No one can ever truly be quite sure why heroes are so utterly-determined to plumb the depths of dangerous dungeons, even despite the potential monetary-gains to be found within. With death just waiting around every corner — either by burning, falling, skewering, or whatever else might have you — these people would clearly be far wiser to stay at home, rather than searching these nasty crypts for every last coin. Thankfully for us — however — they’ve decided to endlessly spelunk through these catacombs, despite their many evil hazards, as Nitrome’s Redungeon (out now, free) is a pure blast to play!

In this endless-roguelike your goal is to quickly explore an eternally-randomized dungeon, all while attempting to scoop up as many coins as safely possible (before some ill-fate puts the kibosh on your efforts). Although your heroes aren’t entirely without offensive capabilities — or at least they aren’t once you’ve first upgraded them — your primary controls in Redungeon are for moving around, for which there are two methods. One method involves you swiping in any of the four cardinal directions — at which point your hero will keep moving that way until you release — while the other features a set of on-screen buttons, with players tapping the screen to move their hero one space at a time.

sc1024x768Although movement in this game is grid-based, Redungeon most certainly isn’t waiting around for players to safely decide how best to navigate the labyrinth’s many perilous obstacles. Traps are constantly in motion, monsters are eternally on the prowl, the lurking-darkness is always hounding the player, and brittle floor-patches will break shortly after they’ve been disturbed! As such players will need fast-and-accurate reflexes, assuming they wish to stay alive in this dungeon for any sizable stretch of time (especially since you’ll soon learn how hasty-heroes can even carelessly walk off ledges).

Now simply staying alive — doing your best to beat your previous distance record — would be all fine and dandy, but that would be forgetting those shiny coins which lured your hero here in the first place. While simply touching these coins is more than enough to snatch them up, the unfortunate catch is that many of these are dangerously close to deadly traps — collapsing floor sections — or even ravenous monsters. Worse yet — just to see if you’re awake — you’ll sometimes find coins seemingly placed near no traps whatsoever, wherein the cunning ruse is that they’re hovering just over the abyss’s edge!

These coins — which continue to pile up across multiple runs — can then either be used to upgrade the heroes you already have, or to gain access to entirely new heroes (each of which have different base perks, as well as different abilities to unlock). For instance: while the scarecrow might be immune to becoming temporarily stuck in cobweb patches, the vampire character is impervious to being attacked by any bat-type creatures present. Some of these heroes can even provide all new methods for coin-acquisition: such as the scarecrow’s cool-down driven ability to frighten his foes (after which they’ll run away leaving their precious coins behind), or the vampire’s power of temporary-flight!

sc1024x768-1With eight of these wildly-different heroes already available, and an upcoming patch soon promising the addition of even more, it looks as though one could spend quite a bit of time successfully unlocking/upgrading every last character found in Redungeon.

Players will be glad to hear that — given the game’s focus on endlessly unlocking new content — Redungeon is not the most aggressive game when it comes to IAPs, although there does exist the standard-options for buying coins. Beyond acquiring coins with cash, there will additionally — from time to time — appear offers for players to earn coins in Redungeon simply by electing to watch various advertisements. Players may additionally elect to watch an ad whenever their hero perishes in order to freely continue sans restarting (and I’m happy to report these ads are even fully stable on the aging iPod Touch 5).

I’ll be honest: you quickly get into a rather addictive groove with Redungeon where you’re constantly trying to see if you can travel slightly further than your last run, such that I honestly had a bit of trouble pulling myself away long enough to write this review. Most mobile games perform best when they’re capable of fitting nicely within the short bursts of time people have available during their busy lives, and Redungeon’s rapid game play of explore — die — and explore yet again certainly fits this bill quite well. Couple this with solid controls — a non-intrusive IAP scheme — and tons of content to slowly unlock, and odds are likely you won’t soon put Redungeon away once you’ve begun exploring!

Verdict

Redungeon is a fast-paced roguelike game of endless dungeon-exploration, wherein players select one of eight heroes — each with their own unique perks — and then fight to stay alive for as long as possible (all whilst grabbing as many shiny coins as they can). The game-play — which fits nicely within the confines of a mobile-gaming lifestyle — has the potential to rapidly become rather-addictive, and is thankfully supported by two rock-solid control-schemes. Couple this with a set of IAP-options that manage to thankfully avoid ruining your fun, and you have a mobile-based game of endless dungeon-induced death you’ll have a hard time putting down (especially with so much stuff to unlock).

'Redungeon' Review: A Roguelike That's to Die for!
Solid controlsEight heroes to unlock/upgradeUnobtrusive IAPs
The addictive game-play may be overly hard to put down at times
5.0Exceptional