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Dungeon of the Endless



"Open? NO? Yes. NO! What?"




Dungeon of the Endless is a "roguelike dungeon defense" game, as advertised in the Steam Store.  What this boils down to is that your heroes cannot be regained once killed, and once you lose a game, you've lost for good.  The game takes place in an underground dungeon, where "turns" are the opening of a new room's door, and every turn, there's a chance of monsters spawning and assaulting your heroes, your modules, and your ultimate objective to defend, your Crystal.


As far as the story element goes, a prison ship, the Success, was shot down in orbit around a planet known as Auriga, jettisoning the escape pods containing crew, prisoners, and various items from the ship.  These crew and prisoners, as well as certain natives of the planet, constitute the game's Heroes.


The objective of Dungeon of the Endless is primarily to find the elevator exit on each floor, and successfully transport your Crystal from the floor's beginning room(your escape pod on the first floor) to the elevator.  This takes you up a floor; in a standard game there are 12 game floors, and the final floor, which is the surface, an immediate victory if reached.


Floors become larger and more expansive, and more difficult, as you rise.  You receive additional Industry, Science, and Food resources as you open doors, which allows you to add defensive and resource modules, upgrade your modules, and upgrade and heal your heroes, respectively.  There is a fourth resource, Dust, which is used to power rooms.  Monsters cannot spawn in rooms that are powered or occupied by a hero, and modules can only be activated in powered rooms.  Additionally, powered rooms must have a direct chain back to the Crystal's room.





The character selection screen.  The default Escape Pod in singleplayer allows two characters to start.


Players choose from a variety of game heroes with different backstories, abilities, and strengths.  The default Escape Pod only allows for two characters in singleplayer, but other pods only allow for one heavily buffed character, while one pod allows you to start with four characters from the very beginning, along with various gameplay bonuses and penalties.  (Your eyes do not fool you in the above image.  That is, in fact, the Blu Engineer, Red Pyro, Red Heavy, and Blu Medic towards the bottom.)


Once you have chosen your pod type, the game shows a short scene of crashing into the planet, followed by loading the first floor of the game.



The first room of the game when using the Escape Pod, as well as your Crystal.


Once you've crash-landed, you proceed by opening doors, each of which has a chance to have monsters behind it, as well as something beneficial such as free Industry, Science, Food, or Dust(FIDS), or even something neutral, such as a Dust Machine, which has a chance to give nothing or give a boost to a resource when activated with Industry.  You also have a chance of locating a Merchant, who will buy and sell items for fixed prices of a random FIDS resource, and a new hero of a random level, who you can purchase for a Food cost.  Finally, you have a chance to locate an Artefact, which you use to research new modules and upgrade existing ones with Science points.


Resources are gained every time a door is opened, which effectively begins a new "turn."  Several things, such as researching new items at Artefacts, will take a period of several turns to complete or cooldown.  Monsters are given a chance to spawn in every room that is unpowered and unoccupied by a hero, and the chance is further randomized as to how difficult the spawned monsters will be, depending on floor.


Rooms are powered via Dust.  You begin every floor with enough Dust to power two rooms, and typically find more Dust in new rooms.  It requires 10 Dust to power a room.  The remaining leftover dust will be used to add defense to the Crystal in the event that monsters reach it and attack it.


Major and minor modules can only be constructed in powered rooms.  Major modules consist primarily, but not entirely, of resource modules that increase the amount of resources gained per turn.  Additional major modules permit things such as convenient Merchant location, or powering of rooms without Dust, and must be researched.  Minor modules serve either defensive, offensive, or supportive roles.  Defensive modules will directly boost the stats of modules in the room, or negatively impact monsters in ways other than directly harming them.  Offensive modules are typically straightforward, such as turrets.  Supportive modules will assist heroes in the room.  Major resource modules can also be "Operated" by certain heroes, which increases the amount of resources they contribute per turn.



Dungeoneering is a dangerous job...


Monsters come in many varieties.  Most will simply stop and assault any heroes in the room, and will advance until they either reach a hero or reach the Crystal.  Some will ignore Heroes and attack Major and Minor Modules in the room, requiring repair by certain heroes.  Some will directly seek out Heroes, ignoring the Crystal entirely.  Others ignore Heroes entirely, seeking out the Crystal.  Some "boss" monsters will remain in rooms and not allow autohealing until sought out and killed, and will do heavy area damage.  Monster subtypes include support monsters that buff other monsters, tank monsters that are good at absorbing damage, "glass cannon" monsters that do heavy damage but lack health, among others.



...and sometimes, it's just plain hard.


If monsters reach the Crystal room and are unimpeded by heroes, they will attack the Crystal, causing the player to lose Dust.  If the player loses enough dust that they cannot power a single room, the game is over.  The game also ends if all heroes are dead.


Heroes are upgraded to increase Health, Speed, Attack Power(and subsequently DPS), Attack Cooldown, and several other traits using Food.  Upgrade costs increase with level, as do the benefits.  Levels cap at 15 for all heroes, and typically heroes will receive a particularly substantial stat boost at level 15.  Heroes also receive new active and passive abilities that enhance their abilities to fight or support the team as they level up, such as the ability to operate or repair modules or be ignored by monsters, or active abilities that cause large amounts of damage or increase the likelihood of monsters dropping useful things such as Dust or Food.


Heroes can be equipped with various weapons, armor, and accessory items.  The type of weapon equipped varies by Hero, and certain heroes do not equip any weapons at all.  Armor is equippable by all heroes, as are at least one accessory.  All weapons, armor, and accessories boost stats in various ways.



Item descriptions, as do character descriptions, tend towards the satirical.


New Heroes are unlocked by meeting them in the dungeon and purchasing them, then surviving three consecutive floors with them or beating the game, whichever comes first.


Once the player is ready to advance to the next floor after having discovered the exit, they choose a Hero- usually the fastest one on the team- to carry the Crystal to the exit, and remove it from its berth.  This initiates the Crystal Quest mode.



Monsters become quite relentless when the Crystal is moving...


In Crystal Quest, powered rooms cannot be unpowered, unpowered rooms cannot be powered, and monsters will infinitely and regularly spawn from unpowered and unoccupied rooms, seeking to kill the nearest heroes.  If the Crystal carrier dies, the game is lost.  Once the carrier reaches the exit room, the player may proceed to the next floor.  All surviving heroes that are in the exit room will be transported to the following floor.


Once the player reaches the top(13th) floor, which is the surface, the game is won.



Four floors down, a bunch more to go...


In multiplayer, each player starts with one hero, with up to four players.  No more than four total heroes can be on the team, but heroes can be transferred between players, and new heroes can be bought if the total number is below 4.  Resources for each player are reduced to roughly equal the total amount one player would receive if playing alone.


Other Elements


Dungeon of the Endless has received critical acclaim for its music score, for good reason.  The tracks often feel as if they perfectly fit with the atmosphere, and never seem to get old to me personally.


A few examples:





Lady Shaft

And of course, the main menu:


Additionally, Dungeon of the Endless has a heavy satire element that permeates every element of the game, from its heroes, to its items, to its secrets.


Examples of item descriptions, which tend towards the ironic:


Lite Saber: Found on the body of a mysterious robed man, this low-calorie weapon is guaranteed to keep your hero fit and trim.


Ahhrrrmani Suit: Double-breasted, pin-striped, and guaranteed to make everyone you meet hate you.


Frag Grenade: Created as a counter-weapon that frags incoming grenades, it can also counteract some projectiles.


Spare Mag: Most likely jettisoned from a bathroom when the ship crashed, it is good to have a spare magazine around to read when you are bored.


And Hero dialogue examples:


Mizi Kurtiz: 

  • (When met in the dungeon) "Want to hire me on? NO! DO NOT! Yes, of course you should. I SHALL NOT BE HIRED! Shut-up! ... Uh, sorry. Unwanted passenger."
  • (When taking heavy damage) "PAIN MEANS I AM ALIVE! No, it means you're hurt, idiot."

Sara Numas(anagram for Samus Aran, has the appearance of Zero Suit Samus):

  • (When met in the dungeon) "Get it straight: I'm not your date or your mom. No kisses, no crying."

The game also contains four heroes from Team Fortress 2 as part of a free update, who have a game storyline when all together.


The Final Tally


Personally, I quite liked Dungeon of the Endless.  The pros and cons are as follows:




+Satire that doesn't feel forced


+Amazing soundtrack and visuals


+Large variety of heroes to choose from


+Randomly generated dungeons ensure variety in gameplay


+VERY much genuinely difficult; no difficulty is simulated, and it is a genuine challenge to beat the game




-After some time, the gameplay becomes rote, even with dungeon variation and RNG


-Playing in multiplayer is very difficult to impossible without very high levels of team coordination


-The game presently has a small community compared to other Endless series games


All in all, Dungeon of the Endless is a game made up of a series of simple mechanisms that combine to form an incredible challenge.


EDIT: DotE now allows multiple saves!

swamp, Tucker933, NeX and 1 other like this

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