Have You Played… Guild Of Dungeoneering?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

There are dungeon crawling games in which you control the heroes and there are dungeon crawling games in which you control the villains. Guild of Dungeoneering [official site] is positioned somewhere between those two posts – you’re the good guys, delving deep to cleanse evil, but rather than having direct control of the dungeoneers, you construct the dungeon around them in an attempt to level them up and direct them toward their goal.

I didn’t understand the appeal of Guild of Dungeoneering when I first played. Hero characters are divided into several unlockable classes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but there is no persistent levelling up or looting. Each run begins with a fresh start and each character resets to level one as soon as they leave the dungeon. I thought that made for a slim game with no sense of progression.

Guild is a slight game, in some ways, but it’s much more enjoyable than I thought. The characters don’t matter because – and the clue’s in the name here – the guild itself is the real character. Each wannabe hero is essentially the weapon directed at a particular dungeon and its boss and the game is as much puzzle as RPG in its later levels. When you’re forced to flee from a wildly overpowered monster, building paths to safety and planting distractions in its path, the game is tricky and pleasurable. Eventually you’ll need to fight but it’s necessary to level up before facing your demons, stringing together encounters against weaker creatures before allowing the boss to catch you.

It’s a smart game, delightfully presented as what look like the sketches of dungeons I used to make in exercise books at school, and, more and more often, I find myself loading it up during my lunch breaks.

7 Comments

  1. RedViv says:

    Three curses on this game and its catchy soundtrack, occupying so much of my brainspace with their being good and nice and stuff. Bah!

  2. TillEulenspiegel says:

    I really appreciate the art style, but everything I’ve seen of the gameplay looks shallow and a bit unsatisfying for me. It seems just about worth the current $7.89 sale price on GOG.

  3. Capt. Bumchum McMerryweather says:

    This sounds like the exact opposite of ‘what did I do to deserve this Lord?!’, an excellent little series wot was on PSP. I shall be getting this for sure!

  4. geldonyetich says:

    I liked the looks, the aesthetics, and somewhat the gameplay to Guild of Dungoneering, but I found it to be a bit unfortunately repetitive to dive down into yet another dungeon and rebuild my wimpy level 1 character again.

  5. likefunbutnot says:

    I liked it a lot. I played through it three times and had a pretty great experience once I figured out to prioritize new classes above other sorts of upgrades. I wish there were some form of random play mode so I could continue past the storyline missions.

    My third play-through wasn’t particularly necessary. I just wanted to see how different the physical vs. magical class progression was. Short answer: magic is a lot easier.

  6. qrter says:

    Looks great, has a lovely soundtrack but the game is horribly grrrindy.. a real shame.