Procrastination Amplification: Punditry on MMOs and games in general.

Indie Spotlight: Dungeons of Dredmor

Inconsequentia, Goddess of Sidequests tasked me with slaying the Drinker of Mechanisms the other day. I fought my way through a slew of Diggles and Deths [sic] more by courtesy of my sparkly vampire powers than my rusty sword but then I succumbed to the powers of said Drinker of Mechanisms. Permanently.

Dungeons of Dredmor is a funny (and punny!) roguelike, full of nerdy references to other games and the odd bit of pop culture. You’ll be hard pressed to find a text in the game that is not meant to be a joke in some way or another. When you find one, it is very likely that you simply don’t get the reference. The game is also out to kill you (unless you play on the “Elves just want to have fun” mode) and will do so in a variety of creative ways. There are, of course, monsters who hate you (and will tell you as much) and traps that don’t really care who they are killing, but you can also die to all kinds of other effects. Drinking a solution of gold will make you literally crap gold, but apparently that hurts and if you do it at low health, you die.

This I actually one of the draws of the game and I feel like permadeath adds a lot to it. The game would lose much of its allure if you could just quicksave at every door and before you try out random effects. Furthermore, there is no story and it really doesn’t matter whether you start off all over again. Hopefully with a new, random, set of skills.

Speaking of skills, you get to choose 7 skill trees at the start of the game and then improve one of them on each level up. Their descriptions are incredibly vague and their power varies greatly. There’s Necronomiconomics, the study of undead economics, for example, and of course Archeology which not only makes you generally daring and roguish but starts you out with a fedora to boot!

Instead of choosing your skills, you can simply hit the random button and play a game with a random set of skills. Those can be rather awkward for sure, but there is a lot of fun in playing these oddball combinations. Sometimes they’ll be so bad that you won’t make it past the first room, while other combinations will let you plow through tons of monsters but then present you with rather large troubles when you meet a boss monster. Some will simply let you laugh at their stupidity, which is a fine result as well in my book.

Dungeons of Dredmor isn’t really a good game. In fact, there are a million things I could point out that would need to be improved for long term appeal and general good game mechanics. Nevertheless, the game is a lot of fun, can be played in short sessions, and is incredibly cheap on Steam. If you’re a fan of nerdy humour and RPGs, I don’t see how you can possibly go wrong with buying this game.

Oh, here is TotalBiscuit’s WTF if Dungeons of Dredmor if you need further incentives.