Endless Dungeon is a new roguelike shooter that blends sci-fi action with strategic tower defense. Developed by Amplitude Studios and published by Sega, it strands players aboard an abandoned alien space station teeming with monsters. Your goal is to guide a helpless robot through the procedurally generated depths to restart a reactor and escape. But with hordes of enemies around every corner, you’ll need quick reflexes and smart preparation to survive.
In this review, we’ll dive deep into the depths of Endless Dungeon to see if its mix of twin-stick shooting, base building, and dungeon crawling makes for a compelling package. We’ll assess the variety of playable heroes and their abilities, analyze how weapon selection and turret placement influence your odds of survival, and evaluate whether its loop of gradual meta-progression and random challenge offers enough incentive to keep diving back in. Along with critiquing its procedurally generated levels, visual presentation, and difficulty tuning, we’ll determine whether tactical coordination in multiplayer gives this title an edge.
By the end, you’ll know whether Endless Dungeon stands out in the crowded roguelike genre, or if its genre mashup bites off more than it can chew. Does exploring its maze-like maps full of doors and desperate firefights make for a thrilling adventure? Or does monotony and frustration quickly set in? Read on to find out if this is a dungeon worth delving into or better left sealed shut.
Navigating the Deadly Depths
At its core, Endless Dungeon revolves around a loop of exploration, defense preparation, and frantic action. Each procedurally generated level is a maze of rooms connected by doors. Opening a door earns you resources, but also risks unleashing monsters. So you must balance searching for the exit, stockpiling currency to build turrets, and avoiding alerting more enemies than you can handle.
Once you locate the exit, you must guide a fragile robot companion through the gauntlet of foes to reach it. Hordes attack in endless waves until the bot hacks open the door, requiring you to fight tactically with your hero’s abilities and whatever defenses you’ve constructed along the way. It’s a satisfying risk/reward balancing act that keeps tension high.
Twin-stick shooting forms the backbone of combat. You move with one stick and aim/shoot with the other. Gunplay feels smooth and responsive as you mow down swarms of oversized alien bugs, mutated creatures, robotic foes, and ghostly entities. Each of the four enemy factions has different behaviors, speeds, and elemental weaknesses to account for. The eight playable heroes also feature varied playstyles, from agile pistol wielders to heavy weapon specialists.
While basic aiming and shooting is simple, you’ll need to juggle several factors once chaos erupts. Keeping track of the bot’s position, staying stocked on ammo, repairing turrets, reviving allies, and using your hero’s unique abilities all become crucial. The action grows extremely hectic but rarely feels unfair, striking a nice balance between shooter and strategy.
That strategy comes from building turrets between horde waves. There are many trap and turret types to unlock, with different damage, fire rate, area of effect, and elemental attributes. Choosing the right turrets then positioning them effectively to create kill zones requires forethought. But you have to balance defense spending with upgrading your weapons and abilities too. This resource management ensures variety between runs.
Procedural generation remixes the space station’s layout each time. You never know what’s behind the next door, whether it holds treasures or triggers a mob. This unpredictability forces you to think on your feet, adapting new tactics each time. The randomness also ensures challenge never feels repetitive. Just when you get comfortable, the dungeon throws a wrench in your plans to keep you on edge.
Of course, in true roguelike fashion, death sends you back to the beginning. But meta-progression systems let you earn permanent upgrades to give you a better chance on the next run. You’ll unlock heroes, weapons, abilities, stats, and more persistently. So over many runs, your odds slowly improve in overcoming the dungeon’s dangers. It’s a satisfying gameplay loop that incentivizes jumping back in.
The risk/reward gameplay bred by the doors ends up being surprisingly engaging. Do you open more to stock up on essential resources despite the danger? Or play it safe even though you’ll be underprepared? This central mechanic fosters constant tension, meaningful choices, and satisfaction when your gambles pay off. It’s a clever spin on dungeon crawling progression and resource gathering.
Combined together, these elements make for thrilling, tactical dungeon diving. You’ll need equal parts quick reflexes, wise preparation, and smart cooperation to reach the depths of this living dungeon. One wrong step can spell doom, but prevailing against the odds through skillful play is hugely rewarding. For those craving strategic shooter challenges, Endless Dungeon delivers plenty of replayable life-or-death decisions.
A Vibrant Intergalactic Playground
Endless Dungeon features a colorful, comic book-inspired art style that’s full of character. The blocky environments of the space station interiors contrast nicely with the soft lighting and bulbous alien creature designs. There’s a vibrant, Saturday morning cartoon feel to the visual presentation that matches the lighthearted tone well.
Each of the eight heroes has a distinct look and personality, from the cowboy robot Blaze to the four-armed angry scientist Comrade. Little details in their animations, like Blaze spinning his guns or the moth-like Cartie fluttering her wings, bring charm and life to the cast. The monsters are more archetypal, but still exhibit nice variety across the insect, machine, mutant, and phantom classes.
Environments are simplistic in geometry but do a lot with creative lighting, neon holograms, and the sheer sense of scale. The decrepit space station feels like a playground, with long corridors giving way to large multi-tiered rooms. Walking down the vacant halls, you get a true sense of exploring abandoned alien architecture. Interactive elements like turret nodes, power sources, and floating holographic monitors also help the environments feel alive.
Clean UI and satisfying feedback make navigating the dungeons seamless. Your radar highlights upcoming threats, inventory is easily managed, and building turrets is as simple as pointing and clicking. The visual and audio cues that accompany picking up items, defeating enemies, or taking damage provide clear feedback without being disruptive. Even while battles get extremely hectic, you won’t struggle with losing track of vital information.
The synth-heavy soundtrack pairs nicely with the sci-fi setting. Upbeat, atmospheric tunes during exploration give way to driving beats once the hordes attack. Changing tracks clue you into the current level of threat while also keeping the audio experience feeling fresh. The alien creature sound effects are also suitably strange and flavorful.
Altogether, the presentation choices foster an inviting atmosphere. Despite the ever-present dangers, exploring the brightly lit corridors littered with bizarre objects never gets old. The Saturday morning cartoon tone comes through strongly, making traversing the deadly space hulk feel like playing around in a cool intergalactic playground. The visuals, UI, and audio combine seamlessly to deliver a polished experience where just existing in the world is rewarding.
Always Improving, Always Surprising
Endless Dungeon employs a variety of meta-progression systems that make death merely a setback rather than game over. By collecting Cells from fallen foes and Scraps hidden in levels, you can purchase permanent upgrades back at your safe haven hub. This gradual power growth gives you better odds of reaching the final depths while the procedural generation ensures it’s never the same journey twice.
There are many avenues to spend Cells and Scraps. You can unlock each of the eight heroes and improve their stats. Every hero also has a unique progression questline that rewards ability-enhancing chips. New weapons, damage types, turrets, and more can be unlocked for future runs as well. You’ll also amass weapon and turret upgrade materials to incrementally improve your arsenal’s effectiveness.
The safe haven hub called The Saloon acts as a relaxing social area between runs. Here you can chat with characters, check your stats, and cash in meta-currency. The Saloon also slowly expands over time thanks to your Scrap donations, unlocking more amenities. It becomes a welcoming home away from home.
Beyond persistent upgrades, there are also character synergies and loadout combinations to experiment with. The eight heroes play quite differently, suiting melee-focused, ranged, tanking, or support playstyles. Discovering which heroes pair well together spices up repeat runs. Weapon selections also influence your damage output and elemental coverage against certain enemies.
Between the gear experimentation and procedural maps, no two runs ever play exactly the same. The random layouts, enemy types, buffs/debuffs, and loot drops guarantee fresh experiences. Some runs you get lucky with items and a direct path to the exit, while others the dungeon seems determined to thwart you. But this unpredictability keeps you on your toes and unable to get complacent.
Of course, randomness also means occasionally getting unfairly challenged through no fault of your own. The dungeon can spawn far away from your defenses or be overrun with enemies you lack proper countermeasures against. But these times are rare enough thanks to the difficulty tuning.
The escalating hazards force you to rethink your strategies while rarely feeling insurmountable. As long as you learn from each failure, you’ll overcome once-impossible odds through steady upgrades. Death stings but remains an opportunity to improve your heroes and hub for the battles ahead.
This combination of meaningful progress growth and endless variability delivers terrific replay value. You’re motivated to keep undertaking “just one more run” to inch closer to long-term goals while enjoying the fresh emergent stories that unfold. Even after dozens of hours, you’ll still find new challenges to overcome and synergies to try out. The replayability ensures this dungeon truly feels endless.
Strength in Numbers
While entirely playable solo, Endless Dungeon really shines when playing co-op with friends. With up to three players, you can take control of the heroes and truly coordinate your approach. Discussing strategies over voice chat and combining your powers for synergetic play unlocks the game’s full potential.
In single player, you can swap between controlling any of your heroes directly while the others are managed by AI. The AI performs admirably, moving around the map and utilizing abilities intelligently. But nothing beats the creativity and adaptability of human allies.
In co-op, you can have one player focus on escorting the robot, another defend specific areas with turrets, and a third scout ahead opening doors. Or stick together as a small army, combining abilities like force fields, healing zones, and proximity mines to decimate legions. Effective communication and teamwork allows you to succeed in situations that would overwhelm a solo player.
The social hub area called The Saloon also takes on new life in multiplayer. Here between runs you can walk around the bar, hangout with NPCs, and take turns customizing your heroes while chatting with real people. It makes upgrading and preparing for the next sortie feel like hanging out with friends at a local pub rather than sterile menu navigation.
Through both the dungeon escapades and social hub, the cooperative play fosters camaraderie and stories you won’t get playing solo. Escorting the robot to the exit while under relentless assault feels like an actual life-and-death last stand when you have real allies by your side. And narrowly avoiding a team wipe after getting surrounded can lead to raucous celebrations.
The strategic coordination required, customization options, and social elements really come alive when playing with a full party. While still engaging alone thanks to clever AI behavior, joining up with 2 friends takes the experience to another level. If you can gather a squad, Endless Dungeon becomes a thrilling cooperative adventure as you work, fight, struggle, and celebrate together. This is a dungeon best delved into as a team.
Endless Dungeon is an ambitious genre mashup that delivers a thrilling and rewarding challenge. The core gameplay loop of strategic shooting and tower defense prep flows smoothly. Risky exploration leads to horde defense scenarios that test your reflexes and decision making in equal measure. This multi-layered action fosters satisfying progression both within a run and across multiple sorties.
Blending roguelike dungeon crawling, base building, and tactical combat could have easily turned muddled. But here the pieces merge seamlessly into a cohesive experience. Each run tells an emergent story that feels unique thanks to procedural elements. Yet clear meta-progression persists through the randomness to provide a sense of advancement. It executes this tricky formula with impressive balance.
The learning curve also deserves praise. Core mechanics like movement and shooting are instantly accessible. But layering all the systems together without becoming overwhelming is a design feat. Small touches like auto-targeting and clear UI further lower the barrier to entry. Yet even after dozens of hours, new strategic possibilities reveal themselves through hero synergies and loadout variations.
The difficulty strikes an ideal balance as well. Normal mode challenges without punishing unfairly, while higher difficulties exist for seasoned players. And setbacks never feel like wasted time thanks to persistent growth. The dungeon definitely earns its “endless” moniker thanks to near infinite replay potential.
Of course, repetition eventual sets in to all procedurally generated games. But it takes significant time thanks to the layered combat, unlockables, and multiplayer support. Solo players may exhaust interest quicker than those with a reliable group to cooperate with. But even playing alone, this remains a gem of the genre worth diving deep into.
In the crowded field of roguelike shooters, Endless Dungeon stands out through polish, accessibility, and layered mechanics. Amplitude Studios has struck the perfect equilibrium between action, strategy, and randomness. Despite some eventual repetitiveness inherent to the format, this is a dungeon crawler that delivers significant replay value for all skill levels. If you have even a passing interest in top-down shooting challenges, then grab some friends and delve into this endlessly replayable alien hive.
Endless Dungeon expertly fuses frenetic twin-stick shooting with strategic base building and resource management. Its procedural maps and varied heroes provide endless reasons to dive back into its depths. A few unfair random elements occasionally arise, but overall this dungeon crawler strikes an ideal balance between action, preparation, and progression. With accessible gameplay, persistent growth, and multiplayer support, Endless Dungeon delivers an addictively fun romp through deadly alien corridors.
- Satisfying core gameplay loop of exploring, building defenses, and frantic action
- Great blend of twin-stick shooting, tower defense strategy, and roguelike progression
- Procedural generation ensures every run feels fresh
- Meaningful meta-progression provides a sense of advancement
- Accessible mechanics with enough depth for mastery
- Fun cast of playable characters with varied abilities
- Cooperative multiplayer significantly enhances the experience
- Polished presentation with great audiovisual style
- Repetition eventual sets in despite procedural elements
- Occasional bad luck with weapon drops or layouts
- Solo play lacks coordination opportunities of co-op
- Basic enemy AI leads to predictable behaviors
- Heroes could be better differentiated through more unique abilities
- Storytelling takes a backseat to gameplay and action