Desktop Dungeons

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Them's some tasty level.


Like Roguelikes, but dislike sinking massive amounts of time? Then boy, do we have the game for you!

Desktop Dungeons is a free in its alpha version, Roguelike (or perhaps a Puzzle Game disguised as one) created in GameMaker, and a very unique one, in that each dungeon that spawns takes about ten minutes to play. You choose a race and a class, set out, and try not to die. All your resources (HP, MP, even monsters you can kill) are heavily restricted, and careful rationing of resources is vital to your success.

The game starts off easier than most Roguelikes, but as the game goes on, it throws you curveballs, adding new types of monsters and extra features. And as the game goes on, you unlock more classes and races.

So despite individual sessions being short, the game has a lot to spend time on. It can be easy to lose yourself.

There is a commercial beta version in development with much more content and more detailed art and a semi-relevant plot line.

Tropes used in Desktop Dungeons include:


  • Absurdly Low Level Cap: You can only reach level 10, and really, you're unlikely to go higher than 7 or 8 most of the time.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: The monk class obviously. They only deal 50% damage, but they also have a 50% resistance to both magic and physical damage.
  • Beard of Evil: Aequitas, the Boss Warlock, is purported to have one. Given the low resolution of the sprites, we have to take his word for it.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Vampire race/class does this. The BLUDTUPOWA glyph used to enable this for any class in an older version of the game, but this was changed because it was widely disliked. It does that again in the current beta.
  • Combat Medic: Any character can potentially be this, as they all have some magical ability. Ironically enough, in this casethe wizard subclasses are the best medics, as they have the most mana/best magical efficiency. The priest subclasses are more tank like than anything. Sorcerers are great in that role because all spells recover their hitpoints.
  • Class and Level System
  • Damage Sponge Boss: The Super Meat Man has almost a thousand hit points, triple that of most of the bosses. Fighting him isn't a matter of surviving his attacks but of whittling his health down before you run out of resources.
    • The Matron of Flame and Frank the Zombie also qualify, if not to as great an extent - they have lower health than Super Meat Man, but it's still greater than that of most bosses and they hit significantly harder. Frank in particular has been the bane of many Crypt runs, especially since he's immune to Poison.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts: Largely averted - you can't hit-and-run an enemy to death, because when you heal via Fog of War, so do any injured enemies. If you poison them, however, this strategy becomes viable (and is pretty much the Assassin's road to survival).
  • Difficult but Awesome: Each class has a distinct flavor of this except maybe the berserker and the sorcerer.
  • Dungeon Shop: The only source of equipment (the exception being potions, which can be randomly found as well), they get more stuff based on a rank that goes up when you complete a run as a new class/race or under a challenge.
    • In beta
  • Elite Tweak: Worshipping Binlor Ironshield as the transmuter. Binlor grants piety for mining out walls. The transmuter can ENDISWAL for very cheap.
  • Glass Cannon: Rogues have a lot less health and a lot more attack than other classes.
    • On the enemy side, gorgons, warlocks, and goats, of all things, have high attack and low health. The goat boss, Gharbad, is the most so, in that he will one-shot all but very lucky dwarf monks or very lucky gorgons that try to face him in melee. See below. The gorgon boss, Medusa, will automatically kill any hero not at 100% health, even the aforementioned dwarf monk.
  • Instant Death Radius: Gharbad the- whoah!, the goat boss, does 225 damage with his melee attack. You will not under any circumstances have 225 health, though a monk just might have enough damage resistance to pull it off.
  • Killer Rabbit: Do not underestimate the Goat boss.
  • Level Up Fill Up: And indeed, leveling up at just the right time can be a game-winning tactic.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: Your character can only have three glyphs equipped at a time.
    • Upgraded to six in the commercial version, but now they share space with equipment and potions.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Surprisingly enough, inverted. Melee classes can get extremely powerful ridiculously quick. It's not uncommon for 3rd level fighters to be hacking imps, gorgons and vampires apart that are up to two to three levels higher than them. BURNDAYRAZ (the only spell that's truly offensive in the sense that using it directly deals damage) only deals 4 times your level worth of damage. This means that the absolute highest amount that you're going to deal with it is 40, and that's if you somehow make it to level ten. However, the major advantage to spell casting is that, unlike normal combat, enemies can never retaliate. This means that in theory at least, you could go an entire game without taking one point of damage.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: Mysterious shops, after you bought the the goods inside, mysteriously disappear. Mysteriously.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Playing as a Tinker. Depending on the shops that spawn, they can be a waste of space, a multiple legendary-artifact wielding death engine, or anything in between.
  • Macrogame: In the alpha version, you retain gold between dungeons. In the beta, gold is pooled into an external bank, and you can spend some to carry bonuses into a dungeon.
  • Marathon Boss: Super Meat Man. He has 954 health. The second meatiest boss "only" has 636. Meat man doesn't even hit that hard, unlike a lot of bosses who can casually one-shot the player. Meat Man's real threat is that he simply won't die without obsessively hoarding your resources for the entire dungeon and then blowing them all on him.
  • Meta Guy: The Witch in the beta version, primarily in the form of telling the player to quit reading her tooltips.
  • Min-Maxing: The way races, classes, and patron gods interplay causes some combination to be incredible and others to be total wastes. Of course, sometimes that's part of the challenge.
    • For instance, while playing a gorgon, making the right item purchases and selecting the right god can create a character completely impervious to physical damage. Just go up to that level 10 zombie and casually smack him around; he can't do a thing to you.
  • Monsters Everywhere
  • One-Hit Kill: Gorgons can do this to you if you're under a certain amount of health.
    • Boss Gorgons can be really deadly to ones who worship gods that forbid casting or roles like berserker, since its instant kill is at 99% health.
    • You can also do this to other characters with IMAWAL or automatically when playing as a Gorgon.
    • Assassins also kill all enemies that are below their level with one hit, regardless of their health.
  • Power At a Price: For most gods, the "price" is something you're not allowed to do, but particularly of note is Dracul, who drops your maximum health whenever he grants you a boon, and Tikki Tooki, who takes this a bit more literally and charges you ten gold to worship him.
  • Power-Up Letdown: It's just not worth it to worship the Earthmother. Not only do you have to use IMAWAL to get any piety (see Useless Useful Spell), but one of her "boons" turns all bloodstains into indestructable, impassible plants. Congratulations, you just sealed off the entire dungeon!. These plants can be destroyed by using the "fireball" spell...but since it pisses her off, and you'll probably have just spent your whole 100 Piety to get her only decent Boon, you get her wrath slapped on her, and lose the ability to regenerate health. Transmuters and Rogues can benefit from this god though.
    • Then again, alpha version works hard to make Earthmother more useful - and ironically she's very useful in plant-heavy dungeons.
  • Prestige Class: An interesting example in that most of them aren't necessarily stronger, just different. There's 14 altogether (3 of which are class/race combinations).
  • Randomly Generated Levels
  • Random Number God: Almost completely averted. Damage is based on your attack power, and any resistances that you happen to have on you. There are a few very interesting cases where it's played straight however. The first case is the dodge skill, which your character either starts with, buys with an item, or gets from a god. The other example is when worshiping Jehora Jeheyu, the god of chaos. Two of his boons are complete crap throws. The first one trades all of your accumulated piety to give a proportional chance of him either A.)restoring your health fully or B.) Destroying you. The second boon has him change all of the monsters in the dungeon into other monsters, including ones that you haven't unlocked yet and that shouldn't even be able to appear in that dungeon!
  • Shout-Out: Several of the boss names, including Super Meat Man, Tower of Goo, Gharbad, and, of course, the Iron Man.
    • Super Meat Man lampshades it - his boss intro is desperately claiming he isn't based on anything... And in beta, he drops the pretenses altogether, but admits he has a permission to be here.
    • Tower of Goo has an upgraded version in the commercial version... called "Whurldof Goo".
    • Goo blob looks like a protagonist from Gish.
  • Squishy Wizard: Wizards are very vulnerable unless they get the BURNDAYRAZ glyph early on. If they do? Then things are a little easier. That's why they automatically start with one in the beta.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: The Super Meat Man. "Don't look at me like that. I'm totally not a violation of anyone's intellecual property or anything."
  • Technicolor Poison: The poison glyph itself is green, and your opponents health bar turns purple when it's used.
  • Useless Useful Spell: The IMAWAL glyph in the alpha version. Turns an enemy into stone, killing it instantly. Sounds good, yes? Except that you don't get EXP for it, which is the most valuable resource in the game, and you now have an impassable wall where the monster used to be. However, in the beta version, petrifying a monster gives you bonus exp for your next kill, making it a just plain useful spell.
  • Walk It Off: Most of the classes heal by opening unknown cells of the map, thus turning Fog of War into a very precious resource.
  • The Wiki Rule: Here you go.
  • A Worldwide Punomenon: The glyphs all have punny names that describe what they do:
    • APHEELSIK- Inflicts the poison status on a monster.
    • BLUDTUPOWA- Changes health regeneration to mana regeneration.
    • BURNDAYRAZ- Burns your enemy for 4X your level damage.
    • BYSSEPS- Adds 30% bonus damage to next attack.
    • CYDSTEPP- Grants protection from next killing blow.
    • ENDISWAL- Destroys a wall.
    • GETINDARE- Grants players first strike in their next physical attack.
    • HALPMEH- Heals for 3X level health.
    • IMAWAL- Changes an enemy into a section of wall.
    • LEMMISI- Reveals 3 random unexplored tiles.
    • PISORF- Randomly teleports a monster.
    • WEYTWUT- Randomly teleports the player.
    • WONAFYT- Randomly teleports a monster of your level to an adjacent square.