Dicey Dungeons, the new game from VVVVVV creator Terry Cavanagh, was a unique game that stood out at PAX East this year. What started out as a HTML5 browser game has turned into a fleshed out roguelike dungeon crawler.
With art by Marlowe Dobbe and music by Chipzel, Dicey Dungeons’ style really shines. The game plays out like a game show where your character, an adventurer turned into an anthropomorphic die. You descend down six levels, each with stronger enemies and more complex level layouts all culminating in a boss battle at the bottom. Enemies are varied in their design, from wizards and space marines to snowmen and vacuums, each with their own distinct gameplay mechanics.
You start by choosing one of six RPG class archetypes: Warrior, Thief, Robot, Jester, Inventor and Witch. Once inside the dungeon, you choose your path to make your way to the stairs down to the next level. Along the way are one on one battles with enemies, shops where you buy upgrades with your gold form defeated enemies, health recover items and treasure in the form of new card abilities or chances to upgrade your existing cards via forges.
One interesting mechanic is you have an active set of cards and a backpack of extra cards. Only so many cards can be active at a time which leads to editing your cards and making potential combos out of what you you’ve plundered thus far. Each new card you find or upgrade to an existing card has you wanting to rework your active deck and strategies. A very cool game component indeed.
Ranging from the warrior on the low end of the difficulty scale to the jester on the high end, each character has a individual play style. The thief gets to steal a random enemy card every turn, the Witch creates a spellbook to summon powerful cards and the Robot gains dice by playing a push-your-luck blackjack game. On top of that, each of the six playable characters has multiple scenarios to complete.
Our playthrough at PAX and our time playing after the show has us super excited for this game. It’s a very unique concept and has enough variety to keep you busy for a while. We’re certain more tweaks and content will be added before the launch to.