Can one of my favourite games of 2010 also end up being one of my favourite games of 2011? That’s a question you’ve been worrying about a lot, I know. So, allow me to answer it: maybe. Now allow me to answer that more usefully. Desktop Dungeons was a freeware indie title which pretty much transformed a roguelike into a logic puzzle. One dungeon, one character, an array of monsters of varying toughness scattered around it. Your challenge was to work out how you could kill your way up to the boss monster, by way of using spells, pickups, stat upgrades and devising the most efficient ways to level up without losing too much health or perishing in the process. Honestly, it’s an apparently effortless example of fitting one genre neatly inside another. Best of all, it only takes 10 minutes to play a session, and as such the original DD – now its ‘alpha‘ – will probably stand proud as a perfect gaming snack regardless of how well its new, Unity-powered do-over does.
That latter is a paid game and now in beta, but accessible only to those who’ve preordered. I’ve been taking a look at it (by ‘look’ I mean ‘playing until 3am’) and some thoughts follow. But – big but – these are thoughts on an unfinished beta, which has a ton of features, polish and changes yet to come. If you so much as hint that you’ve interpreted this as a ‘review’, I’m going to smack you so hard.
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