Each week Marsh Davies picks up his cudgel and pelts into the dank depths of Early Access, thrashing wildly, returning with any stories he can find, if he returns at all. This week he’s been playing Super Dungeon Run, a chirpy top-down brawler that combines Diablo’s procedurally organised goblin grinding with Pikmin-ish mob control.
Peasants just love gold. They are willing to throw their lives away for it, bundling into dungeons full of whirring sawblades and spiketraps, diving headlong into ogres and goat-headed necromancers as though they were skittles. I empathise to some extent. I too like gold. But I like gold because of all the other nice things gold can buy me. In Super Dungeon Run, gold buys you the means to acquire more gold, and it’s a feedback loop I fundamentally don’t really get, which is why I will never be asked to work for Goldman Sachs. In games, just as in high finance it seems, we sometimes allow the numbers themselves to become our masters. What surely started out as a way of abstractly representing actual progress – making numbers go up – is now seen as progress in itself. However, unlike in some of the other more naked number traps, like Clicker Heroes, Super Dungeon Run appends a game to the grind, and it’s a rather jolly one – albeit, at this stage of development, a lot slighter on tactical participation than a lot of other dungeon crawlers.
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