Dungeon of The Endless (Switch) | Review

Dungeon of The Endless is but another PC-to-Switch port that features an entourage cast of prisoners crash-landing on a planet, deep within the confines of its sub-basement. With limited supplies and power, you gotta explore each room and transport a power crystal to the floor above, all the while fending off nasty monsters that respawn in unlit rooms. It mixes up rogue-lite dungeon-crawling with elements of real-time strategy and tower defense, with some light RPG elements relishing the dish. 

You’d best be ready to restart your game frequently, as you’re gonna fail fairly often at first. It’s not an easy title to delve into straight away, regardless of what the difficulty modes – those being ‘Easy’ and ‘Easier’ – seem to imply. In any case, before you pick from your cast of prisoners – each with their own stats, special abilities and limitations – you’ll be able to choose the vessel that you crash-landed in. These will include bonus perks and gameplay changers, though choosing anything but the default ship with no effects is best reserved for veterans of the game. Point in case, there’s plenty of customization on offer to help mix up each game.

Major module slots can fit resource amplifiers, so you can rake in more profits when you open doors on the current floor.

You start in a single room with a power crystal. This needs to be protected at all costs; losing that, or your crew, will result in a game over. As you unlock new rooms, you’ll acquire more resources to put towards creating turrets, researching better technology, leveling up your teammates, and so much more. The only way to generate these is by opening doors, so you can’t loaf around in order to get rich. To be fair, that can only be a good thing, as you’ll be actively encouraged to press onward without feeling like you gotta wait around for too long.

Micromanaging is an essential part of this one, though usually it’s nothing too daunting once you get the hang of it. For instance, keeping your rooms lit is important, as not only will it keep any and all gadgets going, but it’ll also prevent enemies from reappearing in the shadows, ready to rush at you in droves. Thankfully, toggling the power in each room requires a single button press for instantaneous results. While unlocking more rooms may increase the amount of power you can generate, chances are that you won’t always be able to light up the map like a Christmas tree, so it’s not gonna spoil things by being too forgiving.

While the soundtrack is a bit bland, the pixel art graphics are pretty good. 

Transporting the generator to the exit, once found, can be a real challenge. At that point, a huge wave of foes will appear, and you’re gonna be outnumbered and outgunned if you don’t have sufficient firepower or defenses deployed. Again, you’ll likely get completely mopped up on your first few attempts. This game seems to enjoy punting you into the deep end…

Being a title that revels in random generation, on occasions, you may stumble across rooms with chests, merchants, generators that offer a limited amount of buffs, new companions, and even machines that may kill or reward whoever activates it. These encounters are actually pretty uncommon, so chances are that the next room will probably contain something of minor interest, like some bonus resources or enemies. Some of the floors, as a result, can feel all too samey, with little to spice things up.

Biographies and pictures can be unlocked alongside new characters and ships. There are no challenges or milestones to ponder at, however.

A lack of an autosave feature certainly sours the experience. During one playthrough, the game crashed without reason or explanation, and thus I had to start from scratch. Another issue is the pathetic excuse of a tutorial, which basically forces you to follow a number of steps rather than explicitly tell you specific things you want to know. Skipped a detail by accident? Then you gotta do it all again during your current game, no matter how far you are in it (e.g. it starts by telling you to get a character to open a door, but if you’ve opened them all on the current level, then you’ll have to wait until you reach the next level).

Dungeon of The Endless is complex, tricky, and offers a challenging experience. Still, even with the random encounters that you’ll likely have, it’s going to feel pretty samey after a few levels in. It’s a shame, since the tower defense, base-building and micro-managing aspects of the title are handled pretty well here. You can get Dungeon of The Endless for half the price on PC, though the Switch’s touch-screen capabilities and ability to halt progress in sleep mode does help add some flexibility to the port, even if it’s missing an autosave feature. This dungeon’s worth exploring, even if it gets a bit tiresome part way in.


3 Stars

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