Dicey Dungeons (Review)

Source: Supporter copy
Price: £11.39 (Soundtrack £5.19)
Where To Get It: Steam, Itch.IO

When you can build an entire, multifaceted procgen RPG out of dice, you pretty much know you’ve got it in the bag. And Dicey Dungeons is… Exactly that. It’s a game where yes, there are only D6s involved, but those dice? They go a long way, and are used in cool ways. Let’s get into this.

Ohno, I’m soooooo dead!

So, the story is pretty simple: Several adventurers are participating in a game show run by Lady Luck herself. A deadly game show, in which the winners take home a prize of their choosing (Disclaimer: Prize may in fact be an asshole genie wish), and the losers? Well, they get either death, or a lifetime of servitude in Lady Luck’s dungeon game show. Aesthetically, it’s got a great cartoony style, some synth beats that, to put it bluntly, fucking slap (Yes, technical term), and everything is very clear and understandable. Nice.

Mechanically? Well, let’s pick a few examples, both among equipment and characters. The game starts with the Warrior, who gets three rerolls a turn. This, honestly, isn’t bad. But I’ve had a lot more fun with the Robot, whose gimmick is that they don’t actually have a set number of dice, only a total they can’t roll above, their CPU count. Roll above it, and all abilities you have left become useless, Roll exactly on your CPU, and you get one of three special abilities in addition. It’s a tense game of chicken with the dice, and I love it. Especially since there are items, unique to the robot, that can play with both CPU count and the jackpot range, and one item in particular, the Ultima Sword, does double damage on a jackpot.

Music has quite the bite to it, and I have little doubt my poor thief is going to be on the receiving end of a shattering high note…

Meanwhile, there are abilities that seem useless unless upgraded (and even then, some aren’t great.) But, with certain other items, they become more useful, and, with the Inventor, whose gimmick is they have to destroy at least one item (more on that in a sec) for their special ability each combat, they’re a damn good way of keeping what you want to keep.

Anyway, each character’s arc is divided into 6 “episodes”, and only the first is the default experience. After that, Lady Luck starts introducing gimmicks. Nasty gimmicks that fit her charmingly mean spirited demeanour, like the Inventor having to destroy more items (but getting more in return), or doubles being destroyed (making certain items completely useless, and possibly doing you out of certain results you want.) Thankfully, each character is introduced whether you win or lose a run, and the further episodes are unlocked once you’ve got the hang of the five main characters (there is a sixth, but… Well, spoilers)

This is still the state of things on publishing this review… I am #cursed …

I wouldn’t really say the game is endlessly replayable, but, honestly, it doesn’t have to be. It’s got a lot of content, it’s easy to learn and middling to master, and its colourful cast, writing, and aesthetics are enjoyable as hell. Definitely worth giving a go, and I would say that this is one of those good first introductions to RPGs with some procgen content (Y’know, roguesortakindamaybelikes.)

The Mad Welshman would probably make a great D6. Would be hard to read black numbers on a black dice though. Ehehehe.

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