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ENDLESS Dungeon Review – Strategic, Fun and Great in Co-Op

Endless Dungeon is a roguelite dungeon crawler developed by Amplitude Studios and published by SEGA. It launches on October 19 on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox, and is a different game to previous ENDLESS titles. Where ENDLESS Legend and ENDLESS Space were 4x strategy games, ENDLESS Dungeon is a very different experience, but no less exciting and challenging. Set in a dark and dangerous world, and a spiritual successor to 2014’s Dungeon of the ENDLESS, you control a team of heroes who must explore a procedurally generated dungeon, fight off waves of monsters, and protect their crystal from destruction.

Shipwrecked on an abandoned space station chock-full of monsters and mysteries, you must fight your way through waves of enemies as you search for the core of the station. We take control of Sweeper who has a pistol, and quickly meet the first companion, Zed, who has a rifle. There is a crystal bot that powers rooms and doors to exit each floor of the station, so the primary goal is to protect the crystal bot from monster attacks. Moving from room to room, you will see door openings on the map and combat utilises a twin-stick shooter style. The game’s art style is great, it runs very smooth on PC and the sound effects are excellent. The music really gets you pumping as you battle wave after wave, trying to keep the crystal bot and yourselves alive.

At first I thought to open all doors, and in doing so I found all the monster spawn rooms before finding the exit room. This meant that each time the wave timer goes off, monsters spawn from all red rooms and you can quickly become overwhelmed. There are terminals spread throughout the floor of each dungeon level and you can spend industry resources to spawn turrets on them. There are three main resource types – industry, food and science, with a fourth resource called dust that is rare and can power up dark rooms.

Each time you open a door, you will gain some of all three resources. Sometimes you will come across generators that you can set to produce more of a resource with each opened door, and it’s worth prioritising industry at first so you can spawn more turrets. Other terminals you’ll find can produce medkits, a vendor to purchase more powerful turrets or perks for your character in that run, or research stations. When monsters spawn, they will often target your generators so it’s worth spawning some turrets near them.

At the top of the mini map is a wave timer, and once it’s full you will enter a combat phase where waves of monsters will spawn and try to take out the crystal bot. Using a research station or moving the crystal bot will also trigger a monster wave. So, you end up playing a bit of tower defence between the spawn points and the crystal bot as it slowly makes it way to the next area. Once a wave is defeated, your attention is back to exploring rooms trying to find yellow doors. These lead to power rooms which will either have a direct exit, or a path to an exit deeper into the area you’re in.

The game can be played solo or in co-op with up to three players. Resources are shared amongst the squad which also means the medkit stocks are shared too. It gets quite tactical and strategic as you and your squad balances who will be on the front line, who will place turrets and where, and who needs a medkit more than the others. Upgraded weapons might sound appealing at the time, but you may need those resources for turret upgrades.

After a wave is defeated, turrets that weren’t destroyed may level up and these are indicated as yellow icons on the map. You can choose to upgrade these turrets or save the resources for new turrets if you haven’t found the exit room yet. Johnny and I played a few sessions together and the difficulty curve of the first few runs was a good learning experience, working out how to work together, use our special skill and ultimate, and we loved the big comic-style effects when you use a skill. Nothing like a good KWOOSH to knock back a few grubs.

If the crystal bot dies, your run is over, and you will be sent back to the Saloon. Here you can chat to characters that you have unlocked and spend scraps and other items you have collected. These items are slowly accumulated and can be used to upgrade the saloon, upgrade each classes abilities, unlock new floors of the station, and upgrade the crystal bots. There is a heap of ways to strategise your next run, and the more you play, the more characters and upgrades you will unlock.
As you unlock more districts and explore further into the station, you will come across a variety of different enemies, each with their own unique attacks and abilities.

You’ll need to learn how to counter each enemy’s attacks in order to defeat them as some are vulnerable to elements such as electricity or fire, while they may be resistant to poison damage. The combat in Endless Dungeon is fast-paced and challenging. Floor two areas each have a boss monster of varying types. There’s Bug Mumma that has a devastating AOE acid attack, Red Dead Eye which is a bot monster and Shelldiver is an ungly blob monster that has a weak unarmoured side to it. Planning your movement path and turret placement becomes critical.

While we died often, even run was a learning experience. Back at the saloon we can have a read of Cartie’s Library which has a lot of lore but also allows you to see character quest paths and journal entries which might give you some ideas for your next run. There’s an outfit shop, you can purchase beverages from the cafe that give modifiers to your next run, listen to the band’s music, or upgrade and load up for another dungeon run. Being procedurally generated, every run feels different and so there’s great longevity with this game.

Overall, ENDLESS Dungeon can be challenging at times, especially as you head to each new floor for the first time, but the sense of progression is excellent with constant upgrades and various characters to unlock at the saloon. While you can play solo and strategise how to use the companions, we had much more fun playing co-op. It’s always satisfying to defeat a difficult boss or complete a particularly challenging run after several attempts. If you’re a fan of roguelite dungeon crawlers with a bit of tower defense strategy thrown into the mix, then you should definitely check out Endless Dungeon.

This review utilised Steam keys provided by Five Star Games and ENDLESS Dungeon will launch on October 19, 2023, on Steam, Epic Games Store, Xbox, PlayStation, and is coming soon to Nintendo Switch.


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