Dungeon of the Endless Review
Dungeon of the Endless is a rogue-like dungeon runner with a Sci-Fi bent and just a pinch of tower defense. You must make your way from your crash-landed ship through twelve levels of an alien dungeon while protecting your ship's crystal and moving it with you to the exit. Lose your entire team of explorers or lose the crystal to alien attack and it's game over - you'll have to start from the very beginning your next time around.
Each level is randomly generated and consists of a network of rooms separated by closed doors. The crystal has the capability to provide power to some but not all of the rooms. Rooms that are powered are lit and can be used to place automated defenses. Those that are not remain dark and serve as spawn points for alien creatures - the kind of hostile aliens that love to smash crystals. The basic goal is to find the exit to the next level, and then to move the crystal to that exit. You'll need to be careful before trying to move the crystal, though. One person will have to carry it and can't attack while doing so, a challenge when your party size is limited to no more than four members. Also, moving the crystal sends the alien spawning into overdrive, so if you haven't given some thought to which rooms you've powered on the path to the exit and where you've placed automated defenses then you could find your team overwhelmed long before you make it to the exit with the crystal.
Those defenses don't come for free, though. There's a basic resource that you'll collect that will allow you to power more rooms and the modules some of them contain that generate the game's secondary resources. The primary resource if always scarce, so you'll never have nearly enough to power everything that you'd like and you'll need to make some hard decisions. The secondary resources are industry which lets you build those defenses, science which lets you research improved defenses, and food, which is used to heal your party. These resources will always be in short supply as well, and you'll often have to make mutually exclusive decisions as to which resources you'll be able to generate in a level.
The last aspect of the game is modeled on RPGs. You begin each game by selecting two characters for your party from a small list of available adventurers. Each has their own unique set of attributes and special abilities, and you'll be best off selecting a pair that will complement your strategy for making it out of the dungeon. Speed is useful for getting the crystal to the exit quickly, but the strong but slow type will be more likely to survive long enough to get to the point at which you're ready to move the crystal. As you make your way through the dungeon you'll have the chance to recruit up to two more heroes, and you'll have the opportunity to improve their gear either by finding new items in the dungeon or by trading for them with a merchant (who are these people who set up shop in dungeons?).
If you're getting the feeling that there's a lot going on in the game and a lot to manage, you're right. There are a lot of factors to consider and mistakes are generally fatal. Even with careful planning and execution, you could lose everything with a quick downturn of luck. And that can happen at any point from the first to the last level, and the result is the same, game over. That's the first checkpoint for you - are you the type of gamer that will keep hammering at the game, developing different sets of strategies and failing often, until skill, perseverance, and a healthy heaping of luck result in your beating the game? Or will you tend to give up after a series of frustrating failures?
If you're still with us, then you'll probably have fun with the game, at least at first. Once you've spent a little time with it you'll see all that it has to offer, and all that remains is the drive to reach the final exit. Once you do, you'll certainly feel a sense of accomplishment, but probably won't have much desire to do it all again - there's not quite enough to Dungeon of the Endless to truly make it an endless source of entertainment. It's the kind of game you'll beat and then simply move on. If you're OK with that, the game is unique enough to warrant a look. If you like a little more replay value out of your games, though, you may want to look for something with a little more "endless" to the gameplay.
Final Rating: 70%. Not quite endless, but some gamers will have fun with it while it lasts.