Dungems is a tower defense game that draws heavy inspiration from dungeon keeper – you are an evil overlord and your dungeon is stormed by treasurehunting adventurers. To stop them, you place traps and monsters into your floors and corridors.

The game is structured in levels divided into smaller heaps („Waves“), with each wave taking a few minutes to beat; the attackers gain power from wave to wave, and you’ll probably need a few attempts to figure out a working way to prevent them from escaping with their loot. If you are successful, you receive gold that you can use to unlock new traps, mobs, and levels or to augment your dungeon – doing so will increase the size of the level, making it harder to defend while also rising the potential gold you get for beating a wave. Be careful how you spend it though – I managed to get stuck in the next to last level by using to much gold on unlocking traps and monsters.

The production value of the game is astonishing for such a small production; this is especially true for the graphic- and sounddesign – everything feels right on point here. The overall game design is fun and quite addicting (only wanted to play a bit and kept stuck for nearly the whole night); the need to backtrack to earlier waves after augmenting the level is a elegant way to increase the playtime, and the overall balance is well adjusted – everything is beatable, but no wave is a pushover and perfecting one will require quite a lot of finetuning.

At the time being, the game is in version 0.6.1 with status on hold – I asked the dev about it, and they said that they got frustrated over the small attention the game received and stopped working on it while their life moved on. This is absolutely understandable but still deplorable – while the game could be considered complete it would still need some polishing at some points to really shine; beneath the mentioned problem of getting stuck when you are not careful with your resources there is a major UI glitch (that can be worked around by restarting the game) among various smaller problems and quirks that could be improved – you might want to check out this thread on itch for a detailed list and a few free keys that the developer handed out – most of them seem to be still available, but even in the current state it is well worth to pay the 3 bucks they want for it – all problems I encountered can be worked around or overlooked.

Dungems is exactly what you normally would want to play if you boot up a indie game: A simple, yet solid and well devised concept realized with dedication and passion by a person who is sure that this is the shit at the time of making it, easily accessible yet deep enough for a few good hours. Native Linux version available.

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