Robot Loves Kitty

Do not try new potions near lava: the endearing and terrifying 26 floors of Legends of Dungeon

Do not try new potions near lava: the endearing and terrifying 26 floors of Legends of Dungeon

26 is a fun number. It’s not too high, but it’s also far from low. It seems attainable. You can eat 26 pieces of candy. You can get a few friends together to drink 26 beers. The titular dungeon in Legend of Dungeon has 26 floors. You need to go down, get your loot, and come back up. That’s it.

26 begins to feel much more scary as you begin to realize that anything could be down there, and you’ll have to fight, explore, and collect your way through it. You only get one shot, this is another in currently long line of rogue-likes where every attempt is a self-contained adventure. You carry nothing back from each attempt, except the sharp stench of failure.

But don’t let that stop you.

Pixel power

Legend of Dungeon raised $32,000 after asking for $5,000 in a Kickstarter at the end of last year, and has now been released on Steam for $9.99. You can play with up to four friends locally. The game features good controller support, and it comes alive when you invite some friends over to work your way through the dungeon.

The game is built with pixel art, so you get that nice retro feel to the graphics, but the team at Robot Loves Kitty also slathered on real-time lighting and a bunch of other neat effects to make the graphics pop. It’s a fun mixture of something that looks classic while featuring many of the bells and whistles you see in modern games, and the lighting effects, especially in the dark areas of the dungeon, are impressive to behold.

The game is filled with hats, potions, weapons, and other fun surprises, and you’ll often be in the (literal, figurative) dark until you actually take a big drink from one of the mysteriously named containers, or put on one of the increasingly goofy hats. It could help you, or it could just make you vomit a rainbow. There is only one way to find out.

“Do not try new potions near lava,” the game’s guide warns. Truer words, my friends, have never been spoken.

The game isn’t all unicorn farts though, as learning the timing and spacing to do well with the combat is a little bit of a chore, but you can chalk that up to getting comfortable with each weapon. The game is described as a dungeon brawler, so be aware of how important combat mastery is to your survival.

The hats you wear also change the attributes of your character, and the dungeons are of course procedurally generated. While that may be expected, the game’s music is also procedurally generated, made up of 244 that are mixed and matched to create something new and interesting every time you play.

Legend of Dungeon fits into a somewhat crowded collection of genres, and there isn’t one big difference that helps set the game apart from its peers, but the graphics, emphasis on brawling, creativity, and fun of playing with three friends on the same system help offset the lack of a single distinguishing feature. This is a game with a strong idea of self, executed well. There’s very little fat to it, and many fun things to find and explore.

Hell, the game's first screen, where you can change your character by walking into the different bathrooms (and meet the pixelated development team or Kickstarter backers,) is brimming with personality and care. It's also the last moment you'll have to relax and feel safe, so enjoy it for a moment before you enter the dungeon.

26 levels down, and 26 levels up. Do you think you have it in you?