Dungeons are often the location of choice when it comes to the indie developers’ most popular genre, the rogue-like, and it’s not hard to see why. With permadeath usually thrown into the mix to keep you on your toes and plenty of loot on offer to ensure you are found coming back time and time again, a dungeon sounds like the ideal place. When those layouts are completely fresh each time thanks to the powers of procedural generation, you can probably bet that there’s a good few hours of enjoyment to be had if rogue-likes are your kind of thing. But has the genre been overcooked already, or do we have time for One More Dungeon?
The first thing that becomes clear about One More Dungeon is that it feels exactly like what you would expect to see if FPS classic DOOM and block builder Minecraft got together for a mashup… and then decided to go off on adventure together.
The game is played from a first-person perspective, with players starting on the first floor of their randomly generated dungeon, complete with a sword and staff in hand to attack the cretins that dwell within. There’s not really anything to go on in terms of story here, instead One More Dungeon relies on the pull of the gameplay with players required to explore and survive long enough to gain valuable loot, save up precious coins and slay the enemy carrying the seal that grants passage to the next floor of the dungeon.
By collecting loot, you will increase your chances of survival with various pickups available, and potions to keep the health count up, whilst saving coins will allow for buying new weapons in the randomly located shops that are strewn throughout each level. If anything, they are a great help for tackling the harder challenges later on in the dungeon.
As you progress and kill the many enemies looking to make the dungeon your tomb, you will find your score increasing. Finishing a level with a high score is usually the best idea in any game that rates your actions with a score, but in One More Dungeon this is especially true with your score used to purchase game changing mutators for use at the start of your next run through. These include things like extra health for you, or less health for enemies, as well as other mutators that can see the challenge increased. The negative effects are probably something that only the hardcore players will fancy themselves for; having the option ensures a level of customisation that keeps things feeling fresh.
As for the actual combat itself, One More Dungeon is a bit of a mixed bag. With a melee weapon and a ranged staff it would be easy to compare things to that of classic FPS dungeon crawler Ziggurat, but unfortunately there’s a lack of freedom when it comes to aiming, with players locked to a horizontal aiming perspective only. This often leaves the need to physically sidestep to get things in line of sight rather than to simply move the camera. That is slightly disappointing, although it does add once more to that retro feel which seems to be what the developer has gone for here.
Another thing that slightly puts me off in regards the combat is the fact that whilst melee is an option, many enemies can deal surprisingly large amounts of damage, meaning should they happen to swing an attack first, you’ll quickly find yourself jumping back to the start to begin your run over from scratch. This means the ideal way to attack comes from the ranged staff and its three distinct firing options; fire, ice or poison. With the staff proving a lot safer, it quickly makes the melee option feel rather redundant in comparison.
As mentioned before, the visual side of things looks heavily reminiscent to some of gaming’s most classic pixelated adventures and whilst it may not appeal to everyone, it’s certainly not something to scoff at if you like games with a classic feel to them. What makes it even better is the audio within aids the retro feel with atmospheric music that keeps things feeling tense as you enter each new room, bringing a real vibe to proceedings.
It must be said that One More Dungeon has a huge emphasis on exploration throughout. With no story to speak of, it is all about looting and progressing through every enemy that stands in your way until you make it to the end, and to do this you’ll need every bit of help; extra potions are essential due to the challenging difficulty found throughout. Being an 8-bit styled game though, exploring can become a tad confusing when several things look surprisingly similar and it’s not all too rare to see enemies or even paths blend in with the environment. Although there is a map available, it’s all too easy to miss a necessary path because you can’t see it, so it’s important to ensure that you pay close attention to the map unless you wish to spend your time backtracking.
Overall and if you miss the classic Doom style FPS experience or fancy the challenge of rogue-like every now and then, then One More Dungeon isn’t the worst game to play and will do a job of scratching that retro itch. But should you want something that can keep up with modern trends or even throw something a little fresh into the mix, then you’ll probably not find much in the way of excitement. One More Dungeon is something I’ll probably head back to on a rainy day, but other than the procedurally generated stages, there isn’t anything that hasn’t been done before.