What does simple mean?
You have a really simple goal in Dungeon of the Endless. Find the exit, and transport your crystal there, so that you can move up to the next level. Seems easy. Seems simple.
It’s not that simple and it’s not that easy. It’s not easy at all.
Every level consists of multiple rooms. You can explore these rooms, coming across salesmen that can upgrade your equipment, crystals that can upgrade your science and abandoned machinery that can add to your manufacturing. You can also come across monsters. Lots of lots of monsters. Monsters that respawn and whittle down your health, unless you light up the room. How do you do that? Glad you asked.
Each room contains several ‘slots’ which allow to spend manufacturing points in return for upgrades. Upgrades like turrets to deal with monsters. Or upgrades that give you more food, manufacturing or science every time you open some doors. But doors bring new monsters. And there’s not enough manufacturing and not enough doors to build all the devices you want. It’s all about risk and reward, you see.
You also have to balance food. Food can be used to heal your heroes, but it can be also used to level them up. More risk and reward. More decision.
Find a room that has the exit? Well then grab the crystal and run like hell, as the game spawns a huge wave of enemies for you and your turrets to deal with. It’s very likely you’ll die. If you don’t, you can move to the next level and start all over again. Food, science and manufacturing roll over. Do you build just enough, hoping to just survive and give yourself more to work with next level, or do you blow all of your currencies on trying to make sure you win the current level? Don’t ask me. All my recruits keep dying.
There’s more complexity in the fold. You get to choose two heroes at the start of your game, and all the heroes have unique play styles. Some are quick, some are expert alien killers. You also unlock new modes and starting escape pods, depending on how well you perform.
Dungeon of the Endless has a lot of depth, and while it may seem that 12 randomly generated levels are short, it will be a long time before you’re good enough to explore them all. In fact, we found building up the tactics needed extremely difficult. The whole game is pretty unforgiving and stressful, actually, and sometimes we found ourselves getting pretty frustrated with the cycle. It doesn’t help that the tutorial isn’t great at explaining how to play the game on anything other than a mechanical level.
Those who love a hardcore experience, however, will find themselves having a great time. If you’re in the market for something meaty and difficult, Dungeon of the Endless is a great, focused, experience well worth mastering.