Jill Seale

Indie Spotlight: Desktop Dungeons

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You weren’t doing anything for the rest of your life, right?

Desktop Dungeons was nominated for two awards at this year’s Independent Games Festival, and one of them was the Bad Mamma Jamma $20,000 Seumas Mcnally Grand Prize. Unfortunately, the grand prize was taken by a group of developers that totally needed the money way more, but it was enough to pique my interests. Little did I know I was going to up all that night playing this wonderful, deviously addictive game.

The premise is simple. You take the basic elements of roguelikes, like character leveling and different character classes and races, and combine them with what could best be described as a minesweeper-esque puzzle element, then chop them down into bite-sized, 20 minute long dungeon crawls and you have a sort of, kind of idea of what this game has going on. Once you pick your race and class, you start off at level 1 in the dungeon with a small section of the map revealed. You have to walk through the dungeon revealing the map and the monsters, kill the monsters to level up, find the boss, and kill him. Simple, right?

It’s pretty much this.

Wrong. The metagame in Desktop Dungeons is HUGE. For starters, every square of map you reveal gives you health and mana, but it also regenerates the health of any monster you’ve weakened, so it’s this crazy balancing act where you need to reveal the map to find monsters and spells and such, but if you reveal too much, you won’t have any way to heal yourself besides wasting potions. Actually, you also heal completely when you level up, which adds yet another level of strategy. You have to plan level ups strategically to make sure you can take down some of the higher level monsters, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There are also Gods you can worship who will bestow boons upon you depending on how well you can keep them happy. This usually depends on using/not using certain spells or killing/not killing certain monsters.

Once you get good enough to start beating the normal mode with a few classes, you’ll be unlocking new classes and races (there are a ton) as well as new items, spells, and stronger monsters. Seriously, this game is the most addictive thing since crack came to Crack Town.

Honestly, I can’t recommend this game enough, and now’s the best time to get hooked. According to QCF’s dev blog, they’re working on an iPhone/iPad release, and once that’s out I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Android got the scraps that Apple leaves behind.

Try it out. It’s amazing.

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