Pixel Dungeon: enjoy dying over and over again

Pixel Dungeon for Android

This is my current addiction. Pixel Dungeon (Android, free) is fast-paced RPG crawler that has you tap-tapping your way through level after level of a randomly generated dungeon.

There are four classes, but only three are unlocked at the outset. Players can choose between a Warrior, a Mage, and a Rogue. At the start of the game, you’re dropped into a dungeon that reveals itself as you explore, looking for the entrance to the next level.

Pixel Dungeon

The graphic style is retro and pixelated.

Along the way, you’ll encounter monsters, uncover secrets, and gather weapons, armor, scrolls, and other items. Every 5th level you’ll encouter a boss and you’ll be leveling, becoming more powerful, as you go. Sounds simple, right? Well…

This genre is known as “Roguelike” and the dungeons aren’t the only thing random. The attributes of the items are also pseudo-randomly generated and are only vaguely described. So, you won’t know whether your new amber ring is cursed until you put it on or if that orange potion will heal your wounds or set you on fire until you either drink it or throw it at an enemy. Even if you do figure it out, everything will be different on your next go-round.

Pixel Dungeon

You will die… a lot.

Between occassionally drinking poison, hidden traps, and enemies around each corner, death is frequent… and permanent. When your character bites the dust, he’s gone. You’ll be starting over from scratch a lot.

Continued success is as luck-based as it’s dependent on your skill level. but the gameplay is simple and fast paced, which makes it good for a few quick deaths rounds on the train or when you’ve got a few spare minutes. I especially like that it’s the kind of game that you can play with one hand, which is good for commuters who’ll need to hang on with one hand on a swaying bus or train.

The experience is never quite the same. Sometimes, I’d die before clearing the first level. Other times, I’d luck out and get as high as level 14 before stumbling into a room full of monsters. The game automatically saves, should you need to tuck your phone into a pocket suddenly, and a sort of skill tree eventually presents itself (if you get far enough into the dungeon) that allows you to customize your character. For example, the Mage class gains the options to be a health regenerating Warlock or a damage dealing Battle Mage.

Pixel Dungeon

Along the way you’ll find items, armor, and weapons. And monsters… lots of monsters.

Pixel Dungeon is a free download for Android devices. The Google Play listing states that the game offers in-app purchases, but it doesn’t. The only “purchase” is a Donate button that lets you send $5.00 to the developer, a donation that doesn’t unlock anything in the game and doesn’t affect play at all. This isn’t the “free-to-play-slash-pay-to-win” type that we’re seeing more and more of recently. There aren’t even ads!


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