Usually I run the other direction when a game tells me upfront that by design I will lose over and over again. But in Dungelot, a terrifically addictive roguelike by Dimitry Mitrofanov, you will die, and that's okay. I guess you can't expect to take on hundreds of monsters by yourself and survive, now can you?
The goal is to see how deep you can delve into the dungeon. To start off, you'll choose a hero. Examine their special abilities and select the one you like best. You can always try a different one after your inevitable death. After you've chosen, the game board will appear and you'll see a locked dungeon door. Starting by the door and using just your mouse, click on a tile to flip it over. As you flip tile after tile, you'll reveal monsters and items or people that can help you. Monsters block your way, and you must defeat them to open up the board. The fighting system is simple. You can see how much health each monster has as well as how much damage they will do. Enemies will always strike first, so even if you can deal more damage, they will always get at least one hit in. Keep revealing the board and defeating the monster until you find the level key, which you can use to escape to the next level. Often you will find the key before the entire board is cleared. Then it is up to you to decide if it's worth it to stay and clear out enemies in hopes of finding treasure, or if you should just move on.
Levels get more difficult as you get deeper into the dungeon. You will find spells in treasure chests that can be used against most enemies. However, if you don't want to use the spell to attack, you can turn it into health points. Collecting red gems ups your starting HP, and you'll also find good old-fashioned money. Money is used in two ways. One is upgrading hero special abilities. This is a permanent bonus attached to a specific hero. Or you can spend coins in stores found in various levels of the dungeon. In stores you can purchase attack power or health, but these are temporary and disappear after you die.
Dungelot is great in its simplicity. Anyone can learn how to play in a matter of minutes. Game levels are random, so you'll never have the same run twice. It would be nice to have a little bit of info on the many monsters, as some have special abilities of their own. Aside from that, there's little to complain about. It's got that addicting just-one-more-time appeal. Add to that a little bit of strategy, a lot of randomization, and some fun artwork and you've got yourself a game that's hard to stop playing.
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