Tag Archives: amplitude

Thoughts: Dungeon of the Endless

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Chances are that if you load up a review of Dungeon of the Endless — any review, doesn’t really matter which one — you will see, at some point, the words “tower defence” and “roguelike” in very close proximity to one another1. This is partially a reflection of DotE’s refusal to be pigeonholed; while it does indeed smoosh together some elements from both genres (you build towers to hold off waves of advancing baddies, but you also have a party of four characters who you outfit in looted equipment and level up as the dungeon progresses) into a single game, it also has some very interesting mechanics that have nothing to do with it being either a tower defence or a roguelike, and which can only be found in DotE. That it’s picked up those labels in spite of its unique qualities indicates that it’s been pigeonholed nevertheless, however, and I think that to describe it as a “roguelike tower defence” could end up misleading people. I certainly bounced off the surface the first time I played it because it wasn’t what I’d been led to expect – playing it like a roguelike simply didn’t work, and it didn’t seem quite tower-defencey enough (you start off with a grand total of one offensive tower, which doesn’t exactly promote strategy) to engage the strategy part  of my brain. It wasn’t until I gave it a second chance after Christmas and accepted it on its own merits — rather than cramming it into a niche where it didn’t fit — that Dungeon of the Endless really clicked for me.

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  1. And yes, I’m aware that by writing this I’ve just added this review to the list.
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Thoughts: Endless Legend

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Endless Legend is the fantasy-themed followup to 2012′s Endless Space, a space-based 4X that I quite liked, on the whole, but which had a whole mess of technical and stylistic issues. Endless Space was an obvious attempt to produce a worthy successor to Master of Orion, and so while this particular gap in the market got filled quite ably by Age of Wonders III earlier this year it would have been logical for Endless Legend to take a swing at modernising Master of Magic. This is why I was more than a bit surprised that under the fantasy trappings Endless Legend was much more of a traditional 4X in the vein of Civilization; it uses the fantasy1 elements as flavour and does deviate from formula when it comes to factions and cities, but there are several key elements that distinguish MoM-alikes from the wider 4X genre that are consciously missing from Endless Legend.

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  1. Actually technology indistinguishable from magic, since it’s set in the same universe as Endless Space.
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