Dungeons of Dredmor (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

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The evil lich Dredmor held the world hostage with his host of monsters and magical ability. The wizards of the age, a little drunk and completely tired of Dredmor’s shenanigans, locked him away magically and physically deep beneath the earth. Dredmor, tenacious as he was, wiggled his body and soul until he was able to slip the bonds. The King and his court are certain that he means to take over the world again. He’s sent you, an eager young adventurer, to “prove your worth” by slaying Dredmor. With skill sets like Tourist, Fungal Arts Student, and Tinkersmith uh…. good luck kiddo.

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Hop to it, Eyebrows.

History

Dungeons of Dredmor was published and developed by Gaslamp Games and a small team of five people. The main developer, Nicholas Vining, had been working on the game since 2006 and when Gaslamp formed in 2010 things really got in gear. Vining is known in the game’s industry for making something so bad that it inspired Penny Arcade to create the Fruit Fucker 2000 apparently — whatever it was Vining has redeemed himself by making Dredmor. PC Gamer US awarded Dungeons of Dredmor the Indie Game of the Year for 2011.

Dungeons of Dredmor was released on July 13, 2011. It’s competition was Bastion (XBLA), Ms. Splosion Man (XBLA), and Catherine (PS3 and XBox 360).

Experiences.

I’ve been playing Dungeons of Dredmor for three years and I’ve seen Dredmor once — at which point he threw a spell at me that obliterated my face. I cannot think of another game in which I’ve had such trouble. My latest and most successful run was interrupted by a vacation to Diggle Hell in which I got bushwhacked by Vlad Digula. In short, this game is hard. I created skill combinations that made me unable to defeat the first enemy I ran into. And yet, I can’t stop playing. I can’t stop trying to kill Dredmor with weirder and weirder skills. I know I can probably beat him with a martial artist, shield master, archeologist but can I beat him with a perceptive, burgling, Tourist?

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For reference, that’s a diggle on the left — look at the cute little guy. That’s Vlad Digula on the right. The jump in difficulty is equivalent to the jump in creepy.

 Gameplay

Dungeons of Dredmor is a dungeon crawling Roguelike. It’s got everything a growing dungeon needs, item-crafting, traps, levers, secrets, side-quests, magical anvils, vending machines, shops, and monsters — a fuckton of monsters. Every floor is randomly generated from randomly generated rooms with random items on the floor and bequeeth to you randomly generated artifacts — items that have additional random stat ups and downs with randomly generated names — oh yeah, and all the rooms have random names. You can even randomly select your skills but I wouldn’t recommend it. Your goal is to get to the bottom floor and kill Dredmor, leveling up along the way, and trying to find good loot. The game is turn based so when you move or act so will everything else, in turn — although it all looks instantaneous.

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And you’ll die… a lot. But dying is fun too!

The Gush

I love this games sense of humor. Sometimes monsters taunt with bizarre and funny phrases — I’ve seen screenshots of Vlad Digula remarking that he’ll “be in his bunk.” You can destroy statues of Dredmor in the dungeon and are awarded experience points for engaging in heroic vandalism — or so the narrator booms. There are even skills like Totally Not Drizzt — for all you Forgotten Realms fans.

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Seriously, there are a lot of skills.

I love how crafting tools have a bunch of incidental crafting recipes that aren’t related to their primary use. It’s super cool that I can use my ingot press to make grilled cheese sandwiches and omelets.

I really like the design of all the different dungeon levels. Each floor of the dungeon is like an entire dungeon from another series. There’s the fungus floor, the ship floor, the sewer floor, the space ship floor, IT’S GREAT!

The monster design is bizarre and interesting and they don’t pallet swap too many monsters. I mean, I’m totally comfortable fighting a mustache spirit on one floor and then a grandfather mustache 3 floors down because that’s hilarious. The funniest monsters are the ones they reuse.

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And every floor has a new kind of diggle who wants to kill you.

The Kvetch

The game is meant to be played on a meticulous level that really breaks the flow. Don’t want to step on a trap? Then you’d best take your steps really slowly unless you’ve got skills that increase your trap spotting range. But this is all in line with it’s Rogue roots.

It’s really easy to get screwed really fast. Open up the wrong door, take the wrong path, or walk on the wrong satanic displacement glyph and your adventure will be over faster than you can say Diggle. This game is designed to kill your character and it’s difficult to get it not to.

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They have entire rooms devoted to it — but but but… loot!

The music is this sort of 16 bit synth stuff and I kind of like it although I’d rather listen to my own music or a podcast in the background as I play.

The Verdict

This game is a heckuva deal. For 5 dollars, and three pieces of DLC — total cost being 11 dollars. This game is definitely worth a look if any of the above aspects seemed interesting to you. This game is a solid and difficult adventure that will test your skills and ingenuity. The systems have a lot of depth. Dungeons of Dredmor will have you laughing through the fury.

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