For this week’s Indie Game of the Week, we’re going to pull out a lovely Roguelike by the name of Dungeons of Dredmor. For those of you who don’t know what that means – I’m told that there’s at least a few of you out there – it’s a turn-based role-playing game which consists of randomized dungeons and monsters, grid movement, and permanent death.
At this point, I’d like to place an emphasis on death. Don’t expect to go into the game and take down Lord Dredmor on your first try. Chances are pretty good that you won’t. In fact, it’s just as likely you’ll fall victim to one of your own cock-ups as it is that you’ll die to one of the dungeon’s many inhabitants or traps. Somehow, that never really becomes all that frustrating (though if you’re the type of person who’s easily aggravated by that sort of thing, there’s the option to turn off permadeath).
Now, many of you have probably heard of this one by now, as it’s not exactly a new game – it’s actually been out for nearly a year now. Even so, it remains one of my favorite titles, if only for the combination of addictive game-play with an amusing sense of humor.
One of the first ways the game defines itself is through its sense of humor. Dungeons of Dredmor is extremely light-hearted: everything in the game – from the mechanics, to the selectable spells, right down to the monsters you fight and the items you find – riffs on pop culture of every form and medium. Equipping yourself with skills such as Killer Vegan, Emomancy, Paranormal Investigator, Bankster, and many others; you’ll fight your way through hordes of rampaging Diggles, fend off Fish Warriors and angry, man-eating carrots, perform quests for the goddess of pointless sidequests, tithe lutefisk to the Lutefisk God, and try to avoid pissing off Brax; “a villainous sales-demon with a terrible checkered suit.”
Don’t do that. Trust me. It’s a bad idea.
In spite of how comical the skill system tends to be, it’s also incredibly deep. There are forty-nine skills in the game at the moment (not including player-made skillsets), which means that there’s a positively staggering array of skill combinations the player can choose between, from the hilariously ineffectual (don’t try creating a set of all passive skills) to downright devastating (pyromancy combined with anything that regenerates mana?).
There’s also piles upon piles of loot for you to pick up as you progress, most of it ludicrously named in true dungeon-crawl tradition.
Both the graphics and music have their own unique sense of style, and though the game tends to lag a bit when there is a large number of monsters on-screen (such as when encountering a “monster school” which may have up to a hundred of the creatures); animation is both fluid and well-done. The announcer is clearly a play on the ‘badass’ narrators from games like Quake, while the music is pleasant to listen to and rarely wears on the ears.
So…long story short, buy Dungeons of Dredmor. Even if you aren’t a fan of roguelikes, it’s got something to offer you. Trust me: you won’t be disappointed.