The best thing about roguelikes is that grim satisfaction you derive from surviving a flood of monsters with only one serviceable arm after you carelessly lumbered over a mine in an attempt to escape a crotch-punching gnome. The best thing about Dungeons of Dredmor is how charmingly it laughs at you when you fail to do so.

Gaslamp Games' maiden endeavor is kind of like that one friend that everyone has. You know who I'm talking about. He's the disarmingly suave rat bastard that gets invited to all the parties, the one who has it all: the girls, the posh accent and the impeccable command of sarcastic banter. He's the guy you love to hate but just can't quit.

Yeah, Dungeons of Dredmor is like that. Though all roguelikes make it their business to kill you dead, this is probably the only one that will salute you with a Monkey Island-esque eulogy before peeing on your grave. God help you if you're playing with an audience. The game does record the number of times a Lil' Bat has feasted on your entrails.

Almost too clever for its own good, Dungeons of Dredmor is filled with more than just witty jibes and deities of questionable value. From references to Twilight to the aluminum tubes that helped precipitate a war, the developers have gone more than a few extra mile to address pop-culture, current affairs and even a hint of Lovecraftian lore for good measure.

But as awesome as the well-written prose and the bushy eyebrows of the protagonist might be, the real question is this: is there game? The answer's a resounding yes. Dungeons of Dredmor is precisely what it has been advertised to be and a little bit more. A turn-based dungeon crawler outfitted with multiple skill trees, a huge panoply of collectible items, a crafting system and a homicidal cast of enemies, Dungeons of Dredmor is not only a solid offering but a surprisingly accessible one. Unlike other roguelikes where the default difficulty is 'you die now', Dredmor allows even the novice player to enjoy themselves.

What I enjoyed most of the game mechanics, however, was not the presence of the Goddess of Pointless Sidequests or the prolific selection of cheese but the customizabilty of the character. If you've ever had this urge to see how well a vampiric kleptomaniac with a penchant for mathematics would fare in a roguelike enviroment, here's your chance. Worried about the quality of the equipment you'll find? Take up smithing and you'll only have to worry about Krong's questionable graces from now on. 

Alternately, you could run around transmogrifying everything into offerings for the fishy Lutefisk God but only lazy infidels do that, right? 


Glowing praise aside, Dungeons of Dredmor is not without a few inadequacies. For one, the bushy eyebrows are a permanent affliction. You won't have the opportunity to customize the character's looks, nor will you have the chance to see how stylish the protagonist might look with a cheese sword in hand. The key bindings are also not the most intuitive that I've encountered. But to be fair, most of these are tiny details that only the most anal might find themselves resenting. By and large, Dungeons of Dredmor is a good game and at its current price, it's something that all roguelike fans should check out.

And who knows? For those of you who have yet to immerse yourself in the genre, this might be the day you find yourself converted.