Dungeon of The Endless is the brainchild of Amplitude Studios, responsible for two other games connected to Dungeon of The Endless lore-wise, funnily enough known as Endless Space and Endless Legend. The game was previously available on Steam for $11.99 that has been made available for tablet users at $1.99 on the app store. My condolences to all Xbox and PS players and anyone who does have a tablet but does not have an iPad 3 or newer because that’s what you’ll need to run it on an Apple device.
The game styles itself as a science fiction tower defense/dungeon crawler hybrid with just a hint of RPG sprinkled onto it. I wouldn’t call it Rougelike at all but maybe Rougish is a better word. The pixelated graphics do much more good than harm and act as a refreshing change of pace to the “we have to have it look as lifelike and realistic as possible” frenzy that most game developers seem to have embraced. Dungeon of The Endless is in fact my favorite kind of game, it’s a game with a decent enough story and replayability.
You take on the roll of a group of convicts on a spaceship that has crashed onto a planet and buried itself deep underground and it’s up to you to find your way out while reuniting with other survivors of the crash, building generators and keeping the scary monsters at bay. The game starts out with a number of characters already unlocked for you with the rest being locked until you hook up with your fellow convicts. You pick two of them to start the game off with and I suggest you pick them well. Balance, as with everything else Amplitude Studios has released, is key because once a character is gone it is gone. Neither swears or sciences will bring back the departed.
The environment is randomized for each new game you start, which combined with the permadeath is why I think people confuse it for a Rougelike game. In truth it has two of the qualifications but lacks the other two: Turn based strategy and a grid map. The map is just a series of randomized interconnected rooms, with most rooms having a generator at the center and this is where things get a little tricky for the player because you can't protect all of your generators from being attacked by your insectoid enemy (which look suspiciously like a playable race in their Endless Legend game) as you look for the elevator that will take you to the next floor, with your ultimate goal being to reach the surface with your all-important Dust generating crystal.
For those who have played anything else by Amplitude Studios you know that there are 4 resources: Industry, Science, Food and Dust. The first three are self explanatory. Food lets you recruit heroes, level them up, and heal them. Science lets you research new generators and Industry lets you build your generators but Dust is the most important of them all. Dust is what you use to power the rooms you unlock. Dust is everything, in any Amplitude Studio game you play, Dust is the key to victory. Remember that.
The soundtrack does a superb sound of setting the mood and even comes with creepy chitinous tapping sounds and the shifting groans of stressed metal mixed into the sounds. It does its job well and I wish I could say that for more games that I play.
Is this a game for everyone? No, but it does serve as the best possible entry point to anyone interested in Amplitude Studios or their “Endless Universe” setting as well as being a very strong game on its own two feet. But if you are interested and you have a tablet that can run it I’d suggest picking it up as it is cheaper than its computer counterpart and it’s portable fun. Did I mention that it was fun?