The Mystery Of Dungeon

By Alec Meer on November 20th, 2009 at 8:58 pm.

Oh you bastards

Confession time! I have never played a game by mad-brained indie wunderkind Jonathan ‘Cactus’ Söderström before. No idea why – despite Jim regularly giving his games an approving nod, in that stern, stoic Jim Rossignol way of his, I’ve managed to miss every single one. Dungeon, his collaboration with one Arthur ‘Mr. podunkian’ Lee (what is it with these names? I’ve gotta get me one. Call me Alec ‘Windows Sound Recorder’ Meer from now on, if you will), rather confirms my opinions from afar – that the chap is making splendid but oddball independent videogames that will please anyone who doesn’t scream “pretentious!” the second they’re faced with something even slightly artistically-minded. Not that Dungeon is necessarily artistically-minded – it has another agenda…

It’s a platformer. It’s a hard platformer. It’s a retro platformer. It’s a very short platformer. It tells a story in novel fashion. It will make you swear, a lot. It’s a bit naughty (not sex-naughty. The other naughty). I like it.

To entirely appreciate why I like it, you’ll need to play bonus mini-game Clarity after (seriously – after. Please don’t do it first) you’ve got as far as you care to. All will make sense, and you’ll either chuckle or scream when it does.

To those who finish/decipher it, please avoid spoilers of any kind. You might want to leave your number, though.

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118 Comments »

  1. solipsistnation says:

    12

  2. Maarten says:

    42

    Going to check this out though ;-)

  3. Sinnerman says:

    I played Dungeon earlier on in the week. Not really surprised by what Clarity told me as I suspected that ludic hijinks and tomfoolery were afoot.

    It reminds me of Jet Set Willy without the colour chart copy protection.

  4. D says:

    10

    Which explains why it was so hard to understand what was brilliant about it. But assuredly, it is brilliant. What was yours Jim? Some of those are just evil.

  5. gryffinp says:

    03. Though the first time I saw the level, I thought I had 01 until I manned up and tried it.

    Interesting little concept.

  6. Dominic White says:

    Hahah.. I had actually played the original version of this a few days ago, but Clarity really does live up to its name.. Also: Son of a bitch! Unlucky 13 – that explains a bit.

  7. Senethro says:

    Completed it. Played Clarity. Didn’t get it. Someone explain to me what the punchline is.

    • D says:

      Ok, but spoiler free. Clarity has a screen ‘E=MC2′ that explains the rule of the number. Then look at the rosetta number. For instance, I was 10, so..

  8. Dominic White says:

    Oh yeah – as for Cactus, the guy churns out a game every few days. Here’s just the ones that he’s left unfinished:

    http://www.vimeo.com/1519005

  9. An Innocuous Coin says:

    Er….01?

  10. Berzee says:

    I don’t get it either…is it because I played dungeonv2 instead of v1?

    booo! help me help myself! tell me whatcha see

    • Dominic White says:

      For those who haven’t figured it out yet, and in an appropriate enough format:

      Gur tnzr trarengrf n ahzore sebz 00 gb 15 onfrq ba lbhe CP, hfreanzr naq bgure enaqbz inevnoyrf. Vg gura gnxrf guna ahzore, naq nccyvrf gur rssrpg sebz gur gnoyr pbeerfcbaqvat gb vg.

      Guvf pna or nf fnsr nf znxvat whzcf rnfvre, be nf pehryyl ivpvbhf nf znxvat gur irel svefg whzc vzcbffvoyr, be rira ercynpvat nyy gur ebbz anzrf jvgu zber nofgenpg gvgyrf. V tbg ‘Ab raqvat’, juvpu jnf n ovg bs n ohzzre.

  11. CMaster says:

    02 here, so didn’t come off that badly.

  12. Kid A says:

    00. I am disappoint.

  13. _Nocturnal says:

    13. Yep! It’s my kind of hell alright.

  14. Cedge says:

    Pretentious!

  15. M.P. says:

    “in that stern, stoic Jim Rossignol way of his”

    Would the correct adverb for this be “Rossigneurial”?

  16. Metalfish says:

    Not entirely convinced I got it.

    13

  17. TCM says:

    8, and Cactus is a horrible person.

  18. army of none says:

    Interesting… 03…

  19. El Stevo says:

    It was unplayably laggy on my system for some reason. I tried it on another computer and I couldn’t even get past the first jump. Not going to waste my time.

  20. Mundus says:

    Odd, I got 04 but it didn’t work. :( I still had CP’s.

  21. Serph says:

    Haha, brilliant! I got lucky 7, but I have no idea what it does…

  22. Serph says:

    Oh, now I realize that it actually never showed up on mine, and it stayed at normal. Bummer…

  23. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    Okay, sorry, but I REALLY hate this type of game. I don’t mind whether it’s pixel perfect movement or hard to handle characters, but games like these seem intentionally made to have you fail. Again, and again, and again. And then again. Feel free to remind me again when I’m in the mood to feel annoyed and frustrated.

    I don’t care about the message and to be sure I didn’t play Dungeon for that long, but then again, for what I got it didn’t deserve any more, regardless of message (at the end). The flying pig game was at least rewarding in that it was the pig who could.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      *what would be an edit* I mean, games with messages are fine and often interesting. But this game’s first gameplay doesn’t reward it my attention for long enough to make it that far. They should at least make it a bit more worthwhile. Or at least bearable. Although I was surprised they had save points.

  24. dadioflex says:

    Each to their own, I guess.

  25. EthZee says:

    11. Also, fucking spikes.

  26. reindall says:

    That was… interesting. 02, but I didn’t even notice it.

  27. Hazelnut says:

    I got 6 and was beaten by the cake.

    LOL

    (it might be worth mentioning to play the original and not v2 until after clarity…)

  28. MsGriffin says:

    14!

  29. oisomeguy says:

    06. I hate cake.

  30. Tull. says:

    [Naughty! I totally said "no spoilers in comments"]

  31. PHeMoX says:

    The face looks a bit like that Gesundheit monster to me, nice. :)

  32. Kid A says:

    Cactus’s site is down, if anyone knows of any mirrors so I could play the rest of his stuff, I’d be grateful.

  33. El Stevo says:

    Ah, so version 2 doesn’t have the effects (unless you use debug mode).

  34. vanarbulax says:

    12

    God dammit, that’s why it took forever!

  35. PleasingFungus says:

    07. Ha, wouldn’t have guessed it wasn’t the default if not for Clarity.

    Gave me a big guffaw at the end, so I guess I liked the game? Not sure!

  36. Pie21 says:

    05, and I failed you Alec. Couldn’t get past Perils of Self Doubt, so I Google’d it before playing Clarity. One of the comments vaguely gave it away.

    Fortunately I’m the kind of guy who can appreciate a joke even after it’s been explained. Thumbs up for pretension!

  37. cactus says:

    Thanks for writing about the game. I’m glad y’all enjoy it!

    Almost all my games should be online on my site now (to be sure, try the url my nick is linked to). Sorry for that.

    • Kid A says:

      I love how devs actually bother to come on RPS. It tends to mark out, y’know, the good ones. Thanks for the fix. -downloads everything, ever-

  38. JuJuCam says:

    02 Cheeky buggers :P

  39. wolf says:

    I got 09, but I don’t think it worked.

  40. Sam says:

    02, christ it was awful. At least I could youtube the end.

  41. FunkyLlama says:

    That’s numberwang!

  42. Cheeetar says:

    I was 02.

  43. localcoder says:

    I played thinking “this is actually not too bad” and managed to win. So: Number 14 :)

    The title of the third screen of ‘Clarity’ was a bit of a shock.

  44. Serph says:

    D’OH! When he said “bugfree version” on the website, I assumed that it was the one I’d want to play. Considering that you know what aren’t bugs…maybe he should change it to a more apt name?

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