If I could sum up this game in one word, it would be "difficult." Though, that tends to be the nature of these games. You play a little, you die. You learn new things, and die again. Until you finally have that one good run where it all comes together in a rewarding, awesome experience.
Dungeon of the Endless is a marriage of three styles: RPG Dungeon crawling, roguelike gameplay, and tower defense. On the first screen, there is a choice of Pods. The only one unlocked at the start gives no specific advantages. Scrolling through the ones still locked shows some that allow you more characters at the start, another gives you only one but with boosted abilities. Another claims to make the game un-winnable. I can see already this game is aiming to have replay value.
Below the displayed selected Pod there are four unlocked characters and several more still locked with just a question mark. I can choose two of these, so I go for Gork and Deena, for no particular reason. Once in the game I see Gork is a lot slower than Deena. Practically lumbering about in comparison. He is a more tanky character, having 590 HP compared to the others 400. Her speed is way higher. Choosing your team wisely and understanding character differences is instrumental in success.
My first round after the tutorial gives me the basics and ends shortly after exploring a few rooms. The heroes attack automatically if they are in the room with enemies present. The screen shows a summary of things like doors opened and informs me that session lasted around five minutes. I try again with the other two heroes. One's a melee type. I come across another hero this time and use some of my food resource to hire them. This round lasts 15 minutes and I actually make it to the second floor.
The goal is to first find the exit, protecting a yellow crystal as you search. I alternated methods in my many playthroughs, sometimes using two quick heroes to rush back if it was attacked, sometimes leaving someone with good attack and hp behind to defend it. The more I played, the more effective I became at managing the game's 4 resources. Industry is used to build modules and defenses. Science is used for researching new modules. Food is used for healing, hiring and leveling. Finally, Dust is used for powering rooms. Also you never know which one a merchant will want in trade.
I really liked how much diversity there was in the characters styles. Some use guns, some use swords, they have different passives and active abilities, such as the nurse that increases health regeneration for a time. You can buy new gear from the merchants to increase stats and sell gear you don't need for whatever resource the merchant is trading for.
More Industry modules means I could build more laser defenses. More Science modules in case I happened across a node that let me research, or more food for healing and leveling? In the beginning I prioritized food. It was always disheartening to find a third and fourth hero and not be able to recruit them. Having more heroes definitely makes things less of a burden. Following that I built more modules supporting industry, as the defenses would take the pressure off the heroes, especially if I was able to line the corridors leading to the exit. As your crystal carrier goes towards the exit they will be attacked full force. If they die during this phase its game over so the extra protection helps tons! I put science 3rd on the list of priorities because I just wasn't researching enough to make it high in demand.
Eventually I was able to clear several floors consistently. Learning a little more each time I ventured further. One nice thing is if you hire a hero but don't unlock them that session (I unlocked a few by simply clearing 3 floors after hiring them) the question mark on the select screen will go away, and you can mouse over to see how to unlock that character.
Its random nature means it doesn't get old fast. An array of characters to play as and different defenses and modules, from defense lasers and missiles, to auto docs and area of effect traps, its definitely got variety on its side. Dungeon of the Endless is a tough game with a lovely visual style. One that fans of dungeon crawlers and tower defense games will find has a ton of re-playability.