Dungeons of Dredmor is easily one of the best roguelike RPGs out there as it’s stuffed with all kinds of options, classes, difficulty settings, and now even DLC. The game is easy to pick up, hard to master, and addictive as hell. For those of us who love or have ever been interested in roguelikes, there is simply no excuse for passing this one up, especially because of how inexpensive it is.
Available For: Linux, Mac, PC (reviewed)
Developer(s): Gaslamp Games
Release Date: 2011
Archetype(s): Dungeon Crawler, Roguelike, RPG
Roguelikes are an addiction of mine. When a game can marvel on a technical angle because of simplicity while delving in complexity, randomness, and even a little trial and error, well, that’s what exploration and discovery is all about to me. A true roguelike is tough, but will constantly beckon you to come back and try, try, try again, despite how many times you’ve failed ludicrously.
The enticing aspect of Dredmor is there is no such thing as a class. Basically you have about 50 different professions to draw from, each with various strengths, weaknesses, and abilities. So you could choose tinkerer and learn how to use various tinkering stuff, make tinkering stuff, and so on. You could learn the way of the sword and thereby amplify your abilities with such, learn awesome sword techniques, and so on.
However, it should be noted that while there are no classes, it is HIGHLY recommended you select at least one weapon proficiency, because without even one, you will not be able to use ANY weapons efficiently, not even bare handed combat. There are also a wide variety of spells available from blood magic to golemancy to emomancy to shroom lore to astrology to viking lore and much more.
So what’s the story to Dredmor? Well, there isn’t much of one, really. Dredmor’s a bad guy with an evil dungeon and only you can stop him for whatever reason. Pretty standard stuff. I mean, I hate saying this, but if you’ve played one roguelike, you’ve played them all. The story is either non-existent or just enough to get you going. There’s a lot of really standard stuff like a wide variety of items, skills, weapons, spells, and so on.
You can craft various things with alchemy, tinkering, smithing, and so on. Where the game really shines is in its humor, simplicity, and complexity all at the same time. On the surface, it’s just another roguelike. However, as you delve a little deeper, experience more types of enemies, and develop your skills, you slowly realize just how important resource management, carefully planning out each turn, and just how valuable seemingly worthless items can be.
It’s entirely possible to die multiple times in the first floor, especially if you’ve selected various classes that make a contradictory character (like a vegan hunter, for example). It’s important not to think too much about it your first couple of goes, but after you’ve experimented a bit, creating a new character becomes a very interesting task as you learn exactly what you’ll be getting into with each and every archetype.
There are a wide range of stats, buffs, debuffs, and much more. Within each floor, you can often find shops, quest points (nothing more complicated than a simple kill or fetch quest), one time use anvils (that will either permanently increase or decrease the stats on a piece of equipment), lots and lots of traps, and possibly a monster zoo, which is effectively a mini-dungeon chock full of monsters that you’ll be amply rewarded for destroying entirely.
At the end of the day, while glitchy at times, Dredmor is an incredibly fun game you can play over and over and literally have a different experience each time. And of course, getting the DLC nets you new enemies, equipment, equipment types, crafting abilities, classes, the ability to be a girl, and much more. Really, I would have to be incredibly picky to find anything wrong with this title.
But let’s go there anyway. The glitches I’m on about are only slightly noticeable, but they can get annoying over time. For example, certain achievements seem to either never roll over or roll over incorrectly. The game also allows for enough flexibility to save when you die…thus completely screwing over your save file. There are also a number of random game breaking errors that might occur, which is why I always play in a window anymore.
Even still, these few minor things are barely noticeable, rarely happen, and Gaslamp responds to their fans pretty quickly, so these are very minor points. All in all, Dungeons of Dredmor is a great game that everyone should try. Even those of us that are annoyed with turn-based games or RPGs in general will find something to love.