again? Oh, but now you can’t afford to keep all these important rooms running and your crystal is effectively guarded by little more than three flies and a bit of string. Better bring your guys to defe- oh wait they all died.
The game also offers you the option to play with friends which, based off of youtube videos I can only watch but never recreate, looks… ok I guess. It kind of makes me want to get a social life; one that won’t be insta-killed by the latest Dragon Age game or whatever. What I will say though is that the difficulty settings are misleading to an almost sadistic degree. There’s 2 options: “Easy” or “Too Easy” and I strongly recommend selecting the latter, because “Easy” -in this game- may as well mean “Developed by From Software”. Even in too easy mode I suffered great losses towards the last few levels. There I was, breezing struggling through each level, with my perfect team unscathed, when suddenly they all died from the game’s I-am-a-bullshit-entity-that-will-kill-you-faster-than-you-can-say-“Overpowered Encounter”.exe and I was left with a mad, magic lady who I instantly regretted picking up.
To sum up, Dungeon of The Endless is -not exactly a fun- but a satisfying experience, which will make you not want to stop playing. Paradoxically, it also makes you not necessarily want to retry once you win/die. Think of it as something you can do to keep in touch with long-distance friends, or maybe a temporary distraction from your meaningless and overall empty existence.
-The Fairy Wizard
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Posted on May 27, 2015, in Features, Geekology, Reviews, Video Games, What's Killing My Social Life This Week and tagged AMPLITUDE Studios, Dungeon of the Endless, Games, gaming, Video Game Reviews, Video Games. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.