‘Endless Dungeon’ is an exciting mix of tower defense and twin-stick hero shooter

My first playthrough of ended in disaster. The “Crystal Bot” I was supposed to defend was overrun by a hungry swarm of bugs after I left it open to attack by pulling my two heroes away to protect a source point. Of course, I started another run immediately after I had a moment to curse my luck.

endless dungeon falls somewhere between a sequel and a 2014 remake Dungeon of the Endless, the game developer Amplitude Studios made a name for. Like its predecessor, endless dungeon task you with protecting a crystal from hordes of enemies as you make your way through a mysterious, multi-level dungeon. But where Dungeon of the Endless took place on a strange alien planet, it is located on a station left by the Endless, the ancient alien race that links all of Amplitude’s projects.

Also new in endless dungeon is that it is a twin stick shooter and has a roguelite progression which means you have to start at the beginning of the game every time you fail your target but you will transfer some of the stuff you have earned to make your next run easier. Plus, Amplitude built the game from the ground up with multiplayer in mind.

“We had a lot of ideas for Dungeon of the Endless that didn’t make it to the game,” said lead game designer Arthur Prudent at a press event Sega held last week. “This time we wanted to do something more accessible. That’s why we wanted the player to have direct control. That forced us to change a lot of things.”

Every run of endless dungeon begins by choosing a team of misfits to dive into the depths of the station. In the demo I played, you could take two characters with you. The final game will feature eight playable heroes, with a full squad consisting of three squad members.

endless dungeon

When playing online, you and two other friends control one character each. In single player, you can only play as one hero at a time. However, you can give orders to your two party members. Each hero has their own backstory and playstyle, as well as special and ultimate abilities. Zed, one of my favorites, carries a minigun into battle with her and can clear rooms with an explosive line attack.

Once you’ve put together a squad, most of Endless Dungeons gameplay involves trying to get the cute Crystal Bot I mentioned earlier to the end of a level so that he can descend further down the station and you can find what’s in the middle. The upside is that every time you try to move the robot, an endless horde of enemies will attack until the bot is destroyed or you successfully get it to its destination. Waves of enemies will also periodically attack you as you explore each level.

What makes the action in endless dungeon exciting is that it is a tower defense game where you don’t know the full layout of a level when you start. You have to explore each level to find all the enemy spawn points. My first run ended when I left one of the corridors leading to my crystal bot undefended. Some levels have locked doors, with a central switch that you can activate to unlock them all at once, allowing you to control the path of enemies.

endless dungeon

endless dungeon

Each level consists of several rooms and in each room you can build turrets to thin out enemy waves. In addition to the usual range of damage dealing, you can build turrets that slow down your enemies and protect your other assets to make them more resistant to attack. away from Dungeon of the Endless is that game’s lighting technique where enemies spawn in rooms where you didn’t spend Dust to power them. That makes planning your defense both more and less difficult, as you have to find the enemy’s special spawn points.

Building turrets requires a resource called industry. In addition to food and science, it’s one of three primary resources you collect to build structures, heal your heroes, research new turrets, and more. With a fourth resource called Dust Shards, you can upgrade your Crystal Bot and restore power to rooms that aren’t already.

endless dungeon

endless dungeon

Manage your assets in endless dungeon is his own tightrope walk. As you explore each floor of the station, you’ll find rooms with places for generators that can contribute to your food, industry, or scientific supplies. If you have enough industry points, you can build additional extractors, each one costing more than the last. But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

That is because endless dungeon takes place in real time, but your generators are only added to your resource pool when you open a new room. In addition, they are one of the first things that the inhabitants of the station will attack on the way to your Crystal Bot. To complicate matters, even if you build an industry generator in every spot you find, you won’t have enough material for all the turrets you need to defend everything. In short, expansion comes with risks endless dungeonand the game constantly asks you to make those kinds of decisions.

For example, collecting Dust Shards will require you to uproot and move your Crystal Bot, which means leaving behind any turrets you’ve built to defend it. Getting upgrades from a research terminal is equally dangerous, as starting an upgrade will cause a wave of enemies.

endless dungeon

endless dungeon

My second and third runs finish about as well as my first, and I’m no closer to completing the demo than when the preview started. “The game is supposed to be hard,” Prudent tells me and everyone else participating in the event. Every time you fail in a run in endless dungeon, you find yourself again in a bar that plays smooth jazz in the background. Here you’ll get the chance to talk to all the characters you can take on your runs and unlock the things that will make your next playthrough go smoother.

Amplitude Studios wasn’t ready to preview those systems when I played the game. Without experiencing them, it is difficult to say whether endless dungeon will have the staying power of games like or but what I played last got me excited to see where the studio takes the game. endless dungeon doesn’t have a release date, but when it arrives, you’ll be able to play it on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, and Switch.

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