I recently got a review copy of a super charming dungeon crawler that is being developed by a studio called Gambrinous, and published by Versus Evil, the company that published games like The Banner Saga, Toren, and the upcoming Armikrog and Bedlam. This game is called Guild of Dungeoneering. It is only for PC, and it’s a rather enjoyable game. But, how enjoyable is it? Are the dungeons filled with gold? Or should you just stay away from the monster-infested dungeons? Well, read on to find out, my potential dungeon-looting recruits!
There is really no story to the game. You run a guild, and you get recruits like bruisers, magicians, thieves, mimes, and so on. You go into dungeons, complete quests, get money, and that is pretty much it. Guild of Dungeoneering is a rogue-like dungeon-crawling RPG with cards. So, since the indie scene is full of rogue-like dungeon crawlers from Tower of Guns, to Rogue Legacy, what can this game do to differentiate itself from the vast ocean of rogue-like games? Does it do anything unique or innovative? In fact, it does! Well, it’s new to me. The big gimmick is that you don’t control the dungeoneering recruit. Instead, you create the dungeons around your recruit. The recruit will actually go wherever he/she wants. Your main goal is to basically loot, kill, find gear to kill faster, and complete the objective to gain gold to upgrade your guild. The objectives range from killing a big baddie, to finding three big loot chests. There is a huge variety of quests, and you won’t feel bored due to the randomized nature of the dungeons that you create. Of course, going in with only your wits and your fists won’t get you far. You need to fight monsters. These battles are done with cards that are different, depending on what class/recruit you choose. Did you choose a Bruiser? Be prepared to have more offensive cards. What about a thief? Be prepared to have cards that give you effects for an attack later. How about a mage? Throw some fire balls! You level up your character with gear that you find that will give you different abilities. Be careful though, if you choose to equip one piece of gear, you might lose some of the abilities that come with said gear/weapon. Getting through the dungeon and its dangers will all depend on what cards you choose, and how you traverse said dungeon that you, once again, create. Unfortunately, since this is a rogue-like, each time you die, you start back from the very beginning with your characters. This means you can’t take gear, that you complete dungeons with, back to the guild for other fighters. This simple and charming-looking game is rather complex, and you can get yourself a lot of dead dungeoneers if you are not careful.
The game’s artstyle, while simple, is really pleasant. The character art is cute, the monsters/bosses are adorable, and the whole drawn-with-a-pencil look gives the game some personality. The best part about the game’s presentation, besides the hand-drawn look of the overall game, is the soundtrack. The music in this game is so surprisingly epic. I mean, would you have thought a game with cute looking characters would have music that you would find in something like Lost Odyssey? It really was a treat to listen to the tracks. I would even take a minute from planning out my movements in the dungeon to listen to the music. I would love a CD or playlist of this game’s music. I also have to point out the snarky and not always rhyming bard that sings of your heroic victories and defeats. He is quite the slimy little bugger.
Anyway, what is wrong with this game? Well, I wish there was more to the game than simple dungeon-crawling and combat. The more I played, the more repetitive the game got, since all you do is enter the dungeon, complete the mission, get the gold, and repeat. It just seems like I am making no progress, or the progress gets a little too grind-focused. Why not have the different recruits get together and make hybrid baby recruits that have both good and bad abilities based on the pairing? Why not get more gold for later dungeons? I know there is an appeal to rushing to kill a boss, because if you get to them sooner than later, they will be in a weaker state, but it comes at the sacrifice of less gold.
In the end, these complaints are minor, because even though Guild of Dungeoneering can get repetitive and somewhat cheap at times, I found myself playing continuous hours of it. It’s a fun dungeon-crawler with some interesting twists on the formula. It’s on Steam right now for $15. I think this game would also do well on a tablet, mobile device, Vita, and Wii U, due to the simple PC controls. If you are a fan of the slightly over-flooded rogue-like genre, and want something a little different, then prepare yourself for some dungeoneering!
This game gets an 8 out of 10