Dicey Dungeons, from Terry Cavanagh of VVVVVV and Tremendous Hexagon fame, is a roguelike deck-building dungeon crawler framed as a sport present offered by host Woman Luck. You play as one of many present’s six lovely contestants, all of whom are anthropomorphic cube, as a result of this sport actually is all-in on loving cube. However whereas the sport’s intelligent mixture of playing cards and cube make for an entertaining gameplay system, it might probably’t escape the occasional frustration that’s inherent to rolling a die.
In every episode your chosen die heads right into a six-level dungeon to defeat enemies, opening chests and visiting shops whereas increase a deck of playing cards able to defeating an finish boss. The dungeons are offered as a sequence of nodes you may transfer between, with retailers, health-restoring apples, and enemies positioned on a number of of them, and to progress you want to combat enemies and attain the node that options the lure door to the subsequent ground.
Every character can equip between three and 6 playing cards (you could have six slots in your stock display screen, and a few playing cards take up two of them), all of that are powered by cube. Every card requires one thing totally different; some are affected by how excessive the quantity on the die is, or have most or minimal numbers, or will solely take odds or evens. Nonetheless others may introduce results or buffs. A card may “shock” your opponent, for example, that means that certainly one of their playing cards might be locked subsequent flip except they spend a die to unlock it, or induce a “freeze” impact that reduces their highest cube roll right down to a 1. A great deck will allow you to be adaptable relying on what you roll, however there’s not an enormous variety of playing cards and enemies within the sport, that means that the identical ones will pop up frequently–10 hours in I’d nonetheless sometimes encounter one thing new, however not as typically as I’d have favored.
A captivating artwork model works wonders in glossing over this sense of repetition, nevertheless, with every character having a particular persona regardless of the sport being gentle on dialogue. And though their animations are restricted, the enemies are charming, too. The character designs and poses are constantly pleasant, so you will at all times really feel a little bit unhealthy taking down a direwolf pet due to the large grin on their face. The gameshow motif does not stretch that far, however the upbeat soundtrack and the little check-in scenes with Woman Luck earlier than every journey is an efficient manner of providing you with a way of objective.
The six characters every have a singular playstyle, which helps to present the sport some sense of selection. The thief copies certainly one of its opponents’ playing cards in every match, for example, and the inventor will at all times sacrifice certainly one of their playing cards on the finish of every combat in favor of a brand new means for the subsequent spherical, which might be activated simply by clicking on it with no need to fret about cube. Some get extra radical nonetheless, just like the witch, who assaults utilizing a “spell e book”–when you roll a die you may both spend it on one of many 4 spells you could have chosen in your display screen, or you may throw it on the spell e book in lieu of utilizing a capability and get whichever spell is assigned to that cube quantity. It is an awesome system as a result of every character feels utterly totally different, and whereas the central fight system of laying cube onto playing cards does not change, the mechanics by which you purchase these cube and playing cards do.
For the primary few hours, as you are transferring by the preliminary dungeons for every character and attending to grips with how they play, Dicey Dungeons is a delight, albeit one which’s gentle on problem. However as soon as you have performed a spherical as every of the primary 5 characters and unlock every character’s harder episodes, there is a steep issue curve to beat. Each introduces modifiers that make the sport extra challenging–you may lose well being as a substitute of gaining it each time you degree up, duplicate cube may instantly disappear, otherwise you’ll solely roll 1s in your first roll of a combat, 2s on the second, and so forth.
These episodes are the place you will actually begin to be taught the totally different methods and combos which are important to mastering Dicey Dungeons. Utilizing your Restrict Break means (a character-and-episode particular means that’s usable solely after you have taken a sure degree of injury) and ensuring that you simply’re making good use of buffs and/or debuffs are very important to success. After some time, you begin to determine which skills work greatest towards which enemies–freeze is especially helpful towards creatures that may solely roll a single die, for example, whereas shock is helpful if an opponent has few playing cards. Some enemies are additionally weak to specific components, so should you see an enemy in your degree who is weak to shock assaults, you may plan accordingly. You will want to recollect these particulars your self, although, as the sport is not going to remind you of an enemies’ skills and weaknesses till you are really within the battle.
Whether or not or not Dicey Dungeons turns into too troublesome after the preliminary episodes will rely in your persistence and your willingness to play by the identical eventualities repeatedly. It may really feel like butting your head towards a wall at occasions, although, as a result of if a single episode takes you a number of makes an attempt to beat (and lots of of them will), you’re going to finish up rolling by the identical enemies a number of occasions. You may check out totally different card combos, however it’ll be from the identical small pool of potential playing cards and going through off largely towards the identical enemies that acquired the higher of you final time. A loss can generally really feel out of your fingers, too, if an early enemy simply rolls too many sixes or the ultimate boss simply occurs to be resistant to the debuff you constructed your deck round.
However this additionally implies that determining and implementing a successful technique might be very satisfying. It took me six makes an attempt to beat the second episode for the Warrior (the simplest character), however as soon as I constructed a deck that was excessive on freeze playing cards I used to be capable of cope with the later enemies simply sufficient, even when the tip boss who was resistant to freezing virtually tripped me up (in the end I acquired fortunate on cube rolls). In a sport so closely themed round cube there’s at all times going to be a component of luck, which might be gratifying or exhausting relying on whether or not it goes your manner or not.
The attraction of Dicey Dungeons can begin to put on skinny if you’re caught, however if you bypass an episode that was providing you with grief, it feels nice. I discovered myself incessantly quitting out of the sport, pacing round my home, and returning to it once more 10 minutes later for an additional go. Irrespective of how irritated I would get, it is by no means troublesome to return again to Dicey Dungeons, and the challenges by no means really feel insurmountable–it’s at all times believable that your subsequent try might be the one the place you crack it. Dicey Dungeons is an enthralling and infrequently rewarding sport, so long as you be taught to just accept that generally the cube will not roll your manner.