I decided that roguelikes probably weren’t the genre for me when I played, and did not enjoy, The Binding of Isaac. Disliking what is widely regarded as the pinnacle of the genre suggested that roguelikes and I would never get along, which is why I am surprised by how much I love the Filipino game Dungeon Souls. Dungeon Souls is fantasy action roguelike that sees the player resurrect a classic fantasy hero and delve into the depths of a very populated dungeon. The goal is to see how far you can get without dying.

That may sound easy enough Dungeon Souls is maddeningly difficult, which is unsurprising given that it’s name is obviously homage to From Software’s infamously tough Souls series, but even I managed to complete the second boss in every Souls game. I have had no such luck with Dungeon Souls thus far.

Classic RPG fused with modern madness

Dungeon Souls’ strongest features is its variety of playable fantasy characters. There’s a whole host of melee and ranged characters to choose from, each with their own abilities and statistics. Playing as two melee characters offers two completely different experiences; the barbarian packs some serious frenzied action whereas the knight is more focused and tactical.

The characters’ different abilities vary greatly, from powering up default attacks to healing to simply doing massive damage. Basically, whatever your style there’s a character for you, and if you fancy even more of a challenge you can try some of the harder-to-master characters like the cleric. One of the best features of this game is the fact that you can set your character to random so that every time you die to restart as a random character. It almost felt like playing Smash Bros. on random and figuring out how to master all the different moves.

Admittedly there are only three attacks per character, but figuring out how and when to use them is far from simple. More characters unlock as you make your way through the game and some of them seem less capable than others. I suspect that the wizard must be useful to a skilled player but to me he’s just useless because he can’t aim for shit!

All that being said, you probably shouldn’t take any of my advice as I am yet to graduate to the third stage.

Level up and loot

There’s a plethora of loot littering the dungeons which can either be bought from merchants, liberated from chests, or snatched from the slain. This can be anything from a minor defense boost to drastically upgrading your attacks. At one point my barbarian was equipped with weapons that fired out whirlwinds and caused enemies to explode. It was as awesome as it sounds. There are also plenty of defensive items like hovering shields or mystical turrets that blast randomly at enemies around you. A lot of this does feel familiar to The Binding of Isaac, but the drops are far more consistent and the weaponry way more diverse. Give me an exploding axe over magic tears anyday.

Of course it wouldn’t be an RPG if you couldn’t level up, and you’ll be doing a lot of it if you can survive long enough. Every level gives you a point to upgrade your stats and every few levels you can upgrade one of your skills. This allows you to subtly shift the nature of your character depending on the tactics that you take. Truth be told, the increase is so small to begin with I suspect that I would need to survive a lot longer for the leveling up to actually have much of an impact on my character.

Early Access with polish

Dungeon Souls is in Early Access meaning that there’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s perfectly enjoyable in its current state. Early Access has a reputation for being a dumping ground for games that are unfinished, little more than tech demoes, or flat out broken. and it’s a well deserved reputation. Dungeon Souls is not one of these games; it’s fully functioning, looks great, and the updates improve rather than fix.

In fact since I got the game a little over two weeks ago, I’ve actually enjoyed watching the developers add new features, different characters, and improve certain systems. Whenever an update goes live I want to check it out, not because the game was faulty but because I want to see what improvements have been added. Mike Studios have done a great job of balancing Early Access and they deserve some serious credit for that because this is a game that is worth the $9.99 price tag now, and is only getting better.

Dungeon Souls is available on Steam.

[ Source: www.HaoGamers.com ]

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