Have you ever wondered what it would be like to mix RPG dungeon crawling, rogue-like, turn-based gameplay and tower defense all into one game? Well, Amplitude Studios have the answer to that and it’s called Dungeon of the Endless. The game is not exactly new, at least it’s not for me as I’ve been playing it on Steam since 2014, but it is great to know that this amazing game will be coming to Xbox One soon – to be more precise on January 20, 2016.
You start Dungeon of the Endless by watching a mini cutscene where a spaceship shoots out of a pod before crashing into a planet. Right after that that you are lead to selecting one of the six pods available, each with their own various advantages and disadvantages. Whilst the start of the game sees you limited to just the one, the others are unlocked by completing various requirements. It’s with this initial showing where you’ll quickly understand that Dungeon of the Endless has a lot of replayability.
In the same menu, you will also be able to select the heroes who will be part of your crew. There are six already available from the start with the others needing to be found and unlocked while playing the game. Again, each have their advantages and disadvantages, but choose the right crew and you’ll find that they compliment each other well. After selecting your pod and the heroes you want to play with, the game will start with you in a room with a yellow crystal (Pod Crystal). The objective of the game is to carry that crystal to the exit, but said exit is scattered among the various rooms in each floor. You need to find it and then retrieve the crystal to the exit room before moving along to the next floor. From there it’s a case of rinse and repeat until you finally reach the last exit room in the final floor.
Although this might seem simple, trust me it is not. First you need to find the exit room, and to do that you will need to go through all the various rooms until you find it and with almost every room containing a ton of enemies inside, navigating through them is no easy task. In any rooms without enemies, you’ll find merchants, resources, items, artifacts or just plain old empty areas.
One of the main features of DOTE is that whenever you find some enemies, your heroes and defensive modules such as turrets will automatically start fighting and firing against them. There are three main enemies encased in the game but all of them have one thing in common – they can, and will, attack your pod crystal if you let them. There are those that will only focus on attacking the crystal without giving any attention to the rest, whilst others will primarily centre their attention on your heroes first prior to hitting on the crystal. Others meanwhile attack the modules that you build starting from the resources to the support and the defensive/attacking modules. Apart from being found when opening new rooms they will also spawn in waves from time to times when you open a new door, so there’s little chance to hang around!
As I’ve mentioned previously, you can build modules to help you on your quest to escape the various floors of DOTE. These are divided into two groups, the Major Modules (that can only be built on the bigger slots available in the rooms) and the Minor Modules (useful with the smaller slots). The Major Modules are comprised of eight modules, three that generate the main resources of the game (Food, Industry and Science) whilst the others works a bit like supportive modules that can increase the Heroes and NPC defense, attack power or add an extra boost to collect Dust (another resource of the game). The Minor Modules are divided into three – the Support modules can heal your heroes or generate resources, the Offensive modules that, as their name implies, will attack any enemies that enter the room where they are built, and the Hindering modules which will affect the enemies performance, either by slowing them down or reducing their power.
To build anything, you will need resources which are generated with each turn you play. In other words, every time you open a new door they will be generated. There are four in the game – ‘Dust’ is used to power up the various rooms so you can build anything in them, whilst ‘Food’ does its usual job and allows you to heal, level up your heroes and recruit any new heroes that you encounter on your journey. ‘Industry’ allows the building of various modules and ‘Science’ is used to upgrade and research new modules. Any of them can also be used to buy items in the Merchants stores.
In terms of controls, it is all quite easy to learn and use. You just need to select the door or the room where you want to send your heroes and click on it and they will do the rest by themselves. Building modules is simple too; just call up the build menu, select the module you want to build and click on the rooms and it will be automatically build.
The graphics in DOTE are quite obviously a tribute to the best 90’s retro games and work brilliantly. In fact, if they were more “realistic”, then I’m afraid the whole experience would diminish. The soundtrack is pretty stunning, fitting perfectly into the game genre and is quite possibly the one thing I really love the most about Dungeon of the Endless.
The game also features a multiplayer mode, where you can either join or create a co-op game for anything up to four players, with each one controlling just the one hero. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to test it due to the obvious fact that the game has not yet been released, but the multiplayer mode is basically the same as that found with the single player experience although teamwork will be key to success.
Knowing what modules to build and exactly where and when to build them is something that you will learn to master as you make your way to the end of the game. And yes, you will need multiple attempts because it’s near on impossible for you to be able to reach the end the first time you play Dungeon of the Endless unless you are extremely skilled and already know how to play it. You will die lots of times, but with each defeat you will learn a bit more about how to play the game, and that is one of the features of DOTE that makes it so unique among the various dungeon crawler games. Knowing where to build offensive modules in order to assure a safe route from the starting room to the exit room and protect the resource generator modules is where the tower defense gameplay comes to life.
If you are looking for an easy game to play, then I’m sorry to disappoint you but Dungeon of the Endless is far from that. To be fair the only easy thing included in the game are the difficulty level names as even in the Very Easy difficulty you will die a few more times than you would imagine.
If you like to spend hours of your time trying to master a game, then Dungeon of the Endless is the perfect game for you. If you know the game or not, as long as you like RPG, tower defense, or dungeon crawler titles then I am sure that you will enjoy DOTE immensely.