I just had my most exciting round of Desktop Dungeons. I went with a Halfling Thief as my character. Halflings can convert skill glyphs into health potions and thieves recover both health and mana from potions. I made an extra effort to slay high-level monsters early on for the experience boost, so when it was time to fight the boss (a powerful level 10 wizard named Aequitas who had a cool beard), I was a pretty respectable level 9. As a thief, my first attack always did 30% more damage, so I buffed myself and attacked, then tried my best to finish him off with a fireball skill. But GRRRRRR damn it, it wasn’t enough! We were both one hit away from dying, and I was out of mana and potions… a hopeless situation. I got ready to hit the “Retire” button and try again.
BUT WAIT! My buff skill! I almost forgot that I could convert the glyph into a potion. It provided just enough mana to launch the final fireball I needed to defeat Aequitas and unlock a new character class (Rogue) and a new monster (Gorgon). Very satisfying!
Rodain “Nandrew” Joubert, the creator of Desktop Dungeons, says his game was based on roguelikes like Crawl, but it plays more like a randomized puzzle game. For one thing, monsters in the game don’t move – they simply sit and wait for you to attack or ignore them – and their level and stats are displayed in plain view (in fact, pretty much all the information you need is). Also, the entire dungeon is just a single screen small, making it feel more like you’re exploring a chess board than the Mines of Moria.
Even at version 0.04, this is a crafty and addictive game – easy to play (mouse-only) with a surprising amount of variety and strategy in what is a relatively small number of races, classes, and skills (compared to most roguelikes). It goes by quickly, too – each game shouldn’t take more than 10-30 minutes, depending on how hard you’re thinking about it. And if the rough graphics bother you, you should take heart that the next version should allow you to use your own custom tileset (personally, I think they’re fun). Great entertainment – I can’t wait to play again.
TIGdb: Entry for Desktop Dungeons