By: Ted Chow
Dungeon of the Endless is an isometric dungeon crawler that pays homage to older titles such as Rogue with its procedurally generated dungeons and brutal difficulty. If you enjoy the challenge of controlling characters and delving deeper into dungeons with only one life, then Dungeon of the Endless will put you to the test with the labyrinthine mazes and nasty concoctions of monstrosities. With elements of an RPG, the game offers plenty of reason to care for your subordinates, as an extra hand is a necessity if you plan to live.
The control for the game comes in your standard WASD schematics. Panning the world map can also be done with the arrow keys. Most interaction is done with the left and right mouse buttons and short-keys are available for using items, accessing your inventory or viewing the tactical map. The keys cannot be changed, but I found the current setup to be sufficient for the majority of your journey.
While the game doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you’d see in a standard AAA video game, it does have personality with the 8-bit artistic flair. The intention is there to pay respect to a past generation of games that brought about the first dungeon-crawling experience that we are so accustomed to in this generation. Some of the assets can look a bit too pixilated at first, but with subsequent playthroughs it tends to sink in and becomes less of an issue.
The soundtrack provides a serene yet out-worldly score that makes it feel like you’re travelling through water dripped caves of unknown territory.
Dungeon of the Endless takes you to a deserted planet where your spaceship crashes and leaves you trapped in a derelict state. You choose from amongst two of four different characters at first and unlock new companions along the way.
All characters have special skills and abilities and level differently compared to each other, much in the way of a standard RPG. Like any RPG, you can equip new items that you find to your characters with bonuses to additional stats or unlocking of new abilities. Replaying the game with different characters will provide a different experience every time as you strategize around each character’s innate strengths and abilities.
The main goal of the game is to reach the final floor with the one life you have. If a character dies he or she is permanently gone and can’t be brought back to life. At the same time, you’re responsible for protecting your crystal core that will continuously be threatened by aliens whenever you open more rooms to find the exit. Once the exit is found, you have to bring the crystal core to the exit point while fending off a multitude of enemies spawns. The game is over when all characters die or your crystal core is destroyed.
In your quest to tackle the challenges in Dungeon of the Endless, resources are administered to you upon entering a new room. Think of entering a room as taking a turn. The resources that you accumulate are Industry, Science, Food and Dust.
Industry is used to build your resource generators, defense turrets and other miscellaneous structures within rooms. Science is your currency to upgrade new technology to aid you in defending the rooms from aliens or providing buffs. Food is for healing characters or leveling them up. And finally, Dust is your build capacity and is needed to build anything. All resources can also be gained by defeating aliens or unlocking treasure chests.
The resource system in Dungeon of the Endless is unique in it that leftover resources on any particular floor are carried over to the next. This provides additional strategy by tempting you to accumulate as much as you can by delving farther than the exit point. This isn’t without risks, however, as continuously opening new rooms on a particular floor will spawn more deadly aliens that could spell the end for your characters. So tread carefully as you never know what the next room or floor will bring.
With co-op support, you and your friends can journey into the unknown together. And given the procedural nature of the dungeon layout, each journey will be a random one from the innate difficulty to the loot your party finds.
Leaderboard stats are given upon completion or death of your entire party. Additional achievements and game art pieces can also be collected throughout the game for the diehard completionists to extend your play time.
Dungeon of the Endless provides a great mix of procedural dungeon crawling and strategic depth with every playthrough. If you enjoy a game that offers plenty of randomness and replay value both for yourself and a co-op partner, then this dungeon experience will most definitely whet your appetite.