Class Struggle: Great Dungeon In The Sky

By Alec Meer on February 12th, 2010 at 1:02 pm.

I’m a Warrior! Now I’m a Necromancer! Now I’m a Triclops Monk! Now I’m a Giant Spider! Now I’m a Cosmonaut! Now I’m an Alien Robot! Now I’m a Drow Ranger! Now I’m a Chicken!

Great Dungeon In The Sky is Diablo/Pokemon/Spelunky. It is a 16ish-bit-esque stabby-jumpy game in which, as well as carving your way through the semi-randomly generated levels, you collect new character classes. Kill a Dire Jelly, and you can choose to play as Dire Jelly come the next level/death. Kill a Witch and… well, you don’t want to play as the Witch, trust me. Rubbish! The Giant Spider’s my favourite so far, but there are dozens I’m yet to unlock. What the game may lack in terms of combat/platforming mechanics, it more than makes up for in compulsive collection of new characters. All of which pack Cute Factor Maximum into their 20-odd pixels. (Thanks to Bret Anderson for the tip, and for making Dog Man Star).

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56 Comments »

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  1. Redd says:

    “Please wait while the game loads”

    No-one trusts you any more Meer. ;]

  2. terry says:

    *Braces for strobing gorilla image and jaunty accordian music*

  3. Brumisator says:

    I wish Indie game developpers would stop overusing pixellated graphics.

    It was fun for a while but now it just come off as lazy most of the time.

    • Wulf says:

      It’s also easy to do well. A half-decent pixel artist can make pixels look like what they’re supposed to in no time at all, and for people with budget constraints that’s fairly handy. For each step up they go artistically they have to take longer, and they come closer to needing to pay someone to do it for them.

      Star Guard, VVVVVV, and Knytt were all pixel art and exceedingly simple, but they conveyed what they were supposed to be and managed to have a minimalistic beauty, so they can work within the context of games that don’t need exceedingly detailed visuals. And what form of easily and quickly created art would you suggest instead of pixels? Stick figures? We’ve been there… and that really was ugly. I’m glad pixels were embraced instead.

    • Richeh says:

      Cute idea, but it was done right in Pixelmusement’s Pixelships. It’s not a platformer, but it’s the same action-based pokemon dynamic.

  4. Taillefer says:

    I can confirm this is a game.

    And I suspect I’ll be playing too much of it, all those unlocks! Argh.

  5. CMaster says:

    Interesting that they use the “Knight” graphic from Realm of the Mad God as the Gladiator here. Wonder if it has been used anywhere else.
    Edit: Just realised that this is pretty much all Realm of the Mad God sprites. Is there some commonatlity in developers?

    Anyway, best I’ve got so far is Beholder. Fly plus the powerful, reasonable rate of fire ranged attack rules.

    Biggest complaint with the game is the lack of levels – there’s about 4 different maps as far as I can see, and that almost every character only has one of their 3 attacks worth using.

    • Redd says:

      The flying chars are a bit imba but it makes grabbing all the unlocks a little less time consuming I guess. It’s not like the game is particularly challenging in itself (so far).

      Can’t fault a game where you can play as a squirl of dog log either.

    • GetOutOfHereStalker says:

      Those aren’t Realm of the Mad God sprites, those are Onyx’s sprites, RoTMG just borrowed them.

    • Jesse says:

      As I understand it Oryx made those sprites available to everyone, or at least multiple people, in the competition Realm of the Mad God sprung out of. So don’t worry, they’re not stolen!

    • Wulf says:

      Jesse is right.

      Those graphics (along with lots of other graphics) were created by various artists for the Asemblee TigSource competition. The first part was artists creating various forms of media which would be offered under a Creative Commons license. The second part involved coders and designers dipping their hands into all these assets and using them to create games.

      The fantastic part of this competition is that, even post competition, there are lots of resources now available which can be used by anyone for their games. It’s fantastic that these sprites are being used by people all ready. Eventually someone’s going to set up a media vault, where people can submit media but it must be licensed under the Creative Commons for everyone to use, such a thing would quickly become vast I imagine and then we’d see some fun things coming from developers who aren’t so great at creating their own graphics but have some good game ideas regardless.

    • CMaster says:

      @Jesse – thanks, that’s what I was asking really – if there was some common source for all these sprites.

    • Zyrxil says:

      Most powerful is Druid. You can heal yourself, and the Bow attack is imbalanced- you can simply spam it as fast as you can press the button. Take on 7 at a time, no problem.

      Not that there’s that much challenge. The unlock thing is clever on paper, but its only use in the game is to amuse yourself by playing absolutely useless classless. E.g. Purple Cube- Your only power is to turn other things into purple cubes.

  6. pimorte says:

    It’s an interesting idea, but there’s very little variation between unlocks.
    Living Statue is an evil, evil joke.

  7. JoJo says:

    because everyone is a 3d modeling ace in indie gaming….

  8. Pani says:

    No one will stand up to my “Shit Blob”!

  9. Ian says:

    It was something I loved about Guardian Heroes you know. Well, along with everything else.

    But I liked that ANY character you… I think you had to kill them (unless they were party members) could then be played with in the multiplayer fighting game mode. There was something amusing about playing as a Sky God against a bunch of ordinary village peasants.

    Anyway, must try this.

  10. skizelo says:

    I’ve not unlocked them all yet, but I’m pretty sure the best character is flies. A swarm of flies, taking down dwarven empires and space invaders
    But yeah, not too fun. A billion characters who all play exactly the same. Apart from flies, obv.

  11. Daniel Klein says:

    There is no balancing to speak of, really. Of course there isn’t. But still: unlock anything that flies and you can do any level. Unlock anything that has magic missile and you can kill anyone. I unlocked three of the dragons and then got bored. Cute idea. Would love to see it done well

  12. Wulf says:

    I found out that the wolf has an attack that can be spammed fairly fast, and with some clever play I can get the wolf through any level. This pleases me for the humour value of it alone, considering what the little wolf is up against.

  13. Birdman Tribe Leader says:

    Birdman Tribe Leader FTW!

    • Dworgi says:

      He’s right, you know. Staff attack is silly, because it’s spammable, has a large range, generally gets 2 hits in on one enemy and does 8 damage each hit. Plus, it can fly, which means it’s automatically better than the vast majority of the characters.

      I played through it once, and it quickly devolves into checking 1 or 2 places on each map for unlocks, then getting out. The main problem with this game was that there were too many levels to play through, but only about 5 actual different levels. I also quickly got frustrated with the amount of repeated enemies. One level only has the Yeti people, which makes it utterly useless after the first run through.

      It could be done well, but this isn’t quite it.

    • froibo says:

      My fav as well.

  14. Helm says:

    8×8 = 64 pixels, not 20 ;)

  15. duel says:

    Birdman Tribe Leader seems to be working well for me

  16. Robin says:

    Is there a way to download this?

  17. geldonyetich says:

    Finished it. With maps which aren’t really random, balance which isn’t all that balanced, and character diversity which isn’t really all that diverse, it’s a far cry from Spelunky, but it’s nonetheless worthy of a go simply to see some of the crazy characters you’ll unlock.

  18. MWoody says:

    Wow, Demon rocks so hard. Triple bouncing fire breath and flying?

    Is there a save function to the game? Call of Pripyat is almost finished downloading on Steam…

  19. andrew says:

    beat it once, and am now going through a second run to try and get all of the unlocks. my favorite (silly) character so far are “blueberry eating toucan”, and “master baker”

  20. Qazi says:

    You’ll need more than a second run; that clever, tricksie developer.
    There are twenty different bosses for a start.
    Once you defeat a boss you are given an unlock token – however in my four runs through I’ve not seen any other Gremlin apart from “Yoda”, and none of the normal “Elves” have appeared either; so that’s ten tokens spent on them.
    Secondly, underneath the bosses I have an entire line locked; of which I’ve only seen the “Polly” which sits at the far right. I spent a token to unlock the first and its a “Green Squad Soldier” – so that is another fifteen tokens I’ll need if they don’t start appearing soon.
    At least the bottom two rows (excluding the first six from the space themed level) seem tp spawn up in that “flying only” room on the map with the initial single-tile-wide chute – another reason to only take a flying character – the Splunker and a Darwinian cameos are amongst this group. :D

    • Qazi says:

      Oh no. I’ve just noticed the two lines above the dragons/bosses – of which I’ve only unlocked four lovely, lovely birdmen and the gecko & salamander.
      The compulsion for completion is strong… but I don’t know if I can handle this much.

  21. Lord Tim says:

    Hey, guys! This is totally awesome to be on RPS.
    The game isn’t really totally finished, since it was for the Assemblee competition, so there aren’t as many levels etc as I would have liked. It is true that some of the character groups aren’t actually in any of the levels, so it will probably take a really long time to get 100%.

    Since lots of new people are playing this all of a sudden, I’ll try and update it over the weekend with some new levels and unlocking things.

    Thanks for playing!

  22. Nakki says:

    The biggest gripe I had was that most of the characters just were useless. I’m all for some novelty characters, but having 95% of all characters be rather useless is quite boring.

    I got a bat fast. I used that until I got bored as there just wasn’t any reason to use anything else. Well, Triclops Warrior was quite good too, since it’s third kill basically instagibbed any enemy or any pile of enemies and it could heal itself, but the bat could just avoid everything you didn’t want to kill anyway.

    I’d like to see a more tactical game made with the same concept. Possibly something turn based and with multiple characters being controlled by played at once.

  23. Spacewalk says:

    If you have a rapid fire stick playing as a Stonegaze pretty much completes the game for you.

  24. Memphis-Ahn says:

    Unlock the very last character.
    He’s not very good, but got quite a chuckle out of me.

    You won’t be disappoint.

    • Spacewalk says:

      Speaking of chuckling there’s a character called Tim that has the skill of paralysis.

  25. andrew says:

    i must admit that I am loosing my will to continue. I just found yoda, a moose, and a sheep. I have about 60% of the characters, but it is getting rare to find a new one. I’m afraid that the rest of the characters can only be unlocked through the free unlock every time you win the game.

    I am mostly missing bosses, along with the standard elves, some units near yoda, and most of the row that the birdmen are in

  26. Tei says:

    Necromance > All

    Also the bat is usefull if you want to skip levels :-)
    Nice game.

  27. Seol says:

    For those that don’t mind cheating in order to unlock the characters, grab a hex editor and open the flash local shared object. In my case in Vista it’s located at C:\Users\Seol\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\LW6UW8BM\www.rocketninjagames.com\skydungeonfixed\GreatDungeonintheSky.swf\skydungeon.sol , but your mileage may vary depending on your OS (and your username, of course). Find the string “unlocks” (not “charUnlocks”) , and modify the second byte after it (immediately after the 0x04), keeping in mind that 0x79 is the maximum, being a signed byte. That’s the number of free unlock points you’ll have available when you reload the game. Once at the class selection screen, you can unlock several characters in a row without the cursor returning to the first class if you are fast enough. Enjoy.

  28. DeanLearner says:

    It’s all about Cucco! *does arrested development chicken dance*

  29. zzzzzzzzzzz says:

    Anyone ever noticed that most of the sprites in Ai Fleet war are from an old (and still good) apogee shooter named tyrian?

  30. Timespike says:

    My favorite character so far: stone gazer. Direct fire attack, indirect fire attack, flight, and paralysis. What more do you need?

  31. Xander77 says:

    Is it just me, or are Necromancers the most overpowered class? Cure wounds is incredible, and combined with two decent attacks spells (one of which is just send a minion down a pit and wait for the unlock message) the only thing missing is a flying ability.

    PS – Where do I find the bosses?

  32. Blank says:

    Other than the four dragons, the end boss seems a random selection of the other 2×2 characters – I don’t know about that line of 2×1 characters above them, though.

    As for favoured character, I was almost exclusively using the Triclops Warrior before noticing someone said you need flying to reach some unlockables. Although melee only, Cure Wounds plus Three Hands Technique(20×6 damage, each hit on everything) carves through anything.

  33. Bret says:

    Finally finished.

    Bosses can be 2 by 1s, as it turns out, the yellow dragon is the best non healer non summoner in general, and there’s two new levels that were added today.

    So, yeah. Fun game.

  34. Lang says:

    Found this by accident: level editor.

    Just hit f9 while at the character select screen.

    Unlock away…

  35. zach says:

    The bandit is all you ever need, until you get towards the end. magic jump gets you high enough to secret spots and you can spam longbow from afar until the guys notice you. best starter character

  36. hi man says:

    ghost is the best