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.
- And yes, I’m aware that by writing this I’ve just added this review to the list. ↩