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Endless Dungeon Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch & PC)



5 Best Tower Defense Games on PlayStation 5

Amplitude Studios’ Dungeon of the Endless has finally latched on to its long-awaited successor, Endless Dungeon—a tower defense twin-stick shooter that brings bullets, projectiles, and bombproof bots to an invigoratingly fresh rogue-like domain. In a similar vein to its predecessor, the latest sequel invites you to suit up as a band of desperate explorers, and sift through a collection of procedurally generated labyrinths—floors in which resources are worryingly scarce, and enemy forces flock to the beat of an endless bullet storm. Sure enough, it isn’t an exact replica of Dungeon of the Endless, though it does share a lot of its features and mechanics.

Anyway, having slugged through the latest batch of corridors and chaos-studded fields, I can just about bring myself to draw up some conclusive thoughts on Amplitude Studios’ latest chapter. Care to join me on this gradual descent into the darkest realms of Endless Dungeon? Then let’s press on.

Down You Go

Endless Dungeon Heroes at Bulkhead Door

Let’s go ahead and lay all the cards out on the table. What, exactly, is Endless Dungeon, and how does it compare to the likes of The Ascent and other gun-toting dungeon crawling exploits of its kind? Well, to put you in the picture, Endless Dungeon follows a squad of three ragtag elites—a three-piece who, as a team, must venture deep into an abandoned space station and uncover a masked hacker who idles at the deepest layer of the facility. To get there, players must escort a drone (or “Crystal Bot”) through a total of ten procedurally generated levels, all of which have bulkhead doors to unlock. And as you can probably guess, the so-called Crystal Bot is the only thing that’s in possession of the master key to unlock said heavy-duty doors. Oh, and everything wants to blow it to smithereens. Go figure.

As far as plots go, Endless Dungeon doesn’t exactly chalk up the most compelling narrative, nor does it make room for endless twists, turns, and mindless conundrums, for that matter. Its premise is simple: take that bot, and keep it in full working order as you swiftly move through the corridors of a not-so endless network of facilities and wards. That’s it. So, suffice to say that, if you’re looking for a bit of a mind-melting experience with web after web of perplexing information and dialogue, then you might want to stop here and search elsewhere. Still here? Then let’s continue.

Going Rogue

Endless Dungeon Hero Selection Screen

Endless Dungeon serves as your typical rogue-like game: there’s a hub that’s themed around a Western Saloon, and a selection of maps in which you must gradually gnaw through, all the while enemies work to impede your progress and send you back to the safety of the trusty Saloon. You’ll need to head out, acquire some experience and a few resources, and slowly work towards fleshing out your squad with the abilities and tools needed to dig even deeper into the facility. That’s all well and good, and quite frankly, a blueprint that doesn’t seem to age, no matter how many times it’s been squeezed dry by countless other rival IPs.

There are eight characters to choose from, three of whom will be your go-to team out on the battlefield. You can either run it solo, and have two AI-generated followers to boss around, or slug through as a trio with its online multiplayer mode. Regardless of the choice you make, the overall experience is more or less the same, albeit slightly tougher if you decide to abandon the online functionalities and go, you know, rogue. Either way, all the action and information is still there, so you needn’t stress about missing out on anything particularly special.

The ultimate goal of the journey, being a tower defense game at heart, is to establish a line of defense in each level, and work towards upgrading turrets to help fend off oncoming enemies and hordes. Not that upgrading your turrets makes a huge difference, anyway, seeing as you’ll spend more time abandoning your posts and fleeting from one location to the next. Even still, the objectives stay the same, which means, while evidently predictable, you pretty much always know what to do and how to see it done. Simple enough, right? Right.

Bullet Galore

Endless Dungeon Co-Op Mode Heroes in Combat

While the story and overall structure is arguably quite predictable and a little wishy-washy, its gameplay, on the other hand, is another story altogether. For the most part, I found that, regardless of the destination I was aiming to reach, the non-stop bullets and haze were equally as effective in each new turn, which of course led me to want that second attempt, and then a third, and so on and so forth.

When all’s said and done, I’ve seen enough of these types of rogue-like games to be able to recognize the hook — that you’re forced to believe that you can make it to the bitter end, when really, you’re more likely to pass over a few dozen stepping stones in a zigzag formation. And that’s fine, truly, so long as the actual journey is compelling enough to make you want to stick around and swap dance routines with the world in question. To that end, Endless Dungeon delivers on all fronts; it’s highly addictive, and with thanks to its procedurally generated maps, fresh enough to keep you itching for another round between pit stops at the Saloon.

It goes without saying that, being a rogue-like shooter with all the nodes and hallmarks to boot, those who’d much rather delve straight into a linear story with A-to-B progression would probably struggle to come to grips with the blueprint Endless Dungeon chalks up. Truth is, it take a short while to kick in—a phase that required numerous short stints into the wilderness for the sake of bolstering your arsenal and turrets. But after that, phew — you’ve got quite the adventure ahead.

A Knot in the Dark

Endless Dungeon Heroes in Combat

Sadly, there does come a point in the experience where you come to the realization that you are, in all honesty, replaying the same motions and not really getting anywhere. It’s a phase, for sure, but like every rogue-like, Endless Dungeon does, at least on occasion, feel sort of endless, so to speak. Also, to make matters worse, each of the eight playable characters aren’t all that different, either, which means, regardless of your preference, there’s very little to explore outside of the basic tap-and-smash combos and movements.

In addition to the combat and movements, the heroes don’t actually pipe up all that much—to the point of making themselves appear as shells, and not original characters with engaging story arcs. They all merge into one gene pool, is what I’m saying, which meant all the while I was trying to establish a genuine connection with my squad, the lack of camaraderie just made it almost impossible to do so. I was there, but they often weren’t, which made a lot of the experience feel, I don’t know, awkward? Not a major thing, but I definitely could’ve done with some great dialogue and a sense of companionship to alleviate the stress of having to nudge a bot to a bulkhead a dozen times over.


Endless Dungeon Saloon Hub Area

Endless Dungeon doesn’t attempt to dress itself up as something it’s not: a highly convoluted dungeon-crawling RPG that’s bursting at the seams with high fidelity effects and mesmerizing character arcs. On the contrary, it represents a world that has been favored by fans of the series since its 2012 inception — and it does it tremendously well. Sure its story is a little one-sided and somewhat forgettable, but where it lacks in storytelling it most definitely makes up for in countless other ways — gameplay, being the most important aspect of all.

The good news is, newcomers to the series won’t have to worry too much about digesting a seemingly endless list of decade-old tall tales or lengthy character backstories; rather, they’ll have the opportunity to dive right in to the bullets and the breadth of an exciting new experience—a venture that, quite frankly, has more than enough to be able to usher newbies back to the very beginning of the entire anthology. There’s a lot to love here, which alone makes it a credit to the IP, as a whole — regardless of how loose the connection between other entries is.

To answer the initial question, is Endless Dungeon worth the descent? To cut to the chase, yes, yes it is. More importantly, though, it’s a fantastic starting point for those who’ve never quite had the opportunity to experience an Endless chapter before. In any case, it’s mechanically sound, visually appealing, and above all, oh so, so inviting. Cheers, Amplitude — but I think I’ll stay down here a little while longer.

Endless Dungeon Review (Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Switch & PC)

Not Endless Enough

Endless Dungeon marks the return of a near-perfect tower defense twin-stick shooter series, and for the most part, it delivers a convincing, action-packed experience with easy-to-digest rogue-like components. However, with a story that’s hardly memorable and a band of empty vessels for characters, it’s hard to give it the full marks.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.