Posted on : 05-06-2011 | By : Brian | In : IndieGames, Reviews, Video Games, VideoGames
My wife sent me a link to a little indie game called Desktop Dungeons, and I’ve been obsessed with it since I downloaded it.
Let me back up and explain what it is. Desktop Dungeons is a Rogue-like game, for those of you who know what that is. For those who don’t, the idea is that you pick a race and class and fight your way through a randomly generated dungeon for treasure and XPs. Rogue-likes tend toward the difficult side, and most games will end with your character’s death; also, you can’t save your game. However, completing an entire dungeon takes maybe ten minutes, and it’s pretty easy to get caught up in it and just play a new dungeon once you’ve finished (or been finished by) the current one.
There is a sense of progress in the game, despite the disposable nature of your characters. Whenever you successfully complete a dungeon (which I’ve done exactly once so far), you are rewarded with unlocks in the form of new classes, new races, and new types of dungeons to explore. Stores within the game will also start stocking better items, and different monsters will start showing up.
The game is a turn-based affair, with an almost puzzle-like quality as you decide what order to tackle your opponents in and what parts of the dungeon to explore, and to leave unexplored. That actually brings me to one of the more interesting elements of the game: exploration. The entire dungeon is covered by a fog of war-style darkness that recedes as you progress through it. The interesting thing is that every tile of the dungeon you explore restores some of your health and mana. This leads to an interesting dynamic where you want to explore the dungeon to find monsters you can kill and loot you can pick up, but you want to leave sections of it unexplored dungeon so you can heal and get back mana.
Oh, and I forgot to mention the best part: it’s free. Sort of. You can download the alpha of the game (which is extremely polished and complete, for an alpha) for free, and you’ll always be able to. However, QCFDesign, the people behind Desktop Dungeons, do plan to release this game for pay, on Steam as well as iOS and Android. My suggestion: go download the alpha and give it a whirl. If you like it, buy the game when it comes out (or pay for it now, to help fund the project). That’s my plan, at least.