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5 Best Dungeon Crawlers You Should Play This Year

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If you’ve ever found yourself scavenging in the dark, bound for treasure alongside an ensemble of mythical beings, then chances are you were entwined in a little thing us gamers like to call dungeon crawling, where role-play and unfathomable creations go hand in hand to create a spool of mesmerising adventures. And believe me when I say — there has been quite a lot of them over the decades, with a chunk of their existence being based around board games and the likes.

But anyway, we’re talking specifically about console dungeon crawlers, rather than D&D and what have you. And before you think it — no, we’re not going to spend the next ten minutes spewing up facts about Diablo. We will, however, talk about some of the lesser-known titles out on the market, which, in all honesty, deserve a whole lot more credit for what they bring to the table. So, without further ado — let’s feast. Here are five dungeon crawlers you have to play this year. Or at least should try and play.

5. Children of Morta

Children of Morta - Launch Trailer - Nintendo Switch

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch & Mobile

Children of Morta is a perfect example of how action-adventure and rougelike elements can go hand in hand to conjure an outstanding world that falls into a class of its own, complete with rich pixel-style visuals and a breathtaking colour palette. And what’s more is that, even with its similarities to other dungeon crawlers in regards to character progression and whatnot — Children of Morta still manages to hold its own and plant roots in an already bustling market chock-full of triple-A dungeon crawlers.

Following the story of the Bergson clan, along with their mesmerising abilities that span from archery to strength, magic to martial arts, players enrol on a quest against the all-power Corruption, an evil threat that dares to engulf Mount Morta in a sea of flames. Through a series of procedurally generated levels, players must battle through dungeons swarming with great bosses and death-defying obstacles, accumulating points along the way to distribute and upgrade the Bergson family tree. And while that may sound like bread and butter in the dungeon crawler world, it is a worthy pawn to take for a spin regardless.

 

4. The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

Binding of Isaac Rebirth - Beta Trailer

Available on: All Platforms

After raking in a whole lot of success over its original release in 2011, the independent developer Edmund McMillen was finally able to team up with publisher Nicalis in order to launch Rebirth, the long-awaited remaster with a handful of additional features that Flash failed to craft in the debut title. Features that, at the time, struggled to latch on to such a project.

The Binding of Isaac is loosely based on the Biblical story of the same name, only with McMillen fusing his own religious upbringing into its very narrative. Gameplay-wise, players assume the role of Isaac, bound for his bottomless basement filled with generated dungeons and otherworldly sprites. In a bid to steer clear from his religious mother, Isaac is forced to flee into the basement, where he then begins a journey through the various layers of darkness in order to accumulate enough power to take on his own kin. Nestled with early The Legend of Zelda themes, The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a perfect homage to some of the greatest dungeon crawlers ever released in the industry. At least that’s how we’d put it, anyway.

 

3. Torchlight II

Torchlight II: Official Launch Trailer [HD]

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch & Mobile

Torchlight II is an award-winning role-playing game with a perfect balance of rougelike ingredients, topped off with a story-driven experience that will keep you trudging along for months. As per the dungeon crawler recipe, the game itself uses procedurally generated levels for players to traverse and use as a platform to sharpen specific skills and statistics. However, unlike the vast majority of crawler flicks on the market — Torchlight II instead narrows its focus on story elements rather than mindless button-mashing. For the most part, anyway.

Set during the aftermath of the town of Torchlight’s downfall, the player character is set to follow a breadcrumb trail in search of its destroyer, The Alchemist, a possessed foe that aims to disrupt the balance of the world’s six elements. Your role in the hunt, of course, is to select a class, pursue the villain — and put a stop to the corruption that shrouds the land. You can even buddy up with five other players and go online, too. So, assemble your team and commence the pursuit! The Alchemist awaits.

 

2. Enter the Gungeon

Enter the Gungeon - Gameplay Trailer | PS4

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch & Mobile

Are you ready to sink into a razor-sharp labyrinth, spray endless rounds of neon ammunition and procure some sweet, sweet loot? Enter the Gungeon awaits your descent into its whimsical, bullet-riddled halls. Crammed full of spring-loaded enemies, florescent levels and valuable treasures, this bullet hell will have you firing into action on an all-out frenzy where boundaries refuse to exist.

Enter the Gungeon, like most games that fall under the dungeon crawler banner, uses procedurally generated zones, where both enemies and loot are hurled at you left, right and centre as you shape your avatar into an all-powerful entity. Thrown in with an inviting art style and roster of genuinely likely personalities, Enter the Gungeon amounts to a pretty charming package, where something as sinister as a fiery bullet hell feels cooler and slicker than ever.

 

1. Slay the Spire

Slay the Spire - Official Launch Trailer

Available on: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch & Mobile

If you’re looking to deviate from the button-mashing hellholes and plant roots in something a little more, say — card-based, then perhaps joining the endless ascension in Slay the Spire will do you good. That is, if you don’t mind enrolling on an endless voyage where progression doesn’t necessarily result in any level of conclusion, of course.

Slay the Spire is a turn-based strategy game that puts you in the position to select one of four characters, each possessing a set of unique abilities. Through health, gold and cards, each battle must be won over using a mixture of buffs and thought out strategies. Ascend the spire, fend off waves of enemies, acquire new loot and relics, and ultimately work towards crafting your ideal deck. That’s really all there is to it. So, do you think you have what it takes to take on The Spire? It’s time to make the climb.

 

So, do you agree with our list? Will you be picking up any of the above five? What games would you add? Let us know over on our socials here.

 

Tired of dungeon crawlers? Looking for more content? You could always take a look at one of these lists:

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