When Steam tags were first released, I tried putting together a few tags to see if they’d take off. Sadly, my favorite, “Indie Game with ‘Dungeon’ in the Title,” didn’t go viral quite as quickly as I’d hoped. Sometimes life’s not fair. Anyway, recently I came into possession of a game that would’ve fit that tag perfectly: Guild of Dungeoneering, brought to us by those fine fellows at Versus Evil.
Guild of Dungeoneering puts you in control of the titular guild, ready to take on dungeoneers and send them into dungeons so they can dungeon dungeon dungeon. Er, sorry, lost my train of thought there. You’re the guildmaster, so the construction of the guild is up to you; different rooms offer new classes of dungeoneer, as well as new gear and boosts for them to use. You also guide your dungeoneers as they do their delving, helping them complete missions and bring home the gem-encrusted bacon.
Note that I said you guide them – you don’t actually control your dungeoneers directly. Instead, they operate with a sort of simple AI based on greed and fear, kind of like Congress. A dungeoneer will usually move toward delicious coins and easily-slain monsters. On the other hand, they’ll run from scary things like high-level monsters. You’ll construct the dungeon tile by tile and place incentives to push your stalwart hero in the direction you’d like them to go.
Upon running into a monster, you’ll switch to a basic card-based combat system; each turn, both sides will play a card, but you’ve got the advantage of seeing what your opponent will play. This means that you’re able to play the appropriate counter if you’ve got it available, which lends a bit of strategy to combat. It can be tough to coax a dungeoneer into attacking a higher-level foe, so you’ll have to help them level up by guiding them to easily killed fodder first. Defeated monsters will drop gear which can provide new cards or statistical boosts to your dungoneer. Be careful, though; if they die, they’re dead, and you’ll have to take it from the top.
The real highlight of Guild of Dungeoneering is the game’s style and sense of humor, which look like it was drawn out on paper, giving it a simplistic, endearing style. Your dungeoneers come from a variety of intimidating classes, like the Cat Burglar, who deals in feline puns, the useless Chump and even the dreaded Mime, capable of copying his foes’ attacks. Aside form being hilarious, each class lends itself to a unique playstyle, so it’s fun to try out different options. Dungeoneers will happily voice their opinion on your decisions and their dungeon adventures as well. There’s plenty of character to go around here.
While it’s not an endless reservoir of gameplay that you’ll lose yourself in for weeks, Guild of Dungeoneering is a fairly basic concept that’s executed very well. There’s enough content here to keep you playing for awhile, and it’s always fun to try out new dungeoneer classes and equipment sets. Building a pleasant-looking and effective guild is also a great time. Guild of Dungeoneering is a great value for the price, so it’s worth your while to take a look.