Endless Dungeon: a more surprising roguelit than Hades? We played the next game from Amplitude Studios

After Humankind, Amplitude Studios and SEGA are working on their next title. Endless Dungeon was unveiled a while ago, and was contacted during a hands-on session. The opportunity for us to discover the spiritual sequel to Dungeon of the Endless and the least we can say is that there is a hell of a lot to say about it.

Hands-on on PC

After a presentation of the title in Amplitude Studios’ Paris premises, we were able to get our fingers in the building for OpenDev. OpenDev is a test session that is open to a certain number of players and that focuses on a specific point in the game (here the atmosphere and the basic mechanics). Despite spending more than two hours on the building, we actually had only a small glimpse of the Endless Dungeon. But between the atmosphere and the sensations of play, it is already enough to provide our first feedback.

Summary

  • Infinity: Begin a journey into space
  • Dungeon of the Endless: when the student surpasses the master
  • Multiplayer, roguelite … What remains to be seen

Infinity: Begin a journey into space

If the French studio Amplitude recently stood out with the game Humankind, it has for a few years now strived to build a complex universe paved with different titles: The Endless World. Endless Space 1 & 2, Endless Legend or Dungeon of the Endless have gradually forged this unique galactic universe built on the ruins of completely decimated civilizations. Endless Dungeon is, as the name suggests, a new entry into the Endless world and thus incorporates familiar elements, especially in terms of sound.

In the music for Endless Dungeon, we feel a certain resemblance to its predecessors. Truth be told, this is not particularly surprising, as it is still and always Arnaud Roy who was responsible for composing it all. In Endless Dungeon, his work is particularly highlighted, as the music is an integral part of the title’s atmosphere. Its presence is much more distinctive and engaging, which is a real pleasure for the ears, but also immersion.

In terms of art direction, it stands out from other Endless games. By choosing 3D dungeons (as opposed to Dungeon of the Endless), Amplitude has embarked on a major sacred project. The idea was to keep the DNA from the Endless games while offering deeper, more detailed and colorful AD. Whether it’s the characters’ animations or battles, games with shadow and light or the detailed decorations both dark and colorful, the bet is successful and it’s pleasant to get ahead in the dungeons or the central HUB.

As we talk about the latter, let’s take time to dwell on it. At the end of each race, it is in this disused space station that you return to rest. If we saw a very small part of this famous HUB, we still managed to fascinate ourselves. A meeting place, it allows you to discover the history of the game, its characters and their temperaments, with well-thought-out and at the same time quite cryptic short sentences.

According to the developers, the universe of Endless Dungeon was to be revealed sporadically over race and tours of the station. We only got a glimpse of it. It is therefore difficult to develop a clear opinion about it, even though what we saw had the benefit of arousing our curiosity.


Dungeon of the Endless: when the student surpasses the master

Endless Dungeon: a more surprising roguelit than Hades?  We played the next game from Amplitude Studios

In terms of gameplay, however, it is much easier for us to project ourselves. As a reminder, Endless Dungeon mixes elements of roguelite and tower defense. Specifically, the goal is to reach the end of procedurally generated dungeons while resisting regular waves of enemies, thanks to shots from your characters and the towers that you must strategically place. If you need to be careful with your own life points, you will first of all need to protect your crystal. Without it, you will not be able to open the exit door, and its destruction will mark your defeat. To help you, some parts will allow you to get new weapons, character enhancements or even resources. To keep the length, you need to handle the latter as well as possible.

It’s starting to be a lot of information, and yet we provide only the most essential. Endless Dungeon is not really an easy game to download. There are a lot of mechanics to take into account, and although some are clearly presented throughout the exercise, you will discover others as you play. Note that the balance between what is explained and what is not is well found, allowing the game to offer progressive learning without being frustrating. It must be said that Amplitude Studios has already succeeded in proving itself in this field, and that its raison d’être was precisely to develop demanding games, which we make less and less of.

But with Endless Dungeon, we feel a desire to open up to a new audience, to be a little more accessible. This involves in particular a planned release on consoles and the controller compatibility that comes with it. The gameplay for this purpose has first been optimized on the controller, and it must be said that it works surprisingly well despite a friendly fairly identified keyboard / mouse. For availability, the game should also offer small bonuses that can be unlocked over time. race. The idea is not to make the game easier, but rather to allow players to modulate the way they play. So if these elements will allow some to give themselves small benefits, they may allow others to inflict handicaps to complicate it all a bit. It remains to be seen how this mechanic will be balanced in the game.

Endless Dungeon: a more surprising roguelit than Hades?  We played the next game from Amplitude Studios

From what we have at least seen, the balance is almost perfect for the rest. The feeling of progression is there and very noticeable, making the many deaths bearable. We will return immediately to fight after learning from our mistakes and understanding the details of this hybrid gameplay. Between action and tactics, Endless Dungeon will only reveal its full secrets to ambidextrous players. If you try to force through in a really bad way, or if you just place towers everywhere, you will never get to the end of the dungeon.

On the action side, it is at the level of control of the characters that it happens. Every race travels at the head of a team of one, two or three heroes. Everyone has their own weapons, special attacks and their own way of fighting. In addition to the basic shots and the classic system of twin stick shooteryou can change weapons in the middle of a battle (to adapt to the type of enemy, for example) and launch your special attack when it is charged. It is also possible to change character quite easily. Suffice it to say that during the battles there is nothing to get bored of, especially as the enemy waves become more and more violent. Note that these are triggered during specific events, but also after a certain time. The pressure therefore never really decreases and gives the game a particularly sustained rhythm.

As for the tactical side, it is of course based on the installation of towers (three different types), but also on the management of resources (major dilemmas in perspective) and the locations of your teammate. There are many elements to consider, too many to mention here, but know that everything is well done and allows Endless Dungeon to offer particularly deep and interesting gameplay. Note that if you play in multiplayer, the tactical side will be reduced, leaving room for more action, but also communication and decision making. (shared resources, opening doors, placing towers, etc.) just as interesting. Again, this is one of the things we could not test with this build but discussed with the developers.


Multiplayer, roguelite … What remains to be seen

There are two major points in the last game that we have not been able to experience, the first is what is mentioned just above: multiplayer. Amplitude Studios makes it a point of honor to collect and take into account community opinions. Precursors to early access, they have now chosen their own system: OpenDev (starting June 30 for the premiere). The idea is to allow future players to try out a specific aspect of the game for a given period of time and then provide feedback to the studio that will customize the game accordingly. The desire to make Endless Dungeon a game optimized for multiplayer comes from the feedback that had been received after the release of the very good Dungeon of the Endless. The multiplayer will thus form one of the cornerstones of the title and should make it possible to explore a completely different gameplay. We are therefore very curious to know more about it.

Endless Dungeon: a more surprising roguelit than Hades?  We played the next game from Amplitude Studios

Another unknown but important element: the roguelite side. We definitely started the “same” over and over again race, but without ever seeing the elements held from one to the other and making it possible to move on over the tests. It is at the HUB level that this will happen. Between each raceyou can get cocktails and other small improvements gathered under your race. The idea is to plan the next one thanks to the restored elements to facilitate your task.

Among other things, the development team also mentioned an easier mode that allows us to discover the story of the title without worrying too much, small quests specific to each hero and an AI that should become a little more autonomous in the future. As you probably understand, the development of Endless Dungeon is far from over. No release date on the horizon, but you can of course go to the site dedicated to the game and its forums for regular Endless Dungeon news.

On our part, we are particularly curious to see what happens next. Hard to form a definite opinion at the moment as there are still shadows. But in light of what has been shown to us, the game has more than solid gameplay and a captivating universe, all carried by a team that has ideas and exudes the desire to do well. And the least we can say is that it seems determined to deliver a project that is more ambitious, more accessible, more complex and more original than ever. Suffice it to say that if you’re a fan of the genre or even a little curious, it’s better to keep an eye on the Frenchmen’s next baby from Amplitude Studios.

Endless Dungeon: a more surprising roguelit than Hades?  We played the next game from Amplitude Studios

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