TITLE: Dungeon of the Endless
DEVELOPER: AMPLITUDE Studios
PUBLISHER: AMPLITUDE Studios
PLATFORM: PC via Steam
EARLY ACCESS PRICE: $9.74 – $14.99
EARLY ACCESS START: December 11, 2013
Lately, a lot of roguelikes have hit the market, and some people seem to be a bit burnt out on them. I’ve even seen comments on various social media platforms about people not even caring when another one is released. But today, I’ll be talking a little about a roguelike you should care about from AMPLITUDE Studios, the makers of Endless Space.
Dungeon of the Elements is a strategic, rogue-like, spin-off game set in the universe of Endless Space. Early access for the game began in December of 2013 on Steam, and so far, from what I have played, the game looks pretty promising. The gist of the game boils down to this: an escape ship has broken away from a prison-transport vessel and has crashed into a dungeon on an alien world. Your ultimate goal is to find a way out and survive the craziness inside. So, sounds pretty basic so far, right?
Where things start to get interesting is in the fact that you start out with just two heroes, and once these heroes are killed, they’re gone for the duration of the game. As you explore the area, you might come across someone who’s trapped in the dungeon, or someone who has his or her own motives and may elect to join you. Thus, even if one of your heroes dies, others may serve as a replacement. Naturally, the game ends when one of two things happens: your heroes are all wiped out, or your ship’s power crystal is neutralized.
From what I’ve read online, some people have compared certain aspects of the game to Baldur’s Gate, and this may not be a terrible analogy. Each hero can be individually controlled in the game, and while there are times when you might be inclined to keep them together so that they can overcome large groups of enemies without facing certain death, there are other times when having them split up to quickly explore, or having one of them defend the power crystal, is the better choice. The crystal is, in fact, vital to progression through the dungeon, as it’s needed to power the doors that lead into the next floor of the strange place. Thus, the player must decide if he or she wants to leave the crystal in a central, hopefully-guarded, location while other heroes explore and look for the door, or if he or she would rather take a chance just bringing it along while plumbing the depths, hoping to keep it safe. Either way, choices must be made, and that’s where a lot of the fun comes from.
The game has a nice, mellow soundtrack that really fits with the atmosphere, and I found that I personally liked the 8-bit styled pixel art that composes its graphical engine. The developers clearly meant to design the overall style to serve as a throwback to older PC games of a bygone era, and all-in-all, this seems to work out quite well for them. As it currently stands, the game is still somewhat early in development, so all of the features that will be present in the final game aren’t included here just yet (including the fact that the final version will have 12+ floors per game, whereas here we are quite a bit more limited than that).
Still, if the game looks like something that would interest you, you can snag your early access from between $9.74 and $14.99 on Steam right now, depending on which package interests you the most. In my opinion, this is a fun little game and one to keep an eye on as development continues.
PRE-RELEASE OUTLOOK: Promising