The least intimidating Roguelike-like out there.
One of my favorite trends on iOS has been the release of lighthearted roguelikes, games that take elements of the famously punishing dungeon crawling genre and reduce them to a more simple form. Dungelot is one such game, and entirely removes player movement from the roguelike equation. While this makes the game feel lacking in some ways, it offers a simplistic way for those unacquainted with roguelikes to dip their toe into the genre.
Dungeolot, like most other roguelikes, is about delving deep into a dungeon. The game features permanent death, randomly generated dungeon floors, and plenty of player choice. Death isn’t quite so permanent in Dungelot, as you can make permanent upgrades to each class with gold earned during the play session. Instead of moving a character about the dungeon floor, the player flips tiles to reveal enemies, chests, and other items. If an enemy is revealed, the tiles adjacent to the enemy become locked until the enemy is defeated. This mechanic reminds me a bit of minesweeper, but there isn’t a good way to guess which tiles will contain an enemy.
Removing player movement makes the player even more dependent on random drops. If the player doesn’t encounter enough sword upgrades, for instance, combat becomes far too difficult. In a conventional roguelike, there is always the option of avoidance, throwing items, and kiting enemies around the dungeon. At some point in Dungelot you are forced to confront enemies to reveal the floor key. This isn’t a game-killer, in fact Dungelot provides plenty of powerups to help compensate for a potential lack of player strength.
Dungelot may appear to be too simple to some players, and those who go in guns blazing will quickly find that they won’t make it far. Players must still make tactical decisions about which enemy to take on, which powerup to use (and when) even though there is a high “luck” component to it all.
Dungelot should be applauded for its lack of a secondary in-game currency, and the inability for the player to purchase coins for real-world money. The developer must have made a conscious decision to not monetize the game outside of the initial cost, and has even made additional player classes available for free (something that would generally be paid content). I hope the decision to be a paid app without IAP pays off for the developer, because it certainly takes pressure off of the player.