Saturday, January 7, 2012

Cleared: Dungeons of Dredmor

I'm not sure I have ever felt such a sense of triumph after beating a game on easy. It took me 64 hours and I don't know how many times I died, but I finally made it to the bottom of the dungeon and took down Lord Dremor. (Then I deliberately died to him a few minutes later to get the achievement.) Anyway, I think this game probably gets the cost-to-enjoyment ratio award for the last 12 years. (I can't go back to '99, however, because that's when Jagged Alliance 2 was released.) I got this game as part of a humble bundle, and fired it up on a completely random whim. And then it hooked me. It hooked me bad. Getting to the bottom of the dungeon, even without permadeath, was quite the achievement, but it was fun, for several reasons. First and most importantly, the game has a sense of humor, and every bit as important - that sense of humor is clean. (Well, mostly. There's a few double entendres about wands and staves in there, and one monster, but the overwhelming majority of the game's humor comes from wit and ridiculousness. This would be worthless if the game itself wasn't any fun to play, however, and this game was a very satisfying experience. The skill trees always had something cool to offer, the loot was peppered with all sorts of cool things, including literary and media references. And the combat was surprisingly satisfying, given how simple it is. The game rewards cleverness and punishes carelessness, and especially towards the end, I felt like I'd gotten a lot better at playing it. Oh, and did I mention it's turn-based? Interestingly, I'm not sure this is going to get me into the roguelike genre, per se, but I'll happily snatch up any additional content the creators put out for this. It's well worth the full price of the game and its expansion, which, by the way, is only $7.49 on Steam. This is one of those "just go get it already" recommendations. I don't think I've seen a better value in gaming in ten years.

RPG notes: The anachronisms of the setting (vending machines in the dungeon, etc.) would be fun to play with, and the bolt council and its implied machinations are some fun lightweight inspiration for how a morally-ambiguous fantasy guild might operate. Not sure how many of the monsters I'd want to swipe, although a few of the ones on the lowest levels might be cool.

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