Desktop Dungeons: The Fancy-Pants Version

That is one happy elf. Let's kill 'im.

Oh! How did I miss this? Well, I missed it because I’m tight as a badger’s rear end and haven’t preordered the full version of exceptionally clever mini-roguelike Desktop Dungeons as yet. The original game (now designated DD’s ‘alpha’) was and remains free, but devs QCF Design are currently working on a massively tarted up and feature-boosted second version in Unity. A few of you will have briefly trialled a few elements of it in May, but now there’s a chance to give even more of it a spin on a longer-term basis.

If you pre-order the game, which comes in $10 standard or $20 special edition flavours, you’ll get access to nu-DD’s closed beta. If you already pre-ordered, you should already have access – in which case this post contains nothing for you. NOTHING.

This beta comprises, in the devs’ words, “a fully functional Kingdom manager, an actual quest progression system and a nice heap o’ content to get you started” – and will be updated with new stuff as and when they feel ready to release it. I need to get in on this, ASAP – especially now I’ve kicked my Realm of the Mad God and Dungeons of Dredmor habits.

If you haven’t or won’t pre-order, you’re entirely welcome to stare at this login box for as long as you like, hoping a sudden fluctation in the space-time continuum will randomly let you into the game. It’d sure be an awful lot easier to pre-order though.


  1. Kieron Gillen says:

    I did pre-order it, however, and it’s lovely!


    • Nick says:

      me too and it is! I like the way its changed but hasn’t.. as in the base tactics still work but the new limitations on items and different spell and god effects mix things up nicely. Plus the empire thing adds another layer and removes the gold hoarding problem entirely.

      Good suff.

  2. markside says:

    On a related note… What’s the best way to deal with serpents? They are kicking my ass out there.

    • MartinNr5 says:

      Tell us about the game instead.

    • Lambchops says:

      Try and deal with other enemies first if you can so that you can either kill them in one hit (or with some fireballs then one hit) to avoid getting poisoned or kill them so they take you to the next level (hence healing you from the effects of poisoning). It’s not always possible but for the most part you should be able to achieve this.

      @ Martin

      I routinely fireball serpents. Steve Irwin is spinning in his grave!

    • mechabuddha says:

      Try finding spell that lets you first strike.

  3. Raziel_Alex says:


  4. LeJosh says:

    So, is this the exact same game (as before) with tarted up graphics and a price tag on it?

    • PleasingFungus says:

      As you could have learned by clicking on the “Desktop Dungeons” tag at the bottom of the post: Nope!

    • MartinNr5 says:

      No, this is a much expanded and at times completely rewritten (the altar and gods work quite different now for instance).

    • LeJosh says:

      Tags? Didn’t even see them but now that I do see it, it’s vague. :)

      Edit – Martin, that sounds good. ^_^

    • patricij says:

      Argh, wrong thread…

  5. Baconberries says:

    The free version is definitely worth 20 minutes of one’s time but not much beyond that. I can’t imagine what they would add to make it worth actual monies. The concept of the mini-dungeon seems to me to be self-limiting – what’s to keep a fellow coming back enough times to warrant the spend?

    • MartinNr5 says:

      I’ve played the free version for hours but if you’re not the kind of gamer who constantly wants to do just a little better and improve on your previous score then this might not be for you.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Unlocking all the classes, each of who play differently would be the thing which kept me playing the free version for hours.


    • Kefren says:

      Ditto KG. I played until I had unlocked everything. The final campaign was a bast, took so many attempts to get through it and a lot of luck…

    • Baf says:

      I recall seeing some review that said that it was a boring game because all you had to do is kill all the monsters in order of ascending level. Well, yeah, if you just play the Warrior class, which is the only one that can get away with that sort of behavior, it is a boring game. If you want to succeed with any other class, you have to figure out how to use it effectively, and that’s interesting.

    • patricij says:

      Yeah, the assassin class is quite tough, for instance…many games later and I’m still yet to beat the boss, dammit…

    • Deano2099 says:


      DIsagree entirely – I’m really not that sort of gamer, but trying to unlock every class, which all play differently, and then trying to finish every dungeon with every class, where some are better at given dungeons than others, and that each success unlocks either more items, more money or more shops, which make those remaining combinations just a little easier to beat…

      That kept me coming back for a long time. Just Gorgon in the Crypt and the campaign left now.

  6. Lambchops says:

    I pre ordered and didn’t realise that beta was now in action so this post does contain something for me Mr Meer, and how dare you suggest otherwise!

  7. Lars Westergren says:

    Argh. I uninstalled Dungeons of Dreadmore recently because I couldn’t stop playing! I should probably stay away from this.

  8. Brise Bonbons says:

    I actually really disliked where they were going with the game as of the May preview. I much preferred the “Alpha” to what I played more recently.

    Also, for better or worse Desktop Dungeons now has to compete with Dungeons of Dreadmor for my time – and that’s a tough match up to win given how damn amazing Dreadmor is.

    Doesn’t help that the split price point on Desktop Dungeons rubs me the wrong way, and I don’t really like their new art direction. And I had so much good will towards the “alpha” version of this game, too…

    • mwoody says:

      Yeah, the split price point bothers the hell out of me, too. It’s why I decided to pass on buying the game at all. Both because I don’t think an indie game should get a pass on something we’d condemn a big publisher for (i.e. in-game content limited to a collector’s edition), and because it’s tremendously insulting how they insinuate that the more expensive version is the one that “supports the devs.”

    • Deano2099 says:

      The extra content is a single joke class. The game is $10. Some of us spent hours upon hours on the free version and sort of feel that we’ve already had more than $10’s worth of game from them, hence the chance to throw them a bit extra.

    • richardwhitelock says:

      Why do indies that ‘scale up’ feel the need to change their titile’s aesthetic? The pixel art look was great.
      Same goes for Spelunky.

    • mwoody says:

      @Deano: so have a single price point and a donation link. Hell, maybe promise to thank donators in the credits, or add their names to a random name generator or something. There is no excuse for day 0 DLC, preorder bonuses, or tiered content price points, indie game or not.

  9. nimnio says:

    Why compare Desktop Dungeons to Realm of the Mad God and Dungeons of Dredmor? It plays more like a straight-up puzzle game than a rogue-like. Each mini-dungeon has several ‘solutions’, but in my mind they are ‘solutions’, not free-form gameplay.

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      A fair point. While I understand intellectually that they’re very different games, they scratch a similar itch for me. Maybe because I tend to play roguelikes as if they’re a big puzzle anyway (which they really are, I’d argue).

      “Unfortunately” there are far more amazing games out there that need playing than I have free time, so I have to be thoughtful about which ones I’ll actually end up playing when it comes down to it.

  10. iLag says:

    been playing this the whole day, whenever I could fit in a few minutes. very, very nice – even though there are some early difficulty spikes.

  11. Vagrant says:

    I loved Desktop Dungeons, but I’m having a hard time getting past the new fancy-pants art.

    • Nick says:

      Yes, I don’t care for the monster/class art style much, hopefully it will be changeable at some point in the future. I like the way the freeware version looks a lot more.

    • Dave Mongoose says:

      Ditto… D:

      Loved the free version but I’m put off by the new graphics.

  12. ChainsawCharlie says:

    Can’t see any dates. Or am I just blind? When this is supposed to be out?

    Also, prefer the old art-style.

  13. dislekcia says:

    Just sent you an account Alec, have fun :)

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      He’s got far too many games to play. You’d be much better off giving it to someone who could put some serious time into it (like me!).

    • patricij says:

      poor poor Alec…he may never see the sunlight at this rate!

  14. johnpeat says:

    I’m going to join with the people who resent the ‘support the devs’ thing as well.

    Here’s the deal – you make games, I buy them = I get some fun, you get my money = EASY.

    If you’re selling a game but feel that my buying it is not ‘supporting’ you then – I’m sorry but you’re just doing it wrong and maybe a change of career is called for.

    Basically, what you’re saying is there’s 2 types of scum – pirates are the real scum and then there’s people who ONLY pay you $10 (which is a decent price for an indie game in the current climate)??

    Do people playing the old free version fit in anywhere there?? :)

    • Nick says:

      jesus christ, its just a way of letting people pay more if they want to, its not judging you.

    • johnpeat says:

      Sorry but the way they’ve worded it, it IS judging you – it’s not even just making you feel guilty, they’re saying “if you want to SUPPORT us” as if the alternative is not doing that.

      At the very least is a crass mistake – at worth it’s a dig at people’s expectations against the reality of game pricing and all that jazz – either way it discourages me from ‘supporting’ them at all.

      Just my 10p

    • Donkeyfumbler says:

      It may not be judging you, but I am, and I find you:

      Slightly unhinged and overly paranoid

    • Nick says:

      Well, yes, it is extra money purely to *support* them, rather than money for the product. You are aware of how exchange of goods for money works right?

    • dislekcia says:

      The free version is still very, very free. I’m not really sure what else to do…

    • Brise Bonbons says:

      I dunno if the pricing structure is good or bad as a general, big-picture move, but here’s my problem with it:

      A big draw of this sort of game is the diversity and unique play experience of the classes. The $20 version has a special class the $10 version doesn’t. I want the extra class, but I really don’t have $20 for this game, especially with all the other great indie games on my to-do list that are $5-10 or less.

      So I’m left not really feeling excited about getting the “partial” experience of the $10 game, but unwilling to spring for the full $20 package. So I’m just not likely to buy any of them and keep playing the freeware version.

      Tho again, I would be more motivated to support them in some way if I actually liked the direction they’re taking the game…

    • Deano2099 says:

      The game is $10. Buying a product is not “supporting the devs”, it’s paying money because you want something. I hate to break it to you, but all those indie games you bought because you wanted to play them, you’re not supporting the devs, you’re paying them fair recompense for the work they’ve done.

      The DD devs want $10 in exchange for their game. Now if you really want to ‘support’ them, you can pay a bit extra. Where do people playing the free version fit in? Well a lot of us sort of feel like we got more than $10 out of that already, and want to throw some cash the dev’s way for that.

      As for the extra class, I can’t stress this enough: it’s a joke class. It’s a novelty. It’s not part of the game, it doesn’t actually belong in the game, it’s an out-take, but a funny one. If you just pay $10 you are getting the full experience. And there’s plenty of game in there. 19 other classes.

    • johnpeat says:

      This newfound distinction between ‘buying’ a game and ‘supporting the devs’ is hilarious – no, seriously, it’s laughable!

      I understand the $10 version AND I understand the (now unavailable) $75 version – they made perfect sense to me and I had no problem with either.

      It’s that $20 version which pisses me (and other people) off. It’s twice-as-much money for a small piece of otherwise unavailable content AND it’s making this statement about ‘supporting’ them (which implies that not buying it is somehow NOT supporting them).

      If any mainstream developer/publisher tried a trick like this, we’d be all over them like a RASH – but because it’s an indie who’s made a (very good) game we’re not only giving them a pass, some people are actually SUPPORTING it by making up some idea of ‘support’ as opposed to just ‘buying’ a game!?

      It’s nonsense and it leaves me feeling like a cheapskate for pre-ordering a game which isn’t cheap in the first place.

      Thanks for that…

  15. malkav11 says:

    So, is this browser thing just for the beta? Because it’s not very “desktop” dungeons if I can’t actually download and play it from my desktop. Also, very much not what I paid for.

    Edit: Yup, post beta there will also be a standalone version. Okay, that’s cool.

  16. Deano2099 says:

    Holding off for now as balancing is essential in a game like this. Look forward to having the experience (again!) when it comes out though.

  17. Deano2099 says:

    This is worth quoting, regarding the two price points:

    I’m sorry you guys feel that way, that’s really not what we intended: The Special Edition is there for the people that want to go over and above pre-ordering the game to support us. We’ve had a steady stream of emails over the last year asking us to put up a donate button or do something to let them help with development, so that’s what’s informed the Special Edition. Trying to nickel and dime people that love our game is probably the furthest thing from our minds, we can’t get over how awesome it is that so many people are playing Desktop Dungeons already!

    Of course, we’d feel bad simply charging more for the same game, so we brainstormed and saw what sorts of bonus content we could add as our way of saying thanks. It’s literally a few extra things here and there, they’ll be mostly joke quests and the special character isn’t exactly the most seriously balanced thing in the game – quite the opposite in fact ;)

    What would work better in your minds? We were toying with a system that would give the extra content as reward for a pay-as-much-as-you-feel donation system, but unfortunately PayPal’s implementation in South Africa makes that all but impossible at the moment. We settled on this as a compromise, I hope it hasn’t left too bad a taste in your mouths.

  18. allthingslive says:

    I think I’ll just stick to Angband. It’s free, it’s sooo much fun for those with the smallest hint of imagination hidden somewhere in their decrepit little bodies.

    • Nick says:

      they are totally different games and this also has a free version. Its more like a puzzle game than a roguelike.

  19. Hellraiserzlo says:

    I have had enough fun with the free version to pay them those 10$ and pre order it as soon as they started selling.