Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPad Air 2
Graphics / Sound Rating:
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It feels like it was just last year that I was pining away for an iPad version of Dungeon of the Endless. Oh wait, it was. Well as it turns out, there really were plans to bring Amplitude Studios somewhat haunting dungeon crawler/tower defense game to the Apple tablet. And it’s out now. And it’s spectacular.
The game kicks off with a massive prison ship getting blown to bits and all of the surviving convicts’ cells (which double as escape pods in an emergency) being ejected. Problem is the planet they crash land on isn’t exactly friendly. That, and they crashed so hard that they managed to wind up in an ancient, multi-floored, subterranean complex filled with hostile creatures and traps. So now their only chance is to fight their way back to the surface.
I adore this game. Presentation-wise it hits all the right notes with a wonderfully moody - downright haunting at times - soundtrack, a slick pixel art style, and a surprising amount of humor with its characters. This was something that I used to envy PC folks for up until it finally came to the Mac (and now the iPad), purely based on the aesthetic.
Looks and sound alone don’t make a game great of course, but Dungeon of the Endless pretty much nails the other stuff, too. It’s functionally similar to a turn-based strategy/tactics game in the way you can tap to select and guide characters around individually. The action can be paused at any time while you assess the situation and issue commands, but enemies won’t trigger until you open a door so you have plenty of time to shuffle things around in between waves. It also shares similarities to dungeon crawlers since you have to explore each level to find the exit - along with the occasional extra character, some loot, merchants, and so on. There’s even a fair bit of tower defense to it, what with building resource producers and room defenses.
Barring the minor nitpick of characters sometimes blocking the nodes I need to tap on to place defenses, which can be worked around by simply moving them out of the room temporarily, I can’t really find fault with Dungeon of the Endless. Levels are randomized so each playthrough is different, there are quite a few characters to unlock (each with their own sets of abilities, stats, and passive perks), and you can unlock different escape pods that give your team various benefits. I suppose you could argue that it’s extremely tough, but that’s the point.
Dungeon of the Endless is something of a mash-up of genres that pulls off each element very well. If you have a thing for strategy, tower defense, dungeon crawling, roguelikes, or pixel art, then you really can’t go wrong by checking it out.