There are a few things that have passed me by over the past year or two, certain phrases that all the gaming press uses that I seemed to miss the memo on. The first is MOBA, which I’ve since learned is Massive Online Battle Arena, a game where, well to be honest I still don’t know. I know everyone plays Dawn of The Ages but it just looks like a rubbish Diablo to me. The other term that passed me by is ‘Roguelike’. This is a certain take on the RPG genre, the idea is the game is played repeatedly in short bursts. Although the concept of Roguelike has been around for decades only recently, since FTL and Spelunky especially, has the idea really taken off.
In Legend of Dungeon you are a traditional RPG adventurer, created randomly at the start of the game and with no class to speak of. There are no wizards, no rogues and no warriors, every player can use every item they find littered on the floor like Twix wrappers on countryside lanes. The basic concept is to make it to floor 26, ever floor you go through has 2 stair cases, one going up and one going down. The trick is to navigate the various rooms that make up each floor searching for the elusive staircase. The game is smart enough not to make it impossible to find the next level, but that being said once or twice there were occasions where I was legitimately lost, thankfully in a recent pre-release update the doorways, which are just solid black rectangles are coloured in slightly based on whether you recently used the door or not. Helpful but still plenty of scope for adventurers to die from being lost.
I have never hidden the fact that any game, especially PC, that includes Local Co-op gets bonus points in my book. Legend of Dungeon allows up to four local players at once. The game is perfectly playable with the keyboard but getting some Xbox controllers hooked up makes it a lot simpler to run and with four people running around at once obviously the keyboard just doesn’t cut it. The game can be a lonely affair in single player so having some buddies sat with you can not only help with the general difficulty of the game, it also gives you someone to laugh with when you find a cat that provides excellent armour stats when placed on your head.
3.Pixel Art…But Better
Pixel art is the go-to for 90% of indies these days, with varying degrees of quality it means that you never know from screen shots alone how well it’s implemented. Robot Loves Kitty, the developer of this bundle of joy, has mixed pixel art with a 2.5D platform play-style and added some truly awesome lighting to the fold. It all comes together to make something that is a complete surprise, everything about the game is retro but reproduced in such a clean and modern style. Bloom effects and the general running of the game once or twice was a bit of a slog on my computer’s processor but that was only when I was facing 20 skeletons coming out from a trap wall so I forgave it. The enemies are at first very simple creatures like bats and zombies but as you progress harpies, warlocks and pea-shooters from Plants Vs Zombies all come at you with death in their eyes.
Although watered down this game is an RPG at heart, the main way you can tell is by the numbers flying off the heads of the enemies. The game excels in its humour, that’s where the game steps ahead from its roguelike cohorts. At first it’s the little things like realising every potion you drink makes you vomit various colours, or it may be the simple things like lots of beer makes you lose health and walk like someone with an inner ear infection, but for me it’s the items that really produce the laughs. In one of my first runs I was treated to an item, which although given a fancy name, was for all intents and purposes, was Cyclops’ visor from the X-men, with its nifty laser shooting abilities I actually flew through a good portion of the game. Crowbars, swords, floating skulls, cats for helmets, deer helmets and sultan’s turbans all come together to make this game unique and, as much as I hate to use the word in this context, random.
5. Harder than Hades
Most of the time when a game is hard I refuse to play it, I like a game to be a challenge but not cruel. Roguelikes get a free pass though, the idea is that at first you’ll suck, but after a few attempts you will proceed further and further into the realms of ‘OK at the game’. With or without friends Legend of Dungeon is a toughie, the first few floors will lure you into a false sense of security but if you’re not lucky enough to find a new weapon or hat then getting past level 7 or 8 will be nigh on impossible. The fact it’s all random though means that at no point are you blaming the game, there are ways to make it far, taking it slow or being ultra vigilant will help and may cause you to survive into the teen floors, but don’t count on it.
Legend of Dungeon is out now on Steam and is worth your time and money, with great art, great humour and a style all of its own you should get some buddies around and prepare to get stressed.