How innovative can you be these days?
We live in a world where stamping labels on things and people
The flow and amount of information to be processed and the need to clarify what something is, or is not, demands that we categorize everything and everyone as quickly as possible.
We have truly entered The Age of Labels.
It is part of who we are as humans.
The Universe doesn’t care whether there’s light or shade, day or night, a half-full glass, a dead cat in a box or a tree falling in an unpopulated forest.
But we humans do care.
This is how our brains save disk storage space. We compress info into tiny boxes with labels.
Concepts are easier to access and we can figure them out quickly by simply reading the label on the box.
Unfortunately, this somewhat compromises our ability to think differently. To be innovative. To think out of the box – and to be appreciated and recognized for that.
Music that doesn’t belong to any genre
This tends to become an even bigger issue when you consider the way we access this content. Check out my ramble on how Valve has made me lose interest in Steam – their content delivery platform – by improving it.
With so much new content available to us each day, the most productive way for a developer to innovate nowadays is to mix genres.
However, like with a nice cocktail, to mix it up properly requires real talent. These guys nailed it.
Missing a label?
Somehow I missed Dungeon of the Endless when it first came out in 2014.
Luckily it isn’t a game that gets old with age!
I managed to pick it up recently since it was free-to-play during the weekend and being sold at a discount.
I just tried it out and it really surprised me:
The point of the game is to exit an abandoned sci-fi ship with a team of heroes and a crystal (similar to Dungeon Keeper’s dungeon heart).
Unfortunately, the ship’s architects decided that it would be fun to build elevators that only take you to the next floor… and build them in different rooms on each floor.
The type of insanity that
Dungeon of the Endless is a unique game, yet very familiar. It delivers a real-time-turn-based game pace.
Does that sound confusing enough?
The game presents a real-time game flow, but it grows and expands as you open up doors in an abandoned ship. So, in reality, it only advances when you unlock the next “turn” by opening up doors in real-time.
Over time (aka turns, aka doors opened), you will be gathering supplies and building resource miners or defensive turrets or evolving your heroes.
All these abilities will come in handy when little alien insects start to show up. Apparently, they HATE your beautiful crystal for some reason and will try to destroy it.
Luckily, with all the resources you managed to mine so far, you’ll also be able to unlock new weapons and abilities for your heroes and your temporary “base”.
The game is unlike any other, yet similar to many.
The very pixely graphics and constant smooth animations deliver an intense atmosphere to the game.
The very bright colors, somehow akin to fire burning in the background, keep reminding you that you need to escape as quickly as possible from the alien-infested ship.
However, some strategy is in order, as resources are limited – but alien attacks are not.
An endless dungeon
The gameplay is fast and fun, and the base-building aspect adds a lot of flavor to it. Unlocking new abilities, characters and weapons is definitely the main drive for the player. The superb audio and music also make it a very pleasant experience.
I had some trouble with the controls. They’re not complex at all – just very uncommon.
Sadly, there’s not much of a storyline to the game, except for a few less-than-funny jokes between heroes. Co-op is a plus, but not necessary since it truly shines as a great singleplayer game.
I really felt like this innovative game was a breath of fresh air.
That freshness that started around 2010 with very popular indie titles like Braid, Minecraft or Spelunky seems to have faded with all the sequels and adaptations of those popular games (just think of how many games mirrored Minecraft’s gameplay mechanics!) and innovation started to take a toll.
Dungeon of the Endless proves that there are many unlikely game genre combos that haven’t yet been explored.
I’m looking forward to trying out Amplitude’s following success Endless Legend.
I truly enjoyed this game.
Even though it lacks a good storyline, it balances that with a fast and fun gameplay, beautiful graphics and a great ambiance.
If you’re looking for something FRESH, this is the game you want to try.
Do you like my ramblings? Would you like to read some more? Check out my previous post on How Sci-fi changed my life!
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I’ll find you at my crystal,
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