Preview: Dungeons of Dredmor

By: Alehkhs

On: May 20th, 2011

Gaslamp Games‘ roguelike title Dungeons of Dredmor is nearing release, bringing with it fresh hand-drawn graphics, a sharp sense of humor reminiscent of LucasArts/Telltale Games point-and-click adventures of old, and the great roguelike tradition of randomized worlds filled with all variety of beast and bounty for the player to encounter.

Oftentimes shunned for their unintuitive interfaces and alphabet-soup graphics, I usually feel a bit apprehensive about recommending roguelike games to people I don’t know, but having gotten my hands on a recent beta version of Dungeon of Dredmor, I can say that this is one roguelike I can recommend to both players new to the genre, and veterans looking for a new addiction. Check out the trailer above for a look at the gameplay, and hit the jump if you want to hear about my time exploring the Dungeons of Dredmor.

Upon beginning a new game in Dungeons of Dredmor (selecting the difficulty “Dwarvish Moderation,” for my first game), I began perusing the list of skills I could select from for my character. Looking over them, they began normal enough; Swords, Axes, Archery, Unarmed, but then my eyes came upon such skills as Fleshsmithing and Mathemagic. This could be interesting… I made a mostly random selection, clicking on some of the less-traditional skills, skimmed the intro/background text, and dove into the dungeons.


The first thing I noticed was the interface at the bottom of the screen, which will be instantly familiar to anyone who has played Diablo or similar games (derived from traditional roguelikes, what would you know). Entirely clickable or assignable to hot-key and filled with helpful mouse-over info, it also has a trait seemingly borrowed straight from Doom: directly in between my health and my mana bars is my character’s face, scowling and glancing from side to side and, as I would soon find out, acting as a display of my current health.

I open the door to my left, and see a small creature that I am informed is a “diggle.” Well, this is kind of cute, I thought as I saw other diggles enter the screen from further into the room, shouldn’t be too difficult. And that was the death of my first character.

Next character, an alchemist with a crossbow, takes a bad hit a few rooms into the dungeon and decides to drink what must be a health potion in his inventory (red = health, right?). That adventurer died soon after when the acid melted away his stomach. Oh, maybe I was supposed to mix it with some of the other beakers in my inventory…

After only a few more tries, and a few more dead adventurers, I finally started to figure it out, and was soon marching through the halls, slaying diggles left and right (little squeaky bastards). Make no mistake, Dredmor is not a “simple” roguelike. Unlike many roguelikes though – and besides the aforementioned clickable interface – it boasts beautiful, hand-drawn graphics: your character stomping around not unlike a Mr. Threepwood, spells causing bursts of smoke and flame, creatures of all sizes, shapes, and colors shambling towards you. The effort put into the art of the game is astonishing, and one can tell that the project is truly a labor of love for its creators.


Another area in which the game provides more than the standard roguelike experience is in its humor. With every item and creature having an informative mouse-over entry, there is a good amount of text, and the developers took it upon themselves to make it worth your time to read it, if not only to inform you, but to get a good laugh or two as well from a bad pun or a witty, self-aware comment or a sudden, unexpected Mortal Kombat-style voice-over. Even the general atmosphere of the game blew my mind in its wackiness: wait, there is a god-shrine to the Lutefisk God?! And you’ll know you need better armor when you’re either constantly gobbling down one of the game’s 10 varieties of life-giving cheese or using a bucket or a safety-cone as a helmet.

But aside from the overall charm of the game, does Dungeons of Dredmor still maintain focus and have a good gameplay system? Yes. And I think this is what roguelikes have needed now for years to bring in fresh new players: a shiny, humorous, and unique coat built atop of the proven gameplay of the genre. Beyond the alchemy system (that I’ve still yet to master), Dredmor also boasts a forging and crafting/smithing system for armor and weapon creation, a tinkering system for the creation of traps, several schools of magic, each with its own costs and benefits, and much more. The amount of replayability this game offers for the player to simply go back through with a new character to experiment and mess around with (and undoubtedly laugh about) a new set of skills is amazing.

Hopefully I’m right, and this draws in people who before now have shied away from roguelikes, but regardless, I’ll be waiting anxiously to dive back into the Dungeons of Dredmor

Game Site

  • Lekon

    Krong is pleased! All praise to Krong and the reviewer!

    Ingame jokes aside, the game is a blast to play, and when it releases, there will be several new fans of the Roguelike Genre, and several people screaming obscenities at little penguin like monsters with big noses.

  • Guest

    They say there are chances to win free copies, but how much is it going to cost the rest?

    I don't really foresee anyone who doesn't like roguelikes paying for this one to see if it's more accessible.

    And personally as a hardened roguelike veteran I'll just stick to the myriad of free ones.

  • alastair_jack

    The UI background looks nice.

  • Ben McGraw (Grue)

    Any game where you can convert any item into Lutefisk is a good game in my book.

  • Brian Critser

    Congratulations you have died! I saw that a little more than 20 times before I really started making progress in level 1. It was great too. I kept checking out the different skills and see what they would do until I found the skills/spells that I liked best and they game was kicking my butt. It's been great this past month with this game and Witcher 2 giving me an actual challenge for once.

    I'm still pretty new to roguelikes. I've only been playing ADOM, Rogue Survivor, Stone Soup, Legerdemain and a few others for a few years now…..Now that I think about it I am a vet :) I just consider myself a newb because I haven't completed one all the way through yet, but I don't cheat with spoilers or any of that other nonsense so it takes me a heck of a lot longer.

    I was really surprised by how difficult it was at first. I expected to be able to kill everything and anything in sight because I was so used to RLs and other commercial roguelikes like 100 rogues or Epic Dungeon. Those are nothing when compared to ADOM or Stone Soup, but this one has all the addiction of a game like DoomRL or even ADOM with the added bonus of the interface, graphics and humor. Sorta a Quest for Glory for roguelikes if Quest for Glory was out the beat the pants off of you.

    Granted it is not as complex as some of the others that have been around for years, but it is more complex than any other commercial Roguelike I've seen and the skills are rather unusual. Some are your basic skills like sword and duel weapons, but then they also have skills like the school of  magic necronomiconomics, fleshcraft or Golemancy (all three are a must for my mage. I love my sanguine blobby summon :))

    With sixteen different damage types, six different types of crafting, tons of skills to choose from and all of the things that were mentioned in the preview this game is going to be played for quite a while.

    As far as I know the price of the game will be more than 10 dollars. They'll announce the price closer to the actual release of the game.

  • Gaslamp Games

    The price will actually be *less* than ten dollars. — Nicholas at Gaslamp

    (Incidentally, we will be lurking in this thread for a bit. If you folks have any questions, don't hesitate to ask.)

  • Negative 0

    Those eyebrows…so mesmerizing.

  • Ben McGraw (Grue)

    Every time I load up the game I think of FLCL.

  • Luke Cassar

    this looks incredible…

  • Lekon

    I keep expecting there to be some secret attack where the brows are used as a weapon.

  • offal

    will there be a toggle for that upscaling filter :x

  • Banana

    I love it

  • Guest

    I second that, I personally can't stand the upscaled/2xsai or whatever look. It ruined Dark Void Zero.

    I just really want to enjoy and support this game, it looks great.

  • Craig Lewin

    This really does look quite lovely.  Given that RLs are somewhat of a niche genre, I hope that there's a demo to snag folks.  Even for the under-$10 price range, a demo would be very much appreciated.

  • offal

    nah Dark Void Zero was full on bicubic smoothing; the art in that game was ugly as fuck. even't 2xsai isn't nearly that bad

  • Guest

    I'm a nearest-neighbour kind of guy, I hope I'm not a dying breed.

  • ecto

    why does the main character look like a dorky kid?
    otherwise it looks kinda fun..

  • Laserdracula


  • anthonyflack

    “one can tell that the project is truly a love-child of its creators.” …uh, that's not what a love child is. O_O

    But, eyebrows-the-size-of-postcards aside, this looks pretty cool.

  • Guest

    I'd still prefer text graphics.   I mean why are all the enemies dancing?!  Well, at least it's not a 2 frame animation.

  • Guest


  • Stij

    This is the first new roguelike in a while that I've been truly excited about. Definitely gonna try it once I get a chance.

  • Alehkhs

    Haha! Oh my! Well, that's what I get for writing this in a dark bus using primarily my phone…

    Fixed now.

  • Rawrwar

    The guy sprite reminds me of Guybrush…. and I hated Guybrush *shrugs*

    Hope it's worth it.

  • Banana

    I loved guybrush! >:-|

  • Beel the Bub

    That'll be my next favourite game.