desktop dungeons (opens in new tab) Originally released in 2011, it was a game that I fell in love with right away. And not in a genteel, courtly way, either: our impassioned dungeon crawl sessions would stretch into the early hours, as I suffered countless minor deaths and understood countless modifiers.
Sorry. It’s a great game! And even if you’ve never played Desktop Dungeons, you’ve played one of the games later influenced by his clever ideas. It plays like a kind of mini roguelike, taking the success of each run or otherwise into the next, with an overarching system of characters and classes alongside things like gods setting ‘rules’ for your playthroughs to be followed. A standout element of the design is that you heal through exploration, making a good route planning mentality as important as a big sword.
It’s one of those games where a single game can last ten minutes, but somehow you’re still there four hours later.
So today is a good day, because new boutique publisher Prismatika has announced Desktop Dungeons: Rewind: an isometric 3D remake of the IGF-winning 2D original. The new subtitle highlights the game’s Rewind feature, which allows players to cheat death (somewhat) with “an insurance policy that lets you replay a dungeon from an earlier point, try different strategies, and defeat monsters in new ways.”
It is shown in action at the end of the trailer above. Other features listed are similar to those in Desktop Dungeons: Enhanced Edition (still available on Steam and still great (opens in new tab)), so expect a lot of lessons and build your kingdom over time and daily online challenges.
Hopefully this remake will take into account all the great roguelikes that have been released since the original, and bring back a few ideas for itself: I can imagine that after Darkest Dungeon, the kingdom side is feeling a little thin right now. It’ll also be interesting to see if it keeps that weird little feature it had from custom tile sets (in fact, the look of the original game is down to none other than Spelunky creator Derek Yu)
You can read our positive old review of the original game here (opens in new tab). Desktop Dungeons was and is a cracker, so fingers crossed that this remake can bring that beautiful core loop into the modern day. The trailer says it’s coming to Steam “very soon,” but there’s no release date yet.