If you’re a fan of quick-fire roguelike games, Dicey Dungeons ought to be on your radar. And with a PlayStation release landing last week, making it available on just about every format, you’ve now got no excuse not to jump in.
You might describe Dicey Dungeons as ‘Slay the Spire, but with dice’. It’s a reasonable explanation that gives you some idea of what to expect, but it’s also somewhat reductive. Dicey Dungeons is very much its own beast, with a whole host of wonderful, unique ideas shoved up its dice-shaped sleeves. But yes, essentially, like Slay the Spire, you’ll make your way through levels of increasing difficulty, battling foes and collecting treasure in between.
There are six characters available in Dicey Dungeons, each one a dice with its own unique abilities to use. To unlock them all, you’ll have to play the one that comes before it, and so you’ll start off with the basic fighter, The Warrior. It’s a good character to start with, having a range of strong, hard-hitting abilities to choose from. As you defeat enemies, you’ll gain new abilities in lieu of weapons. The most basic will see you hit for damage based on the roll of a dice: i.e. roll a six, and you’ll take 6 HP off your enemy. Other abilities are a little more complex, requiring you to roll a certain number to use, or needing multiple dice to activate.
As you progress, the new characters you unlock all have interesting twists up their sleeves. The Robot, for example, will overheat if you roll too high, requiring a careful balance of risk-versus-reward. Then there’s The Inventor, who scraps a skill after every turn to ‘invent’ something new. You’ll undoubtedly find your favourite, but they all have fun quirks and are all worth trying out.
Related: The Best Games Like Slay the Spire
Unlike Slay the Spire, though, getting to the end of a run of Dicey Dungeons doesn’t feel like an insurmountable task. We completed a run of all but one character on our first try. It’s fairly generous with handing out new skills and providing health pick-ups, and so it’s more accessible than other roguelike battlers. Or, at least, it is in the beginning. Once you’ve unlocked all characters you’ll unlock new ‘episodes’ to play through, with each episode increasing the difficulty thanks to gameplay modifiers. In other words, it’s welcoming to newcomers – but there’s plenty of challenge to be found for those who want it.
Dicey Dungeons‘ fun and colourful visual style also helps in making it appear welcoming. This is a beautiful-looking game with some serious innovation gone into its character and enemy designs. Where else can you fight against an ice cream or battle against a vampiric vacuum cleaner? Even if the rolls of the die aren’t going your way, it’s hard to ever be too disheartened because your screen is always such a joy to look at.
There’s a surprising amount of content here; if you want to get the most out of Dicey Dungeons, you can look forward to dozens upon dozens of hours of gameplay. Sure, the basic premise of the game never changes, but thanks to its array of characters and different chapters to play though, it never feels too repetitive – at least for fans of this type of game. The random nature of the skills you acquire helps, too: even if you’re playing the same chapter with the same character, the different abilities in hand will make each playthrough feel wildly different.
If you feel like taking on Lady Luck and fancy a roll of the dice, Dicey Dungeons is a hell of a lot of fun. Its vibrant art style is a delight, and its simple but endlessly entertaining gameplay loop will keep you coming back time and time again.