Hack, Slash, And Die A Lot With Legend of Dungeon On The Mac [Review]


Legend Has It...

Robot Loves Kitty is the husband and wife team that lived in a treehouse to save money while they ran a Kickstarter project for the game that became Legend of Dungeon.

It’s out now on Mac, PC, and Linux, and it’s a brilliant combination of high tech, retro-graphics, and a strong sense of irony, not to mention whimsy. When I chatted with Alix Stolzer (Kitty) at PAX this year, she mentioned that she and Caleb Goble (Robot) liked vastly different types of games, so they decided to make one they could play together.

Legend of Dungeon by Robot Loves Kitty
Category: Mac Games
Works With: OS X
Price: $10 for basic game, $15 with soundtrack

From those humble beginnings, they’ve succeeded, at least, in making a game that allows up to four players to explore procedurally generated dungeons together, to fight various monsters, explore environments, and try to stay alive. The game works with keyboard and mouse or console-style controllers, with a real-time battle system. Also, there are funny hats! If you take some time to give this one a play; you won’t be disappointed.

Yeah, it's that awesome.
Yeah, it’s that awesome.

Legend of Dungeon starts in a tavern, obviously, since that’s where all good fantasy role-playing games start. You can connect up to three other players via the keyboard, or connect up to three other console-controllers. The controller setup is super easy to use; just hit the keys each player wants to use for movement and action, then get to playing.

Legend has it that the dungeon below the tavern has a huge treasure on the 26th floor, a clever nod to the original Rogue. Once players head down the stairs from the tavern, they’ll enter a completely random dungeon with baddies aplenty.

The plan, then, is to gather green orbs, which act as experience points, leveling the hero up, and coins, which act like points, which are really only relevant at the leader boards. The farther down players go, the tougher the enemies but the greater the rewards. There are tons of health-giving apples to pick up along the way, and random potions, hats, and weapons, as well. Gerbil hat of protection, anyone? Players will need to find their way from door to door, random room to random room, killing everything from skeletons and slime molds to vampires, zombies, and angry elves. There’s a whole lot of fun to be found here, along with permadeath.

w00t! Level Up!
w00t! Level Up!

Make no mistake, players will end up dead, all their carefully hoarded weaponry and apples gone. They’ll need to start again, at the beginning in the tavern, and it’s a kind of sweet masochism that fans of Rogue-like games know so well.

The soundtrack is itself procedurally generated in real time from 244 tracks created by musician David Dirig. The score ends up at times evocative, tense, and utterly bewitching. If players drop an extra $5 on the game, they’ll get a full soundtrack that Dirig created for backers. Hear it for yourself in the video below.

The only issue I ran into while playing was a weird keyboard issue, in which my character would end up getting “stuck” moving in certain directions. I could un-stick it by pressing in the direction it was stuck in, then pressing the key to go the opposite way, but that took up far too much brain space, especially while engaged in combat. As soon as I connected an Xbox 360 controller, though, movement was fluid and battles were won. My suggestion is to use the controllers if at all possible.

Overall, though, it’s crazily delightful to spend time in the catacombs of Legend of Dungeon. There are switches that do nothing, and others that activate monster-killing flame jest. There are potions that level players up, and then potions that do nothing more than cause the avatar to vomit rainbow confetti. It’s a wacky, chaos-infused world that bewitches while it entertains, providing Mac gamers with yet another reason to play on their favorite computer.

Legend of DungeonGame Name: : Legend of Dungeon
The Good: A brilliantly designed, retro-tastic hack and slack dungeon crawler that lets up to four people play together. What’s not to like?
The Bad: Keyboard movement is tricky; bluetooth keyboard support might be an issue.
The Verdict Overall? Legend of Dungeon is a fantastic reason to spend ten bucks, especially for fans of Rogue-like games, pixel art, and indie games like it.
Buy from: Robot Loves Kitty, Steam