It’s been a while since I wrote about Pixel Dungeon and in all honesty, I’ve spent very little time playing this roguelike since the last time I wrote. Today, I decided to give it a go on my train ride home from work. It was worth it.
Pixel Dungeon is a Work in Progress
This needs to be stressed, it really does. Pixel Dungeon is not a finished game and the constant updates tell me the developer has a lot of plans. This is the main reason I decided not to collect data about game enemies, items and other stuff – it’s bound to change a lot and often.
So what are the updates?
The most noticeable update hits you at the main menu. The game has achievements or the way it calls it – badges. You get a badge for a lot of things and it sort of tracks your statistics, such as the highest amount of strength you had, the strongest item, gold collected, enemies killed, bosses beaten, levels reached, etc.
Some people don’t really like achievements, but I definitely do, so this is a major plus for me.
Secondly, there are now class upgrades, which you can get after beating the second boss. Each class gets to branch into one of two „master“ classes. Since’ I’ve only been playing as the warrior, my upgrades were Berserker and Gladiator. The berserker gets bonuses when low on health, while the gladiator has its damage increased with each successful hit. The one time I got that far, I picked gladiator.
These two are the big additions, but there are also various other minor additions added. There are new special rooms, new enemies, new items, even new item types. You can now pick up plant seeds, for instance. You can throw these seeds to plant them where they hit, or simply plant tem at your feet.
Different types of seeds grow into different flowers, which have different effects when destroyed. Some can poison or burn enemies, some give you cover, etc.
The already grown plants in the dungeon sometimes drop items which provide some minor health restoration. It’s nothing immediately life-saving, but they drop often, so you can plan around it and have something to fall back to.
Overall, the game is getting more complex, but still keeping the simple control and play approach that works on a smartphone. I’m looking forward to what it will bring in the future.
But let’s talk about where I’m at in the game.
My Progress in Pixel Dungeon
The screenshots of my ranking screen should tell you everything. On all but one of my attempts at Pixel Dungeon, I didn’t get further than the first boss – the caustic ooze.
The caustic ooze iS an ooze by the name of Goo, I believe. It hits like a truck, and it adds a debuff that increased the damage you take over time. On the plus side, it moves slowly.
Of course, the fact that it moves slowly doesn’t mean a thing if you have nothing to heal with, lack food and have no decent items, so for the most part, the first boss is a „gear check“. If you can’t beat it, you don’t deserve to go any further and you’d probably die on the next level anyway.
Just so you don’t get the wrong impression, most of my attempts at Pixel Dungeon don’t even reach the caustic ooze. I’ve died to rats, crabs, gnolls, fire, poison, starvation, basically anything you can think off. Even fish are deadly in Pixel Dungeons.
One time, though, I got a Haste Ring and three scrolls of upgrade. I also got a nice weapon and some nice armor. I charged at the ooze and nearly died, but I was able to run and go back to level 4.
I picked up all the health restoration thingies I could find and got nearly back to full health. Then I went back down and realized what I can do!
I beat Goo, the caustic ooze for the first time
Thanks to the speed from Ring of Haste, I was able to hit the ooze and take a step back, then hit it again and take another step back. In fact, I was able to do this until it died. That’s right. I beat the first boss today.
But as I said, the battle with the caustic ooze is the player’s test of strength. Beating it means you’re ready for the things that follow. Due to this fact, I did a few more things for the first time today.
I found my first shop
It was on level 6. It’s always on level 6, in fact. I had some gold, so I was able to test it out. Basically, the shop is a large room with items scattered around. You can touch the item to try and buy it, or you can touch the shopkeeper to sell your own stuff. I bought some scrolls, a food ration and some healing potions. I spent well over a thousand gold in there.
The funny thing is, it was the last room that I found on level 6 and it was right next to the stairs back to level 5. I nearly died to skeletons before seeing the shop.
Outside the regular items, the shop contained a seed bag, which allows you to store seeds, freeing up room in the inventory, but I have yet to figure out seed tactics (Final Fantasy VIII flashback here), so I ended up not buying it.
Then I found a strength potion and uncursed my weapon (the one I used to beat the caustic ooze). With that, I was able to move even faster and hit more often. A few minutes later I also found some stronger armor and suddenly the skeletons couldn’t hit me for more than a few points of damage.
I fought skeletons, some bee thingies, crazy thieves and gnoll shamen now, but they didn’t give me any trouble. Well, the thieves did, because they are hard to hit, but they weren’t too hard.
With this equipment, I got all the way down to level 10.
I beat Tengu, the Tengu assassin, for the first time
The second boss was probably easier than the first. Tengu throws shuriken at you and every now and then teleports away, while creating extra traps on the floor at the same time.
I had good armor, so the shuriken did at most two or three points of damage per hit to me, but missed or were fully absorbed most of the time. I simply followed Tengu while avoiding traps and kept hitting him. There’s nothing else to say about it. Maybe he would be more difficult with a rogue or mage.
As I said, I got my master class upgrade here and I picked gladiator. I don’t like being low health to get the berserker bonus. It sounds too risky.
I found my second shop for the first time
It was on level 11. Bosses and shops have fixed floor locations in Pixel Dungeon, so this wasn’t a surprise.
I bought a bunch of healing potions, some scrolls and nothing else. I actually had less money than I did at the first shop, so I wasn’t able to buy as much. You MAKE money for health potions in Pixel Dungeon, though.
The second shop also contained a scroll case which, like the seed bag, frees up storage, this time by allowing you to store scrolls.
I was steadily upgrading my gear now, but my bags were getting fuller with unidentified weapons and potions.
I was fighting vampire bats, gnoll brutes and some strange spider thingies that poison you. Vampire bats drain your health and heal themselves, gnoll brutes enter berserk mode when low on health, but the most interesting enemies by far are the spider thingies.
The spider thingies hit you a few times until they apply posion. Then they start running and create webs behind them, which make you completely stuck. You don’t get paralyzed, so you can attack, but you aren’t able to move. Basically, they use a similar style tactic like the player uses when fighting Goo.
It was tough and the health potions were useful, but I did manage to get to level 15.
Oh, and I bought an Ankh at the second shop. The Ankh resurrects you with just your gear after you die. Naturally, it disappears once it does this. You lose everything that you aren’t wearing. This should be stressed.
I beat DM-300, the machine, for the first time
I had two potions on me and I figured the enemy out. It approaches, hits hard and slowly spreads poison. You can hit it once or twice before the poison gets to you and then you have to move. The thing is, if you move too often, DM-300 repairs itself, so it can go back to full health if you aren’t careful.
I wasn’t careful. I wasted both of the healing potions I had and barely got it to half health. I charged, realizing there’s nothing else I can do, and I died. I used the ankh.
This time, I was more careful. I took a few swings before retreating from the poison and I only ever retreated one step at a time. This was working, but it was going to be extremely close. I kept doing this, with my health dropping further and further, before I finally managed to kill the boss with a sliver of health left. I got the badge!
Then I died from the gas damage.
And that’s my progress with Pixel Dungeon. I can’t wait for more play and more updates.