Apogee’ Assessment – A Lovely Sport, however Not for Everybody – TouchArcade

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Some video games are good. Actually good, even, and you realize you’ll play them for hours and hours. Different video games perhaps want a bit of labor, a little bit of spit & polish, they usually may be good. Then there are some video games I actually wish to love and revel in and advocate however, for one motive or one other, I simply… can’t. Dungeon of the Countless ($7.99) is a type of. Not as a result of it’s dangerous, however as a result of it simply… doesn’t seize my consideration, can’t maintain me coming again for run after run, even after months of not taking part in. It’s not instantly apparent why, both—the artwork is attractive, the soundtrack is nice, and the minute to minute gameplay is kind of satisfying too. So what’s it? Why, regardless of proudly owning the sport on three totally different platforms and attempting to get into it dozens of instances, does it persistently fail to attract me in, push me to essentially dig in to methods, and at last beat the sport? The reply, I’ve come to search out, is straightforward: The post-run reward loop that will get you to come back again for another flooring, to experiment with that factor you simply unlocked, or to see if tweaking your technique simply so makes the distinction, simply… isn’t there.

Now, to backtrack, Dungeon of the Countless, if that is the primary you’ve heard of it, is a roguelike tower protection. Gamers select a crew of two prisoners and an escape pod, and should ascend by way of twelve flooring of a dungeon full of quite a lot of overly enthusiastic protection forces, in addition to different prisoners (who will be recruited), and retailers (who’ve quite a lot of items to commerce). Luckily, in some glimmer of perception, somebody designed the escape pods to incorporate blueprints for each useful resource mills and turrets, and a cell energy provide to get ’em working. As well as (as if that wasn’t sufficient), the prisoners themselves are fairly succesful fighters, and a few are even capable of function or restore the buildings as properly.

Mixing and matching prisoner skillsets, determining methods to maximise their impact, in addition to managing sources—business, science, meals, in addition to mud (energy)—are the basics of climbing flooring. Some prisoners are nice fighters, ranged or melee, whereas others are rather more suited to aiding from the again with group buffs, or just boosting useful resource manufacturing. Whereas, strategically talking, managing these characters will take up the majority of a participant’s consideration (with opening doorways, monitoring their well being swimming pools, utilizing skills, and ensuring they aren’t getting swarmed), they’re truly solely the second most necessary a part of most methods. Extra necessary by far, not less than by way of surviving when you seize the crystal, are buildings—or modules.

Modules are what make Dungeon of the Countless a tower protection. They’re the useful resource mills, the protection methods, and a bunch of different miscellaneous constructs that require business to construct, energy to function, and the proper of room to assist them. They make up the spine or, in the event you favor, the provision practice, of your climb to the floor. Determining the most effective rooms to fortify, which rooms are secure sufficient for mills, and which rooms are greatest powered and left alone, takes a little bit of observe and plenty of error, however makes a giant distinction not solely in clearing a flooring, however surviving the onslaught if you attempt to depart. See, after you seize the crystal, enemies spawn in each unpowered, unoccupied room… always. Taking the time to arrange a properly defended escape route can imply the distinction between a clear exit and the tip of a run.

It seems like quite a bit to handle, and it’s, but it surely isn’t cumbersome in play. Not after the primary few runs, anyway. There’s a somewhat steep studying curve because the tutorial gives solely the barest steerage, leaving as a lot as doable for gamers to find on their very own. Which is okay, preferable, even. Typically. When issues that in all probability may have (and may have) been coated within the tutorial crop up and throw a wrench within the works, although, it’s a royal ache. Regardless of that, I wouldn’t have it some other method, as the method of discovering interactions, figuring issues out, and even googling for meta data, is all a part of a roguelike’s appeal.

Now, the query is whether or not it’s higher on iOS or… properly, the rest. The reply… isn’t truly that clear. It’s a very good port, and it performs very properly on each iPhone and iPad. The UI is properly designed, and the tower protection gameplay lends itself properly to a touchscreen. The one actual draw back, I believe, is that it doesn’t have the hotkeys of the PC model, however that isn’t a lot of a draw back actually. The opposite two platforms—console and Change—every have their very own advantages, however the one actual competitor is the Change and, between the 2, iOS has the Change beat so far as I’m involved. The iPhone is simply as transportable if no more transportable than the Change, and the iPad has an even bigger display. The one factor it doesn’t have, so far as I can inform, is controller assist. That, nonetheless, can simply be patched in later.

Whereas the gameplay stands out as the main draw and the way individuals consider a recreation, the most effective a part of Dungeon of the Countless for my part is, bar none, the artwork. Merely put, it’s attractive. Every panel tells a narrative, drawing its viewers somewhat deeper into the environment and world of the Countless, pushing them to interact and marvel as to its place within the broader world. Whereas that world isn’t ever totally fleshed out (by design, thoughts; a full world full of tales has few mysteries), it’s a fascinating place to dwell for a time. Nonetheless, the artwork I so admire will not be totally realised in gameplay, as a substitute used for example backstories, loading screens, and idea artwork. In recreation, pixel artwork is used as a substitute—pixel artwork that, I have to say, can also be lovely—which is considerably disappointing. Regardless that it’s lovely, charming, and in keeping with the style, it simply doesn’t have fairly the identical aptitude, the identical mystique, because the illustrations.

Whereas I like the artwork, and I get pleasure from taking part in the sport… it has flaws. This isn’t the primary time I’ve performed it, and I doubt will probably be the final, however I nonetheless can’t sit and play it like I do Useless Cells. The explanation, I’ve come to grasp, is as a result of it doesn’t have the identical suggestions loop if you fail a run. Once you lose (and you’ll, many instances), that’s it. There often aren’t new prisoners to begin with, or new escape pods that give a run a novel twist, or new weapons, or upgrades or, or, or… or something. You simply begin over with two prisoners and the expertise you’ve gained as a participant, and check out once more. It’s brutal, and I admire it for that, but it surely’s additionally very unrewarding to maintain taking part in, attempting many times, and so hardly ever getting rewarded to your efforts. It’s Dungeon of the Countless’s best flaw, and it’s why, regardless of coming again many times, I can’t play it for greater than three or 4 runs at a time.

I like Dungeon of the Countless. I benefit from the technique of managing characters, clearing the dungeon room by room, flooring by flooring; determining which sources are most necessary this flooring, which rooms to energy and which to bolster; and I like the artwork and sound design. It’s all very properly finished, and makes for a really satisfying expertise. Due to that, I wish to give it a complete hearted advice for anybody and everybody who enjoys roguelikes and tower defenses and technique video games. I want I may—however I can’t. It’s lacking one thing and, with out it, I don’t assume it’s as replayable because it may, perhaps even ought to, be. With out it, it’s a tough roguelike to get into.

To be clear, Dungeon of the Countless is gorgeous, enjoyable, and crunchy sufficient to maintain you in your toes. Additionally it is brutally punishing, and totally impenetrable for anybody who isn’t keen to maintain attempting after spending hours attending to the brink of success, and failing with little to nothing to indicate for it due to one thing totally out of your management. If that doesn’t deter you… give it a shot. It could be your type of recreation; and even when it isn’t, it could nonetheless be value it, in the identical method it was for me.

 

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