If you spent any portion of your childhood doodling dungeons onto graph paper then Guild of Dungeoneering [official site] screenshots probably make you go ‘coo’ and ‘awwww’ in the same way that most of the internet responds to pictures of a pug riding a tricycle. Released yesterday, GoD is a dungeon-crawler in which you control the dungeons rather than the invading heroes. Well, strictly speaking you control the titular guild, upgrading facilities and recruiting new classes of combatant, then arranging the tiles of each dungeon to ensure your employees survive as you lure them ever deeper.
I spent half an hour with GoD last night. It’s an odd game and there are certain concepts that I failed to grasp immediately, which hindered my enjoyment somewhat. The most notable is the lack of individual characters. Each trip to the dungeons is a self-contained incident and none of the equipment/skills that a hero gathers during a quest stay with that hero. That’s because the heroes are simply representatives of each class that you’ve unlocked, so they can’t die, level up or change in any way.
Essentially, each class that you unlock gives you an unlimited supply of level one characters in that class, and each quest utilises one of those starter characters. When they complete the quest, they reset and next time out, they start from scratch again. It’s confusing because you’re allowed to give the hero a name when you unlock a new class, even though they’re not actually individuals.
The guild itself is your real central character. You upgrade its rooms to unlock new classes and whatnot, which gives you new cards to use in battle or during dungeon construction. There are similarities to Card Hunter, in that combat sees both participants playing cards from a hand that is based on their equipment and skillset. Aside from the initial charm of the graph paper dungeons, GoD hasn’t gripped me in the same way that Card Hunter’s faux-RPG did.
I may take another look – all the ingredients for something I’d enjoy are there – but for now consider this a short note pointing out some peculiarities (and the release) rather than a set of impressions.