ENDLESS™ Dungeon (OpenDev) – First Impressions

I was invited to the ENDLESS™ Dungeon Open Dev and got to play a few runs, so I wanted to write about this game and share my thoughts on the Open Dev. Before any of that, though, I’d have to mention that the devs at AMPLITUDE are still working on the game and that the game in its current state isn’t representative of the quality of the full release. That being said, it’s already quite polished and entertaining – and while it has a similar principle to Dungeon of the ENDLESS, it isn’t a sequel but rather a spiritual successor to it, meaning that it’s different in a lot of its aspects (more on that later).

For anyone that hasn’t heard about ENDLESS™ Dungeon yet (I’ll drop the ™ from now on), ENDLESS Dungeon is a Roguelike-Twin-Stick-Shooter with Tactical components. Stranded on a mysterious station swarmed with monsters, you have to get to the core of this mysterious station and turn off whatever prevents you from leaving it. The only way to do so, however, is to escort the “Crystal Bot” from floor to floor which requires a lot of planning, resource management, fighting, and strategy. You take control of two to three heroes, each with unique characteristics, playstyles, personalities, and abilities. Bunker is more of a Tank that can draw aggro and divert attention while dealing less damage than other characters. His aim is primarily to tank the enemies so that other characters can deal the damage needed – but he also can hit quite hard as his passive ability grants him bonus damage per percentage of his health lost. Meanwhile, Zed is more of an all-rounder with good speed and attack power, wielding a powerful Gatling gun to deal with masses of smaller enemies quite well. And then there’s Blaze who’s more of a gunslinger that wields railguns and other weaponry to deal high burst damage at the cost of some defensive stats.

The full release will feature more characters to play from supportive archetypes to other known ones – and hopefully, some of the characters from Dungeon of the ENDLESS also find their way onto this station. I’d love it, at least.

Just like its spiritual predecessor, ENDLESS Dungeon makes use of three main resources: Industry, Science and Food. Food is used to enhance your characters, effectively levelling them up. Science is used for research and Industry is used to build Generators and Turrets. Whenever you open one of the doors on each floor, a “turn” passes and you’ll generate one of each resource, plus two more per according generator built. Generators, however, can only be built on specific tiles. The same goes for turrets and other gadgets that you may research as you go on.

In contrast to Dungeon of the Endless, in this game, enemies will spawn in “waves”. Every now and then, you’ll receive a warning that enemies are coming in from different “spawners”. While the first game had you prevent this by having you power rooms with “Dust”, you cannot prevent it in this game. “Dust” still is a resource in this game but it’s used to either upgrade the Crystal with unique bonuses or to power a dark room but it’s a lot rarer than in DotE. From time to time, you may find little crystals on the ground that need to be extracted. This, however, will trigger another wave, meaning that you have to fend off monsters while the Crystal Bot is extracting the Crystals… and the wave only ends when your Crystal is connected to the Crystal-specific ground panel. Research also triggers waves… and chances are that there will be other conditions that trigger them in the full release… This is an interesting mechanic, in my opinion, as it lets you really outweigh the risks and benefits of going for more exploration, more research, Dust, or other choices you may consider.

While it’s equally strategic with all the possible turret placements and upgrades and whatnot, ENDLESS Dungeon still feels fresh and like a totally new game. Yes, it’s a spiritual successor but it doesn’t feel like a blatant copy and frankly, I love the way they kept it new and unique. I’m more than excited about the full release, although there are some minor things that I found somewhat annoying if not even frustrating:

  • Switching Characters is a bit obnoxious
    • In the game, you’ll switch between characters quickly by hitting “RT”. This lets you switch with the closest character and then to the other person but sometimes due to how hectic the game can be, you may end up switching between only two and never to the third. I’d love it if there was a setting to toggle this on or off. If set to “Order” instead of “Closest”, it switches from your first character to the second to the third. I feel like that’d be a lot easier and a huge Quality of Life improvement.
  • NPC AI is stupid
    • Sometimes, the AI of your two companions will get stuck on walls, not follow you despite being set to follow you, stay in a room or charge forward, not use their abilities, and at times, they may not even attack. Of course, this is resolved in Multiplayer – but the beauty of Dungeon of the Endless was that you could go into the overview and just make people move to the next room while they attacked automatically once they stood still. That’s not possible here, it seems.
  • Radial Wheels are a bit clunky
    • Placing Turrets or selecting commands can be a huge pain in the arse.
  • Lack of Inventory Menu
    • Every character can carry two weapons and a device. I’d love to see these as well as the upgrades I picked for them as well as the weapons, so that I can compare and make changes quickly. In-Game, you don’t necessarily have that option. If you pick up a weapon that is better than your initial weapon, you can’t drop your initial weapon, either. Sometimes, you may switch to it by accident and you won’t even notice, possibly, as some of the weapons look too similar.

Overall though, I had a blast with ENDLESS™ Dungeon. If you wanna check out the game for yourself, you’ll have to wait until it comes out soon™. In the meantime, you can wishlist it on Steam and follow “Endless Universe” on Twitter for updates, community polls, and more! You can also check out the homepage right here for more news and information! I’m incredibly excited about the full release. I hope you are as well!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

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