I’m afraid to open the next door. Two of my heroes died in the previous wave and I still haven’t found the exit. Suddenly, I get a warning of an incoming wave. I finally find the door, by my resources are exhausted and I can’t open it. I wish I bought that new blaster off the merchant. I spent too much money to protect my crystal.
All of this panic came from one of my many sessions with Dungeon of the Endless. Since it’s currently on Steam as an early access title, some features such as the skill system for heroes and a tutorial level to ease you into the game are missing, so expect pure panic if you decide to support the developers by purchasing Dungeon of the Endless through early access.
In Dungeon of the Endless, you must travel through randomly generated dungeons in search of the exit – all while defending a crystal from the creatures from the depths. This is where the Rogue-like elements come into play. Every session starts you with two different characters, both may either be a melee focused hero or a ranged focus hero. Each hero comes with varying strengths and weaknesses. The thing that really made really care about these characters was the fact that they’re not randomly generated every time.
Each character is a named “Hero,” so when Gork “Butcher” Koroser and Nurse Deena Ratchet show up, you will certainly remember the last time they were in you party. It’s also quite possible that you could also recall how you left them to die because you were too busy buying items from the merchant and his pug companion to pay attention to their impending demise. Let’s just hope they don’t remember.
Heroes aren’t your only line of defense, as you you can also set up various defenses to protect your crystal. These tower defense elements are key to staying alive long enough to exit to the next level. When I first started the game I ignored them, but that resulted in my totally deserved death. As I played with more of the tower defense mechanics, a whole new world of gameplay opened up. Learning to embrace these mechanics are pivotal to the completion of the level and advancement throughout the game.
As it stands in its early access state, Dungeon of the Endless is a lot of fun and has vast amounts of room for additions and tweaks. It hits the weird nerve I get from playing games such as Splelunky and Risk of Rain. I don’t feel like I’ve lost anything when my team gets wiped out by three waves of enemies, but I still learn from their deaths enough to give my future team more of a fighting chance. The game adopts a learning method of trial and error, teaching you what you can and can’t do and what you simply shouldn’t do – like putting all of your heroes too far from defenses and not buying upgrades. I know Dungeon of the Endless is in an early state, but I like where it’s headed and can’t wait for the skill system to be introduced. Also, the merchant’s pug is too cute.