Saturday, 29 January 2011

Indie Game of the Week: Desktop Dungeons

Well I decided to start a little column about the indie games I generally find myself burning a few candles down with. I'm not always meaning huge indie games but very often my favourite are much smaller and just flash based or a few megs in size while some can be highly professionally done such as Amnesia or Gratuitous Space Battles.

Desktop Dungeons is a game I've played a lot recently. It's currently completely free while they develop a commercial release. It's a tiny download without any need for an installer and it's setup in a way that you only need to put aside 5-10 minutes at most to run a dungeon - perfect for a coffee break.

The basic premises is similar to the Rogue style games but done in a more graphically appealing way. You start off with one of four classes and one of four races, as you complete a dungeon (not as easy as it may seem) you unlock more items from shops, more classes, more races, more dungeons and more challenges. It has an almost perfect level of "Gah, just one more shot!!!" to get that next class unlocked. It's entirely simple on the outside, kill monsters to level up, get powerful enough to kill boss monster at the end but if you want to spend more time thinking about it or looking deeper into the game it will also reward you and make harder challenges more easy when you figure out certain combinations or actions.

Game play is simple, use the mouse to move to a location by clicking, or use the number pad (you can move at a diagonal), as you uncover new areas you regenerate health and mana as well as discovering monsters, spells, items and shops. Part of the games cunning mechanic though is that you only naturally regain health and mana when you uncover a new area so the unexplored areas are essential to use as a resource to recover from battles, without careful management of your surrounding area you won't get past the difficult challenges. However it's all done in such a way as to become very natural after a few games.

It's been nominated at the Independent Games Festival so you can see how much it's been looked at and admired by its peers. Though lets be honest, everyone has the time to download a 4meg file and spend 10 minutes on a wonderful wee game which if you let it will quickly become an amazing thing to play. Go out, download it (it's free!) and enjoy a little thing to waste your time with. You won't regret it.

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