Review: Dungeons of Dredmor (PC): Spelunking Like It’s 1999

Review: Dungeons of Dredmor (PC): Spelunking Like It’s 1999

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If you can’t already tell, I’m a sucker for roleplaying games. I’m also a big fan of the Medieval era and sarcastic, witty humor. Combine those three pleasures and you’ve got me smitten. Needless to say, Dungeons of Dredmor nails all three categories, making it one of my own personal favorites. Let me go on to explain why, but first, a little background information.

Dungeons of Dredmor was released back in July of 2011 by Gaslamp Games. It’s classified as a “roguelike indie game” that has players delving deep into the dungeons of Lord Dredmor, searching for fame and fortune. Each playthrough includes randomly generated dungeons so the experience is never quite the same and before you set out on your journey, you choose a couple of specializations that grant you both active and passive abilities. Each level you gain, you unlock one ability.

The game itself is a work of satire, paying homage to pop culture icons like Indiana Jones as well as older RPGs like The Legend of Zelda and Dungeons & Dragons. Even its art style is reminiscent to the retro games that have inspired it. The pixelated sprites move around the dungeon in an interesting real-time/turn-based gait–the game appears to be happening in real-time but every time your character makes a move, so too do the monsters. This gives you the time you need to determine your next action without being made to wait too long.

As I mentioned before, the dungeons are randomized, but if you find yourself bored of the the stock layouts and items, Dungeons of Dredmor is Steam Workshop compatible, creating a dungeon crawler of unfathomable limits. Though a lot of the gameplay revolves around your exploring of Dredmor’s realm, there are some optional side quests you can perform–again, randomly generated for each encounter. Of course, if you find the game a little boring or too easy, you can always play it with permadeath, forcing you to start over if your character dies. Honestly, that’s the only mode I play on.

The game does include crafting, allowing you to break down some useless stuff and salvage components in order to recombine them into better equipment. However, where the game shines in spontaneity, it could use some polishing up on the UI front. The crafting menu–despite being reworked since the game’s initial release–is still a little bit complicated and inventory management is a bit of a hassle. Moreover, your character has roughly two dozen different attributes that effect gameplay even further; even though it’s a great level of detail, it’s still a bit overwhelming.

Review: Dungeons of Dredmor (PC): Spelunking Like It's 1999

It’s also worth noting that though the game has a fantastic selection of skill sets to choose from, ranging from Blood Mage to Emomancy (that’s right, the channeling of teen angst), not all skill sets are very useful. Despite the game’s pitfalls, they’re easily rectified with third party modifications that help to rebalance some of these issues.

That being said, Dungeons of Dredmor is a great game with a good sense of humor and virtually limitless replayability. With its ye olde style graphics, it’s probably one of my favorite on-the-go games when I can’t be at my desktop and with all the mods available, spelunking through Dredmor’s subterranean fortress is probably one of the biggest time sinks of the past two years.

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Anthony Magestro

Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.