EDIT: November 14, 2014 - This OP is woefully outdated. I'll update it soon-ish. Follow the last few pages of the thread to get more up to date information on the full release of the game.
So hey. There's this game. It's pretty rad. I enjoy it.
"Well that's a less than exciting name," you might be saying to yourself. Sure sure, but don't let that dissuade you. Let me give you a bit of information about what this is.
So, long story short, the developers of Endless Space
a pretty looking 4X game (that I have not played) must have saw what the folks at Kerberos was doing with The Pit, a little rogue-like offshoot of their 4X game, Sword of the Stars. There was apparently drinking involved too. Witness accounts vary, but there was most certainly some imbibing of beverages.
The result is Dungeon of the Endless, a game that kind of defies easy to nail down genre tropes, making it hard to categorize.
EDIT: So the devs made their own video which is a better summary than what I typed up way back when. You should watch it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2aQYDmsocQIs it a rogue-like?
Well, it certainly has features of that type of game. Permanent loss of units, of the game, what might otherwise be a minor hiccup in another game can lead to a chain reaction of fail, ruining everything and causing you to start over with nothing but the personal skills you gained during that gameplay. But it lacks a lot of the standards in that genre, you don't have direct control over your combat other than a overall "go here" command, there's no in-depth crafting or anything like that. But it's a much more deliberate exploration game with, to me, an atmosphere that might feel familiar to someone who's played FTL, though they're very different games.Is it a Tower Defense game?
It does have many TD tropes that you have to be aware of, take advantage of, and adjust to. You can build automated defenses in each room, that you have power to, and you need to account for the types of enemies that will likely attack and compensate. But unlike TD games you can't really
guide enemies anywhere, or have any real control over where anything will attack, what will attack what, or any nuances over your defenses. They're 'dumb' and just kill what they see. There's no point A to point B path you're dealing with, as each floor is completely random and trying to funnel enemies isn't exactly an easy task (though it is possible...) EDIT: To clarify there are different enemy types that each have specific AI's. Some target heroes, some target defenses, some target your crystal, etc, and you do need to be aware of what works best against any given type; but you're still going to deal with them all in mostly the same way.Is it a Turn Based RPG?
Well, like a turn based RPG, like say...Baldurs Gate, you control a squad that you can manage stats (via leveling and equipment), you can pause to have some breathing room to assess a situation and plan ahead. You can direct individual units to do different things, level up, equip, and generally do your best to keep alive. It's not quite
turn based, as all the action happens in real time, but between the action, it's calm and you have time to think and make decisions about what doors to open and how to go about that.So what is it?
It's its own thing that cribs a lot of little features from all sorts of genres and melds them into something that is (so far anyway) really fun, though it has a steep learning curve. If the idea of exploring a procedurally generated dungeon with a rag-tag group of heroes (they're actually probably prisoners...) that can die if you don't keep care of them, who you can upgrade, outfit and use to try to stay alive; build defenses to protect your little piece of the dungeon from invaders, while collecting resources to upgrade your units, your defenses, and to save for the next level; if any of that sounds fun, this might be a game for you.Ok, ok, that sounds cool; whats the hitch?
The hitch is, it's early access. It's in Alpha state, but is still fully playable (though only 3 floors and 6 heroes, with a lot of features disabled currently). Full release promises science skills, hero abilities, traits, more diverse locales, different ships you can come in on, way more heroes, and more. It's a game backed by an established developer, so it's less risky than your random greenlight game, but as with any early access game, you're still rolling the dice a bit. Having said that though, even the smal amount of game that there currently is, is really fun, and you can tell from what's already in, it's just going to get better. Amplitude promises constant updating (first patch was today, the day after release), regular new features, updates, fan voting on direction of some systems (if you buy it you get more 'points' for these votes), among other things.Still here? Good, lets continue with the actual game.
The game itself has a really sparse tutorial (seriously it's like 4 slides, one of which doesn't really say anything) and then says go
! The first few times you play are full of "what the shit just happened" moments as you're discovering the systems of the game. I found this part fun, actually, so by all means, do it yourself, but if you need a few pointers for what to do out of the gate I can toss some of those up too. But what does the game look like, you are probably asking, and too lazy to just go click on the store page.
This is the first thing you'll probably see:
You'll probably have different heroes, but you'll still be there, the two of ya, in your crashed ass ship.
Open the door!
Every door has something
behind it, and you won't know until you open it. Sometimes it's an item. Sometimes it's a Merchant. Sometimes another hero. Usually enemies.
As you open more doors and expand your exploration issues
start popping up. You see, how you explore is the entirety of the game. IF you go opening doors willy nilly you're gonna die, real fast. Each room is an event and you need to prepare for it. Do you have adequate defense for potential enemies (your heroes can rarely handle mobs on their own, even with good equipment and levels)? Is your room powered? Any allies nearby? Are your other rooms protected from a potential wave attack from anywhere? Every room is a 'turn', effectively, things happen when you open doors. Between opening doors, you've got some breathing time. You can figure out where you want power to go, what kind of defenses you want where, what machines manned by what units, etc. Sound complicated? It's not. It's all very intuitive and you'll learn it by dying horrible miserable deaths, that usually happen 2 doors after you are feeling like a fucking king. That's how the game goes. Every door can be your death, if not planned for.So I just open doors?
No, dork. :P Well, I mean, yeah, you open doors, but there are
goals. What you're looking for is here:
That's an exit. Simple right? Nope
. You see, go back up to that first picture, of the crashed ship. That big prism? That's your power core. You have to get it to the exit, and this changes everything. You see, this object powers rooms, as you get energy. You get energy in some rooms, from some enemies, but bottom line is you'll never have enough energy to power all the rooms, so you have to be very selective in what rooms you power, what rooms you ignore, what rooms you abandon, when, and why you abandon them. You have to chain rooms to power them, you can't just power up random rooms here and there, so it's a thoughtful process as you expand the map. But when it's time to finish a map, you have to pick that bad boy up and carry it to the exit, and when you do that, the monsters go fucking insane, so it becomes a very intense jaunt (carrying it makes you go slower, so pick a fast guy that can take a hit, and guard him), so I hope you've planned ahead for your route. Oh yeah, that's right, you're not just planning ahead for your expansion, you've also got to keep a mind on the ultimate end goal of a map to move the Core. And by the way, that Core can't be powering rooms behind it after you pass through them, so you're constantly leaving your rear exposed as you move through rooms towards the exit. So you have to balance how fast you run through, with giving up potential defenses in the prior room(s) that you're giving up for any enemies that might be chasing you. Is it worth stopping, taking advantage of your turrets to make another dash, or do you just book it straight to the exit?Sound good yet?
There's a lot of strategies you can employ about what rooms to power, how that effects wave spawns. For example, enemies can't spawn in powered rooms, occupied or not. So you can take up the strategy of powering up a large 'fortress' to control where spawns come into your part of the dungeon. Doing this, however, often means needing to power otherwise worthless rooms; rooms enemies won't pass through, you can't build resource generators in, and just take up space, and take up power; as you have limited amounts of power at all times. Is a better plan to leave some rooms unpowered, but near very well defended rooms, so that you can focus power into more productive rooms, but risk having enemies attack from all directions at any given time? Things to think about, for sure. Even in Alpha, with lots of features disabled and missing, there's still plenty of strategy and thought involved in every single room. Do you raise the level of your units faster by building food generators, sacrificing Industry Generators and the defenses they can build for stronger heroes? Balance? Do you heavily invest in a single level, leaving no resources to carry over into the next, or do you go sparse on one level, make it harder, risk your heroes and your crystal, in hopes to get to the next level with a lot of resources to start out with? Remember even minor mistakes can mean complete failure. Like any rogue-like (which it isn't exactly), you can be in the grave half a second after being king of the world. And there's a lot of things I haven't even touched on (because hey, its more fun to figure it out yourself)Enough. Enough. Just give us the dirty.
Fine. There's two versions of the game you can buy now. The Pixel pack and the Founders Pack.
The Pixel Pack (Normal: $12.99 -- Sale: $9.74):
The Founders Pack (Normal: $19.99 -- Sale: $14.99):Awesome, so what does the future hold?
You know, with these early release games, things change all the time. Features get added, features get dropped, people get happy, people get mad. Basically what you can bank on is more of the goodness that there already is. More levels, more diverse areas, more hero types, actual research/skills, among other things. And this isn't something being promised at all
, so don't get your hopes up; but I dare you to play the game for more than half an hour and not see how much insane fun this could be co-op. It'll probably never happen, but man, if there was a game that was almost tailor made for 4 player co-op.Final Thoughts:
If the game looks even moderately appealing, you'll probably enjoy it. If you can handle the fact that it's just Alpha, knowing what you're doing you can 'beat' it in ~30m if you're good (but it'll take you a lot longer probably to get to the point you can survive that long), knowing you're gonna hit bugs, lack of balance sometimes, and wait for updates all the time, it's already
worth the money as far as I'm concerned.