PC games and mobile apps seem to be finding their way onto the Nintendo eShop more and more often lately, but with mobile apps being even more accessible/portable than a Switch, does this trend benefit games like Dungeon of the Endless? The game’s creepy atmosphere and frantic strategy make for an enjoyable experience, resulting in this popular hybrid of survival and tower defence something worth experiencing regardless of platform.
When I started playing Dungeon of the Endless, my blood ran cold because it reminded me of a dismal game I reviewed earlier this month, Dread Nautical. Thankfully, this feeling of terror passed quickly because Dungeon of the Endless succeeds in many areas in which Dread Nautical failed.
Dungeon of the Endless is a tower defence game with a dungeon crawler twist. The primary goal of the game is to plan an escape route for your band of intergalactic survivors and their precious crystal. This is accomplished by crafting turrets and resource generators in the randomly generated dungeons, resulting in a satisfying mix of exploration, tower defence and science fiction action.
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Your choice can make or break your campaign: do you stock up on building supplies or experience/health points? Will you abandon one survivor in order to recruit another? How do you disperse your characters? Each attempt is different, even if you select the same characters to begin with.
The levels are randomly generated dungeons scattered with enemies and crafting locations. You progress by finding the exit of each floor and by escorting a large crystal from the spawn room to the exit. The levels are always laid out in very different arrangements with different placement of perks and NPCs. This keeps the levels from getting stale, even though the variety of room appearances are limited.
The story progression mainly consists of the dialogue between survivors on the elevator between floors. If one of your characters dies on the previous floor, your survivors will mourn their death or make a joke along “one less mouth to feed” lines. Certain characters being paired together will also trigger some funny dialogue. Its cleverness doesn’t make for a particularly deep story, but the comedy for its own sake (especially in a game as creepy and dark as this one) is appreciated.
Graphics / Art Direction
The graphics are superbly pixelated. The character models and enemies are varied and move smoothly. The rooms are surprisingly detailed and varied enough to stave off repetition. There was some noticeable lag when there were many enemies on screen, but this was rare.
Music / Sound Design
The music in Dungeon of the Endless is satisfying: it sounds like something out of an Alien arcade game. It’s creepy and rendered perfectly to match the visuals. The music really helps establish the tone. It can get repetitive after a while, but it won’t ruin your experience.
Final Score: 80%
Dungeon of the Endless is flawed but it can be fun. The gameplay and aesthetics are good, but the game has a lot of performance issues: in my week playing this game, I experienced a significant number of crashes, a disappearing save file and random freezing. It’s hard to hold that against it since it’s a prelaunch version of the game, but if it’s not patched, the game will frustrate you frequently. Even without these issues, Dungeon of the Endless had its highs and lows: the hybrid tower combat is fun, but the resource system feels too complicated at times. The game is also pretty unforgiving, which is a common annoying aspect of mobile ports. Character deaths are surprisingly impactful. I played very cautiously and still found myself getting overrun and being unable to save characters. Death being permanent makes it more emotional, but the crude healing system made these deaths feel unfair at times. Overall, I would say that Dungeon of the Endless is one of the better mobile ports on Switch and a decent game in its own right. If you’re a fan of 80s Sci-Fi and tower defense games, this is the game for you.
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