Dungeon Of The Endless is a cross between an adventure and tower defense game with a little RPG mixed in. It is a very unique game with hours and hours of game play and fun!
The story of the game starts with an escape pod crash. You choose 2 characters, or heroes, to start with. The point is to find the exit and move your crystal up to the next floor. The narrative didn’t really explain but it seems some sort of biological force has taken over your ship and populated it with various monsters referred to as lab experiments. As you explore room to room you can send power to the rooms you would like and add modules that can help you defend your crystal or give you buffs. Some give you speed and health regeneration, some give you bonuses to resources. This is where tower defense strategy comes in to play.
When you find the exit your goal is to take your crystal to the exit. As soon as you grab the crystal every lab experiment comes running for you. This is where you want to set up a gauntlet because when your hero is running with the crystal they can’t attack or use their skills. The other heroes can, of course, defend them as well. When all your heroes have reached the exit you can continue to the next floor, even if there are still tons of lab experiments chasing you. Before the next level loads there is a screen that explains your progress, shows which floor you’re on, and shows a little dialog between your heroes.
There are four types of resources; Science, Food, Industry, and Dust. Science is used when you find bigger buff items called Artifacts. It is also used to research new modules and is used as currency when you find a merchant. Food is used to level up and heal your heroes, as well as recruit new heroes (you can have a max of four) and a few miscellaneous things like activating mysterious items found in rooms. Building modules requires Industry. Dust is used to send power to rooms.
When the game started out I was a little lost. The tutorial doesn’t start unless you go in to the menu and trigger it, and then you have to do each action exactly how it tells you. On top of that it doesn’t give you every detail you need to play the game. But after a bit of button testing and trying everything, I got the hang of it. The controls are a little weird but when you get used to them it fits perfectly.
As you go from room to room you can go with all your heroes or assign them to rooms to defend. All attacks are automatic, and instead of walking you simply choose the room or door you want to send the hero to. Rooms are blacked out until you open the door to them. You can also view the entire map you have uncovered with the press of a button. Some rooms spawn a few lab experiments, some spawn none. Some have special items like Artifacts or Dust Factories in them, some are empty. It is exciting as you go from room to room discovering what each has to offer! At certain intervals hordes of lab experiments spawn in one or even four different rooms.
At that point it is definitely best to send all your heroes to defend your crystal as that is what each lab experiment runs to. Keep an eye on your heroes health because healing is one thing they don’t do automatically and if they die, they’re gone. At first I found this super frustrating, but when I found new recruits on each level, it wasn’t so much of a bummer. As with any perma-death feature it can be very frustrating putting all your resources in to a character that dies and is gone forever, but at least they drop their equipment. Still, by the time I made it to the sixth floor the first time I only had one hero left, which made it impossible to proceed to the next level and I had to start all over. But this game is fun enough it doesn’t bother much and is awesome to continue playing. Each level is randomly generated so even if you start over at level one you are not going to have to repeat the same levels over and over. Thus the “endless” feeling of the dungeon, I believe.
The RPG element comes in a small way. You can purchase armor, weapons, and items for your heroes, as well as level them up. Each hero has his/her/its own skills That can heal, give attack bonuses, or speed the hero up. Each hero also has a biography that gives a little backstory. At the end of each floor, if that hero hasn’t died, the dialog between the heroes can unlock more of the biographies.
The music and graphics in the game are a huge throwback to arcade games. The music is exactly what you would expect from a 64-bit style space game. The semi-pixelated graphics are perfect for this game, anything else would not have the right feel.
Overall this game is excellent, a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it to any type of gamer!
+ Music and graphics give it a classic arcade feeling
+ Randomly generated floors give it endless replay value
+ Funny dialog and item descriptions
+ Freaky lab experiment monsters
Final Score: 9/10