|Dungeons of Dredmor|
|Platforms||Windows, OSX, Linux|
|Buy from Steam|
|Buy from Desura|
Riding on the excitement of The Binding of Isaac, I decided to dive right into another roguelike, this time from indie developer Gaslamp Games. But unlike Binding of Isaac, Dungeons of Dredmor is a more traditional, turn-based dungeon crawler, complete with character classes, skill trees, item forging, and the hack and slash-style fun one would expect from classic franchises like Diablo or Baldur’s Gate. Well, maybe not that traditional. Dungeons of Dredmor is perhaps best described as a spoof of classic computer roll-playing games; nothing takes itself seriously...
Three other writers here posted their impressions of Dungeons of Dredmor last week in our new series: Indie Impression. You may consider these my extended impression that turned into a complete review.
Items, for example, include plastic traffic cones and steel buckets for your head, parachute pants and lederhosen for your legs, and weapons like battery-powered swords and meat skewers (with meat still on them). Even the most "epic" gear tends to sport humourous names or descriptions. Enemies are rejects from other RPGs, and include killer vegetables, leprechauns, mustache spirits, and strange creatures called diggles among other things. These and many other things throughout the game have been touched with the game's particular brand of humour.
I mentioned that the game, like many rougelikes, is turn-based. This means that for every action you take, all the enemies in the dungeon will take an action in repsonse, which usually involved getting closer to you to cause you pain. The effects of items and skills will appear on screen with a number indicating how many more turns they will stay in effect. This includes healing items, that don't fully take effect in one turn, but over time. With this in mind, you'll want to be sure to consume them before your health gets too low. Trust me, despite their silly appearance, the enemies are actually quite tough.
When it came to a story, Gaslamp seemed to want the player to focus more on killing things than worrying about why they were. This can work to its advantage if you're a fan of this style of gameplay; the fairly deep combat system will be compelling enough. On the other hand, without any real goal to accomplish (save for frequent and unsatisfying retreval or killing quests), you may end up having your fill after the first half-dozen floors or so. The game really boils down to 10 levels (15 with the expansion) of nonestop killing and leveling up. However, the game does include a "quick" mode that cuts the dungeon size in half but keeps the experience and items flowing all the same; a smart inclusion.
Item forging is a rather big aspect of the game, and one I was particularly excited to explore, but is unfortunately somewhat underdeveloped. Before long, everything you can create will be outclassed by items you can readily purchase. This is despite there being plenty of tomes with crafting recipes to find. There just aren’t enough, and none are very useful beyond the first half of the game. The skill trees, while comical and certainly useful, can hardly be called "trees" at all. They are completely linear, one-branch paths of skills that are unlocked with each levelup. To its credit, each new skill makes a big impact on your performance, which is appreciable.
My biggest complaint with the game however has to be the bugs. There aren't many mind you, and though most are only midly annoying, some can be pretty damn frustrating, like when the game crashes (maybe right after finding a really good item, too). In one case, I almost lost a save file due to corruption. If not for an autosave file that captured my progress only minutes before my corrupted file did, I'd have lost hours of progress. Were it not for these issues, I'd have scored the game much more favourably, because otherwise, it's a really well put together time sink.
Also, for a game sporting tile graphics, I have to say that the load times are a bit lengthy. Whatever.
I can't see myself taking a second trip through the Dungeons of Dredmor--not anytime soon anyway--but for the RPG junkie looking for a great challenge, and something a little different that can be payed on and off, Dungeons of Dredmor may be a worthwhile endeavor.