There’s no denying it: Desktop Dungeons is an exceptional rogue-like…like. Its randomly generated dungeons mixed with a deep sense of customisation and craft work well to create a game that’s brutally challenging, but extremely rewarding at the same time. Although designed to work in bite-sized sessions rather than hour long stints, the restriction to a laptop or desk-based PC made that difficult. We wanted Desktop Dungeons on tablet, and thankfully the port is everything we could’ve hoped for.

Desktop Dungeons Mobile Header

There’s no holding back. Desktop Dungeons on iOS and Android is the full, witty and gruelling rogue-like that is is on PC – shrunken down and optimised quite well for your tablet of choice. It’s the same game that you’d grab on Steam, forcing you to balance numbers, classes, skills and a little bit of luck to make it through monster-ridden dungeons in a pursuit of  gold and legacy. You’ll explore dungeons with consistently new characters, levelling up in confined, singular dungeons as you take on varying levels of creeps and creatures. Dive in, tap around, gain gold and try to stay alive – over and over again.

Desktop Dungeons Mobile Review 1

In between it all, you’ll die. A lot. It’s a masochistic ritual that doesn’t level up any particular character, but instead makes you feel as though you, as a player, are getting better at understanding the game’s many mechanics – ass well as learning how to overcome evil and the magic-resistant goats that love to fling all mannerisms of insults your way. No wonder people used to lock these things alone in towers.

On tablet though, your clicks are traded for screen taps, which let you move, attack, cast spells and click continue when that all too familiar death screen shows up. There’s nothing else to it, because Desktop Dungeons isn’t really about quick taps amalgamated with swift swipes. This is a very numbers driven, calculating and cvalculated game, which should be a foregone conclusion given its rogue-like roots.

Being on a much more mobile device also adds more credence to the idea of short dungeon runs, although it’s not enough to quell a niggling “issue” with the game. Although designed to be consumed in small sittings, it takes a long time to get anywhere close to good at Desktop Dungeons. Success comes through experimentation and a keen sense of understanding, only to have the rug swept from beneath your feet once you feel any resemblance to comfort. It’s engrossing, but not really as conducive to the idea of pick up and play, five minute dungeon runs as it suggests – no matter which way you look at it.

Desktop Dungeons Mobile Review 2

Granted, having the full game on tablet does allow you to take the game wherever you go, and that’s a huge plus. Desktop Dungeons is one of those long, deep mobile games that is perfect for long flights, even worse car trips or for just kicking back on a day where you’d rather be laying in bed instead of turning on consoles. If you’re lucky you could satiate the cravings with quick attempts between work or equally productive demanding hours, but the sense of reward is often lacking unless you’ve got the time to really, really get stuck in to it.

Thankfully, that’s the only real problem with the game (at least, since its most recent patch which fixed a few screen orientation foibles) – and only one if you’re looking for something to play in short, meaningless stints. The mobile port is every bit as beautiful as the PC version, with colourful, interesting character portraits littering your growing, table-top kingdom. Some of the UI elements used for text and character selection come across as a bit jarring though, with harsh black boxes not exactly blending in with the rest of the vibrant artwork. The same goes for text boxes (like selecting a Kingdom name) which display text at an incredibly tiny, almost illegible size.

Good thing it doesn’t extend to in-game text, which is just as sharp and witty as it was when the game originally launched in 2013. The same goes for the engrossing soundtrack, which really sticks in the noggin well after you’ve put the game to sleep.

Desktop Dungeons Mobile Review 3

There’s little separating Desktop Dungeons on tablet and PC, which is really what a good port should be. UI issues aside, Desktop Dungeons feels right at home on tablets. With its Cloud Save functionality, daily dungeon runs and included Enhanced Content (a free content patch available on PC too), it’s hard to look at the $10 price and deem it unfair. It’s steep for mobile, but you’ll get a great game in return – if you give it the time to grow on you.

Last Updated: July 14, 2015

Desktop Dungeons (Mobile)
Desktop Dungeons is a great game that benefits from the mobility of tablets, although it still struggles to deliver bite-sized dungeon fun. Regardless, it's a game that should be on your tablet of choice.
8.0
Desktop Dungeons (Mobile) was reviewed on iOS
87 / 100

23 Comments

  1. Awesome, this game is super fun!

    Reply

    • Lord Chaos

      July 14, 2015 at 15:43

      Odd though. This, FTL and other indies are taking more and more of my game time .

      Reply

      • Admiral Chief's Adventure

        July 14, 2015 at 15:46

        This is my gaming week:
        FTL
        PS2
        Witcher 3

        Reply

        • Lord Chaos

          July 14, 2015 at 15:47

          I’d love to play more PS2, just need more cap as it is truly heavy.

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief's Adventure

            July 14, 2015 at 15:48

            FTL currently on 564 hours…
            PS2 almost 700
            Witcher 3 over 70

          • Lord Chaos

            July 14, 2015 at 15:49

            I thought I had a lot of time to play… And you have a wife and kid…

          • Admiral Chief's Adventure

            July 14, 2015 at 15:53

            I don’t sleep a lot haha.

            That being said, I’ve been playing the first two for over 2 years now

          • Lord Chaos

            July 14, 2015 at 15:53

            Makes sense, I only started FTL whilst working last December

          • Admiral Chief's Adventure

            July 14, 2015 at 16:03

            Yeah, FTL is a nice distraction at the office while waiting for things to run

      • Geoffrey Tim

        July 14, 2015 at 15:49

        Nothing odd. good games are good games – whether they’re made by large studios or smaller ones.

        Reply

        • Lord Chaos

          July 14, 2015 at 15:51

          I wouldn’t say good, ok, good, but not amazing.
          They are beyond addictive, even with the graphics, or mayhaps I’m just getting old.

          Reply

  2. Ranting Raptor

    July 14, 2015 at 15:52

    Where’s the minus 5?

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      July 14, 2015 at 15:55

      Mehsktop Dungmehns #amirite!

      Reply

      • Ranting Raptor

        July 14, 2015 at 15:57

        hehehehehe

        Reply

      • Lord Chaos

        July 14, 2015 at 15:57

        Maybe your dungeon… I mean cellar.

        Reply

    • Lord Chaos

      July 14, 2015 at 15:58

      6…

      Reply

      • Ranting Raptor

        July 14, 2015 at 16:03

        se… wait a minute!

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief's Adventure

          July 14, 2015 at 16:05

          HAH

          Reply

        • Lord Chaos

          July 14, 2015 at 16:05

          Well, seven does have 5 letters.

          Reply

  3. schitsophrenic-toothbrush

    July 14, 2015 at 16:26

    Do yourselves a favour gentlemen, check out “guild of dungeoneering” it is being released today. Different take on dungeon crawling roguelike games. Looks super fun!

    Reply

  4. SargonTheBatpandaOfTI5

    July 14, 2015 at 18:24

    I have never played this. I might just have to get it for the iPad though. Sounds like fun! Nice review dude.

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      July 15, 2015 at 07:28

      It is fun. It’s also very clever stuff, and if you get in to it =, it’ll steal many hours of your life . It’s not as easy to actually get in to as it might seem though.

      Reply

      • Guild

        July 15, 2015 at 07:36

        I haven’t really got into it. Bought the PC version and clocked in 2 hours but I find myself playing other games. Bought the iPad version and only find I play it when there is load shedding. It is a fun game and I have found it frustrating at times but it doesn’t eat up hours of game time. It’s a game I go to when I got nothing else to play or do.

        Reply

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