Published on June 9th, 2020 | by Lyla Saudi
Dungeon of The Endless Switch Review
Summary: Explore, Fight, Death, Repeat. It’s time to escape!
Dungeon of the Endless was first released on PC in 2014 to positive reviews (and to this day it is still well rated on Steam) and has recently been adapted to be playable on the Nintendo Switch. In this rogue-like dungeon-defense game you take the role of survivors of a crashed prison spaceship who must battle monsters, gather resources, level up and upgrade equipment to make the long journey to freedom.
As a roguelike game, you will find yourself in a dungeon crawler in which each room and each level is procedurally generated, providing a random nature to your experience each time you play. In addition, the looming threat of permadeath means that every doorway, small decision and mistake can have serious, game-ending consequences. As with all roguelike games, the fact that when you die you die, and the random nature of the experience means the game is challenging, and you have to have some level of stubbornness, resilience and willingness to accept defeat before you brush yourself off and return once more into the breach to taste victory.
At the start of each game you will select two characters, each with their own statistics, abilities and therefore strengths and weaknesses. There are plenty of characters to choose from with varying skills and weapon types, each with their own unique and fun designs. You will control each character separately or in tandem by directing them to move around, level up and apply special abilities (take note though, this is not a fighting sim as your characters AI will have them fight on their own). As you make your way through the dungeon you will level up your characters and your defenses by finding improved equipment, setting resource generators, leveling up characters, and finding additional characters to add to your team, making the RPG element of the game ever present.
At the start of each turn, you will gain three resources: Industry, science, and food, which you use build your defense systems within the ship. This tower defense aspect means you will have to balance your resources as you decide between focusing on construction of turrets (industry), leveling up your defenses (science), or developing your characters (food). The resource system works well, providing important decisions and strategy options throughout. It also allows you to strategize and apply different approaches to work through which is when the game is at its best.
With limited instruction when you first start immediate death and failure is assured. But with some problem solving (and maybe an online video or two) your understanding will come together quickly, and you’ll enjoy the challenge point that the game provides. Some have criticized the game for having low replay value, as once you manage to succeed, future attempts won’t bring many unexpected hazards. However, as you succeed you will unlock a large amount of characters (26) as well as more ships to provide ‘dungeon’ variations (8), each with their own modifiers, which means that if you enjoy the game you can try to solve the challenges it poses in a variety of ways.
The game has an old school, 8-bit, pixelated, blocked look to it, which provides appeal to those still reminiscing on the joys of 80’s sci-fi and certainly comes with its charm. It does take a bit of getting used to, and at times does mean that you can miss some details on the Switch screen, but the different heroes and enemies move smoothly and are easily distinguishable. The background music and sound effects are pretty basic, but they do a nice job of matching the sci-fi, alien, creepy, vibe and tone of the game.
Dungeon of the Endless provides a nice mixture of tower defense, RPG and dungeon crawler strategy with a great gameplay experience. The game is challenging, unforgiving, and requires a player who is ready to fail in order to eventually succeed. Every choice can make or break your campaign, and the random dungeon generation provides variability in every attempt you make. It’s 8-bit graphic style provides a nice element to the game while keeping your attention on managing your resources and upgrading your heroes and equipment, which is where the game it at its strongest. The game’s creepy atmosphere and multiple play styles available make it an enjoyable experience worth experiencing on the Switch.
Title: Dungeon of the Endless
Developer: AMPLITUDE Studios
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG, Strategy
Platform: Nintendo Switch