Dicey Dungeons Game Review

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All games by Terry Cavanagh are built on interaction with a hostile and inhospitable environment. In VVVVVV, the lone player was greeted by the chill of space and platforms made almost entirely of spikes. In Super Hexagon, it often took about four seconds between the start of the game and defeat – moving walls left almost no chance of survival. In Dicey Dungeons, the setting seems a little friendlier at first glance: Lady Luck promises the characters their deepest desires if they complete her dungeons and win the super game. However, something tells me that she is not going to keep her word.

Accumulate limit

Cavanaugh, he says, drew inspiration from everything from classic board games to Japanese RPGs. He was most influenced by the game Dream Quest – its author, Peter Whalen, now works as the lead game designer on Hearthstone. The goal of Dicey Dungeons is banal – while fighting with enemies, overcome six floors of the dungeon and defeat the boss at the end. Each victory brings experience points, the accumulation of which increases the level. New levels are increases to maximum health, free items and additional dice.

Even if you do not particularly need new items, skipping the fight with the Yeti is not recommended. Going to the boss, it is better to get to the last level, and there is only one way to do this – do not miss a single opportunity to fight.

Finding them in chests and buying in stores, you will collect about a dozen in one run. Some of them are doomed to lie dead in the inventory – the character has only six equipment slots, and some items take up two. Which ones you come across is chosen by a random number generator, so that no race will be a copy of another. This approach is both a fundamental part of the game and its curse: sometimes you already collect a strong combo on the second floor and go through locations with one hand, and sometimes you carry a pile of incongruous things with you to the very end and frantically try to find at least some synergy.

Most items in the game are used no more than once per round – the combat system here is turn-based. Each turn – both yours and the opponent’s – begins with a roll of dice, which you distribute among the items, thus activating them. Let’s say the “Battle Ax” will deal damage to an enemy equal to twice the number of points on the die, but it can only be activated with a die of no more than four. “Magic Missile” always takes five health points from the enemy, but requires an even-numbered die for this – you will not find a better use for a deuce, but a larger die will do if you have nowhere else to put it.

The power of an item is usually proportional to the value of the die that activates it – the higher it is, the stronger the effect. However, this does not mean that getting a six at the start of a turn is always better than a one: sometimes you simply don’t have items that can work with such large numbers. By the end of each race, when the number of dice increases from two to five, and special items appear in the equipment that these dice split, connect and clone, their distribution will begin to feel like a mathematical problem – sometimes you have to rack your brains over it.

Take the witch

Despite the fact that Dicey Dungeons combines all the hallmarks of the rogue-lite genre, Terry Kavanaugh prefers to classify the game as an RPG – according to him, the character class chosen has a much greater influence on the nature of the run than the items found along the way. I am not ready to agree with him: in my opinion, these two factors are approximately equivalent.

Nevertheless, it must be admitted that the main characters are conceived and worked out superbly. Each has its own key feature, its own way of fighting, its own pool of items and its own motivation to go to the dungeons. – the characters are different!

There are six heroes in total. Each has six episodes, where the rules change slightly. To open the last, 37th, you need to go through five episodes of each character – it turns out that for a complete passage you need to overcome at least 31 dungeons. Each run lasts about half an hour; Considering that even the best player in the world cannot do without the blessing of His Majesty chance to win, the game can take 50 hours to complete.


If the variety of characters can only be admired, then things are much worse with objects. There are really few of them – all the problems of the game, it seems to me, grow from here. The authors write that in the future DLC will probably come out, but it’s too early to talk about them – you have to be content with what you have. And this is not only not enough for 50 hours – already in 10 I saw, it seems, everything.
My favorite item is called “Ice Age”: if you activate it with two 1s, then on the next turn.

all the opponent’s dice will turn into 1s themselves. There is a funny situation: not throwing out a single unit at the beginning of the turn is good, one is bad, and two is great.  Worst of all, the “Ice Age” cannot be found in the chest and cannot be bought in the store: only one enemy, the Yeti, has this ability, and the only character, the Thief, can get it for himself. The rest have to be content with the uninteresting “Heal yourself as much health as indicated on the die” or “Add one to the value on the die.”