With #4 we have another Indie title that went with a unique premise and one of the most interesting game designs I’ve seen. By combining tower defense and rogue-like design, Dungeon of the Endless from Amplitude Studios stood out with an almost chocolate and peanut butter like game design.
#4 — Dungeon of the Endless
Dungeon of the Endless by Amplitude Studios is another game set in their Endless Space Universe. The premise was that you had to guide survivors from a crashed ship through an underground dungeon to safety.
The hook was that the game was part rogue-like and tower defense in how you had to approach challenges. Each floor of the dungeon was randomly generated with enemies, traps and potential party members different each time you played. The game was pseudo turn based as opening a door would move time forward and cause enemy waves to spawn in unlit rooms. You were able to set up modules as your defense in lit rooms and this is where the tower defense gameplay came in.
You had to constantly weigh your actions and how far you were willing to go on each floor to improve your characters and modules vs. getting to the next floor alive. Each party member had a back-story and unique skills to use and were like hero units in a strategy game.
What made Dungeon of the Endless tough was the rogue-like atmosphere of the fact that every party member only had one life and the game was very punishing. I still haven’t beaten the full game yet on the “easy” setting. But the game does give you a lot of incentive to keep going at it with the use of different game mode variants to unlock and try along with finding new party members to unlock from the start of play.
This also gives the developers a lot of leeway in adding new content as the base foundation of the game is strong. As I said in my review, the big problem at the moment with Dungeon of the Endless is how the game’s randomness has too much of an effect on whether or not you will win which goes against the tower defense gameplay. It doesn’t matter how great you are at building defenses when poor luck forces you to try and defend from too many unlit rooms and you are just swarmed to death.
But what makes Dungeon of the Endless a great game and why it’s on the list is that the unique game mechanics are something that we haven’t seen before and it does manage to combine what works from rogue-likes and tower defense games into one title.
And with that, we’re down to the top three and they couldn’t be farther apart from each other in terms of design. Tomorrow we have the newest game in one of the most popular series and the definition of a system seller.