Endless Dungeon puts a Sega spin on roguelikes and twin-stick shooters

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,

Endless Dungeon is a roguelite from Amplitude Studios coming to PS5 and PS4 in 2023. With its twin-stick shooting and sci-fi western aesthetic, playing the game hands-on we think players unfamiliar with the genre might find love.

Endless Dungeon feels like what could have been if Hades and Dead Nation made love in front of disapproving onlookers. Sega's upcoming PS5 and PS4 genre lovechild has the rogue-like DNA of Supergiant Games's GOTY 2021 contender in it, but it often feels like the perfect twin-stick shooters Housemarque has been making. In combination, though, all the doubters of both contributing parents can find something fresh and new in this hybrid sci-fi western child.

Endless DungeonEndless Dungeon is shaping up nicely!

A sci-fi western roguelite with easy twin-stick hooks

We played Endless Dungeon at Gamescom 2022 in a small booth. In such an insane arena as the halls of Cologne's Koelnmesse, you can't really zone out and just game ⁠— the noise levels are high, people are bumbling around you, or there you are trying to play System Shock lying horizontally. So, let me tell you that it is a high compliment when I say I fully zeroed in on Endless Dungeon and just started playing normally. When the creative director Jean-Max Moris tapped me on the shoulder 15 minutes in, it was one of those moments when I realised the time had flown by without even noticing. That gives me very high hopes for this next Endless Universe game, following on from Dungeon of the Endless back in 2020.

Endless Dungeon has you and an AI or player-controlled comrade ploughing through rooms, unlocking pathways, grabbing loot, and shooting at enemy beasties. The rooms are normally simple squares, giving you four potential pathways in a grid-like maze where every forthcoming room could hold enemies, loot, upgrade machines or a route to the end of a stage. You are guiding a small robot carrying a crystal through the level, one checkpoint at a time, and trying to keep the gem in one piece. If you die — you'd better be ready to restart and find your way all over again. Every room has allocated slots where you can place turrets, healing stations, or tasers — though you have caps on the amount you can place.
There are four playable characters so far, which have slowly been revealed in some cool teasers. A big old robot called Bunker has a shield and a pistol, while a character called Zed has shoulder pads the size of small moons and can hold a Gatling gun. Then there is a sniper for long range, plus a toad that I didn't get the chance to play as. These are your troops, and you will need to assess your team's chemistry to get the best results during a level. At one point I was rocking the sniper and the pistol robot Bunker, but the rate of fire made it very tricky to maintain constant fire again hordes of enemies. So, mixing and matching will probably prove key.

There is an overworld where the story will play out with these main characters — I am told that this will be a fun sci-fi adventure with some of those Cowboy Bebop-esque western elements — and the environments are really stunning, though I didn't catch enough of the dialogue to assess the tone. There will be various floors of a tower to play through, much like a reverse of The Ascent. Something like the Outer Wilds used text to tell one of the most complex and cerebral stories seen in the medium so it's not like sci-fi and text can't coalesce, but I'm curious about getting the western aspects into the dialogue since that genre is often defined by the absence of speaking (unless you are Dutch van der Lind). That is to say, creating an engaging text-based adventure will require a high standard of writing and I am excited to see how it pans out.

Endless DungeonEndless Dungeon has a lass with mighty fine shoulder pads

With all of that context sorted, what is it like to actually play? Well, incredibly solid and engaging. This is where the twin-stick aspect shines because it gives you something familiar to help you get to grips but slowly drops in more of that roguelite "please god, no, don't fail" pressure. The shooting is good and the weapons are exceptionally chonky. That means fighting was as much fun as exploring, a balance often lacking in many other roguelites. I think, ingeniously, the limitations of having to select one room to enter and dealing with those consequences bring a really strong risk-reward potential as the difficulty ramps up.

In one instance, I opened up far too many doors and — as my little robot pal crawled to the next checkpoint — I realised I hadn't placed enough turrets to keep it adequately protected in my hasty door-opening exploration phase. With hordes of enemies streaming through open doors much like a doomed round of CoD Zombies, I was sniping away at long range, using special abilities, and manically placing traps along the route. When my bot arrived, surrounded by death and destruction and a few misplaced healing stations, it was on a sliver of health. I was sweating and wide-eyed at my own success, perhaps a little embarrassed at the fact that I had audibly squeaked a little at the sight of the health bar in front of seven people.
While I completed the level, the immediate temptation was to jump back in because that last haul was a thrill very few games manage to nail, but Endless Dungeon might have it in spades. The dev team wasn't willing to tell me about what the reward systems or currencies would look like, though I think it's clear the story will be the reward here — a refreshing change from games that announce every micro-currency and unlockable skin before they have shown any gameplay. My only real concern is that the aesthetic — as opposed to graphical fidelity — might not always shine as brightly as in other roguelites. For example, Returnal has flaring bullets lighting up dark worlds and the late-night sci-fi art style of Transistor remains stuck in the head as excellently unique design, but Endless Dungeon didn't have anything immediate that I would hook onto. However, given I only saw two levels and the first hub world, that is a rather unfair assumption to make and I'd reserve judgment until release.

Throughout this piece, I've noted a lot of games that compare to Endless Dungeon because it pulls from plenty of genres, but there is definitely an identity of its own here with the twin-stick fun, tower defence aspects, and the potential of the overarching story. Moreover, it crash landed my attention onto a space station and wouldn't let me leave, something nearly impossible with so much buzz at Gamescom. Speaking to Jean-Max Moris and the other developers about the story only enticed me further. Frankly, I think you should be watching out for this video game ship entering Earth's atmosphere next year — it could be a sleeper hit.

For more impressions from Gamescom, check out For more Gamescom coverage, check out the Mount and Blade 2 Bannerlord impressions, Hyenas preview, our Wanted Dead preview, and the three stories on The Callisto Protocol's DLC, PS5 audio, trophies, and its aversion to PS Plus, as well as the Tunic interview we had! That is a lot, huh? Get in the comments to chat about it!
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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