Dungeon Of The Endless Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Dungeon Of The Endless Review



Imagine getting jettisoned from a prisoner transport spaceship onto a random planet, only to survive the rescue pod crash and be forced to make your way out of the strange maze-like caves your pod exploded its way into. This is the setting of Dungeon Of The Endless – and the game has you controlling a couple of rag-tag characters as they trudge through the depths of Aurora. If you read our review of Endless Legend, you’ll know that Aurora is the planet this amazing 4X takes place on. Indeed, DOTE is a prequel of sorts, setting the tone and history of Endless Legend, which makes the intricate storyline thread spread across the Endless games that much more interesting.


The loading dialogues are quite fun.

As you begin your first delve into the depths of this game, you’ll have your chosen characters spawn in a small room with your crashed rescue pod. As is usual, you’ll be unlocking new pods and characters left and right as you play the game, so don’t worry if you don’t find anything intricate enough at first. The two characters will be guarding a power core – the single most important item in the game. See, this gizmo provides your squad with electricity to power rooms, machinery and such, so keep in mind that if there’s anything worth virtually dying for, it’s the power core. Once you settle in and figure out what’s what – which won’t take long since the UI and game systems are fairly transparent and inviting for newbies – you’ll have to open your first door. See, Dungeon Of The Endless is essentially a turn-based game, but instead of ending turns you’ve got to open doors to new rooms and locations. Your characters and, indeed, enemies move in real time in-between your door-opening ceremonies though, so it’s a hybrid system that does wonders for those of us who really like trying out new things. Good news – it’s also fairly reliable and inviting, so you won’t spend your first five playthroughs learning everything there is to learn about the game.

Practically every room has a couple of machinery nodes for you to build stuff on. From the get-go you’ll have access to the three basic resource generators (food, science, industry – too keep things simple) and some low-end defense turrets. So you can turn the game into a tower defense too, if you really want to. Regardless, you’ll want to install at least some defenses since the enemies really like to swarm in Dungeon Of The Endless, and I sincerely doubt you’ll have enough manpower to leave around, defending points of interest. While you do begin with two grunts only, there’s a good chance you’ll run into additional characters as you ascend through the dungeon, thus providing a bit of relief for the starting pair. Also important – you’ll want to farm as much food as you can as it’s the resource used for healing and levelling your characters. Science is used to research new tech, such as drones, turrets and skills on randomly placed research crystals. Industry, on the other hand, is only used when building turrets and generators. There is one, most important resource, however, you’ll always be scraping for – the Dust. Obviously influenced by Dune’s Melange, Dust is used in all kinds of contraptions and is the main source of power in this universe. Thus, if you want to bring light and power your machinery in the rooms you populate in DOTE, you’ll have to use your power core and sacrifice Dust along the way. Dust is also used as a currency, so it’s also smart to have a stockpile at the ready in the off-chance a merchant appears. One thing you’ll often find in DOTE are the aggressive animals that grow stronger as you approach the planet’ surface. Your grunts will automatically attack the critters located in the room they’re in, so no worries about that. You can, however, use your active skills at will, so there’s a fair amount of control the players have over combat too. Gameplay consists of the player trying to balance combat, resource management and character growth, really, and it’s a blast.


I’d say that this is a clusterfuck, but that would be an understatement.

Not to forget the game’s multiplayer component either! It’s a COOP component where up to four players have to share their pool of resources and try their best to survive in what is a severely punishing environment. Naturally, you’ll have to communicate quite a lot about what you’re doing if you plan on surviving long enough to actually finish the game, but it’s an absolute blast when playing with friends.

The problem I had with playing DOTE is that it’s a bit difficult to figure out how to play the game properly at first. While it might seem that well-levelled heroes are enough to survive all twelve randomly generated dungeon levels, they really aren’t. Instead, you’ll have to focus on building a safe route through which you’ll drag your power core with you, once the exit is located. Once you get the grasp of how things work it’s all fairly simple, but it might be good to explain the basic gameplay premise just a bit more prominently.

The visuals are wonderfully rendered, with vivid colours and nicely projected shadows – both of which serve as nice additions to the over-used pixelated style that has been extremely popular in the last couple of years. As far as audio goes, the soundtrack is lovely and background sounds serve their purpose. It all forms a fairly coherent and enjoyable experience that is sure to leave a lasting impression on its players.

All in all, Dungeon Of The Endless is a very enjoyable game that isn’t afraid to switch things up and muddle the line between numerous genres to create a unique experience. With lovely graphics and intense gameplay, it’s an easy recommendation.