Dungeon of the Endless
I'm pretty sure that if you were asked about dungeon crawlers you'd be able to spell out quite a few titles without even looking it up. Same with tower defense games. And rogue-likes. But what if I said there exists a game that is a fine blend of all of that and stands up enough on its own? Meet Dungeon of the Endless, the game that's unlike all the others, but at the same time borrows much from other games. Sounds intriguing? Great! Because for an indie title, this one sure deserves your attention.
Now, let me start off by saying this game is procedurally generated. What does that mean? Well, the game revolves pretty much around you being dumped in a dungeon with lots of doors. Each time you open a door, the room behind it gets randomly generated, so there's no such thing as two identical runs in this game. And that's a good thing, because there's no telling how many times you'll have to restart the game just to beat a dungeon. Why, you might ask... this game is ridiculously difficult. Mainly because of the randomly generated everything. But why? Well, to understand it, let's grasp the mechanics of the game...
More than anything, this game emphasizes the resource management. The moment you start the game, you're greeted with four resources: Industry, Science, Food and Dust. Industry is used to build anything on the floor, from modules, which increase the resource gain, to weapons, which help ride off the waves of enemies. Science is used to research new things that can really save your life - but only if you find a room with a crystal. Food is used to recruit new crew members you might meet along the way or level up your current crew members. Lastly, Dust is used to power up the rooms - if the room isn't powered up, you can't use anything inside it, and every now and then monsters will spawn there. To top it off, all of those resources can be used to buy equipment from merchants you might meet along the way.
To beat a floor, you have to explore it, find an exit and then move the Core (which powers up everything) from the very start to said exit. And that's where bullshit (fun bullshit, though) starts to kick in. To explore the floor, you have to open the door. Each time you do, you gain a few resources (with the amount increase depending on how many modules for each resource you built), get a chance to gain a handful of Dust and the rest is up to what is beyond the door. There may be a room with enemies, with a crystal, with a merchant, literally anything. And it's up to you whether you want to power it up or not. The way gameplay works, however, will prevent you from clicking too much - all you do is pretty much managing resources, deciding on stuff, and move your heroes or use their skills - they will attack automatically.
To get back to my original point, remember how I said the game is unfair or difficult? Well, most of that is shown during your final stage of each floor, where you're moving the Core to the exit. On most floors (pretty much every floor apart from the tutorial one) your amount of Dust won't be enough to power up every single room. And, as I already said, the enemies spawn in the rooms that aren't powered up - likewise, everything that you might have built in those rooms won't work. Your only defense from those enemies is every weapon you built that is powered up and your crew members - apart from the one carrying the Core. And trust me, many times have I raged over the insane amount of enemies swarming me and killing me nearly instantly once I stepped out of the starting point. But you know what, each time it happened, I laughed in the end, because as unfair as it was, it's still fun.
The technical aspects of this game are pretty high quality. The soundtrack is befitting the genre/look of the game, the graphics are pixelated and that's one of the charms this game has. Like many other rogue-likes, this game reaches out to the people enjoying some old school graphics, giving it a whole new look, and it works. Neonish atmosphere, pixels here and there, I couldn't help but be in ave of it.
To say the last few words about the game, I'll just say to this day I have quite the blast playing it. I usually run the game, start up a new run, get past a few floors and get killed out of a sudden. And hell, it's fun! Which is accented by everything the producers put in to make it an autoparody. Like the Hipster Scarf on my screenshot. Or a crew member you might meet sometime, whose signature skill is... 'Verbal Abuse'.
Personal notes: This game is worth every penny I spent on it. It's really fun to play once in a while, and doesn't require much attention from you apart from the times you open the door or move the Core, which makes it a perfect game to play when you're short on time or simply are looking to relax for a bit. Would recommend/10.