Procedurally generated rougelike dungeon crawlers are an odd breed. They spawn twitch channels, speedruns, and races between various hardcore gamers. Games like Binding of Isaac, Diablo, Torchlight, and even Pokemon Mystery dungeon all feature a rougelike theme. Elements such as permadeath, turn based combat, and random generation permeate these games. The rouglike genre is definitely not for the faint of heart, they can be punishing, frustrating, and incredibly competitive.
You begin Quest of Dungeons by selecting one of four character classes. There’s the fighter if you’re a fan of close up combat. The Shaman has some area of effect magic but also does some fine close range combat, and the Wizard uses a wide variety of spells to get the job done. Perhaps the best and easiest class to play is the Archer, who can attack from a distance and can pick up some area of effect spells along the course of his game.
After you pick a class, you and your fellow warriors are sitting around a campfire discussing how best to tackle the evil your land has befallen. Your “team” decides it would be the best idea for you to go it alone. They inform you that they must divide and conquer only to laugh at your imminent demise as soon as you walk off-screen.
As you are thrown into the first level of the dark dank dungeon you collect books that allow for effect spells on yourself or the enemies at large. You move along the tiles disarming traps, acquiring gold and new armor & weapons, whilst fighting any foes that may pop up. This is the basic formula for all 8 floors of the dungeon.
As Quest of Dungeons is randomly generated, bosses can either pop up at great times or the worst possible moment, so you must be prepared at any point to face off against these little beasties. The bosses will sometimes tell you they are about to kill you, or spout random factoids about the development about the game itself, this can do a great deal to calm the pants-wetting panic you face as you open that door to see a monster at least twice your size getting ready to kill you until you die from it.
Inhabited by a cloak adorned man or woman, the shop is a vital instrument in the battle against evil. You can buy and sell items here , especially the books; they fetch a ridiculously high price. Humor can be found here as well, the shop owner will laugh at you menacingly or offer up information about the game randomly.
Quest of Dungeons is a fantastic tribute to the 16-bit era of Squaresoft RPGs. Colors are vibrant and each individual level has its own theme and creatures to fight. Sound is good quality and effects invoke the classic nuances of the early 90s games. The game’s soundtrack is also amazingly calming for the genre.
Controls are mostly fluid with a few problems here and there, although they can act a bit bit odd under certain circumstances. For example, if you are near an enemy you cannot go through them but instead of walking right up and smacking your foe you might find yourself doing a bit of an intricate dance with them. This can cause more panic than intended as you are thrust into a situation where you cannot attack and you might end up taking on damage through no fault of your own.
One major issue is the hit detection and readout relay. At the most vital times (i.e. Boss Fights) your health does not drop as fast as it should. This leaves you with a problem when trying to heal. If you cannot heal yourself correctly you will die and have to restart the game. Sometimes this can work to your advantage, enemies that looked like they had a full health bar suddenly end up disappearing, but when it happens to you it is frustrating.
Quest of Dungeons could be classified as the training wheels of rougelike games. This isn’t a criticism, however.. It is a great game, and many experienced fans of the genre may find themselves beating it within two and a half to three hours. More inexperienced players may find themselves sitting down and then wondering where the hell the last five hours went. If you’ve never played games of the genre it is highly recommended you start with Quest Of Dungeons. If you are an experienced rougelike player, you will want to turn the difficulty up to hard and tear into this experience with everything you have.
Quest of Dungeons is available now on Steam.