When it comes to old high fantasy video games, it is impossible not to incorporate some dungeon-crawling elements. Dungeon crawler games or many referred to as roguelike games have been around since the golden age of video gaming. The concept of dungeon crawlers can be traced back to the mid-70s when high fantasy settings rapidly emerged. One of the early video games that utilized the idea is a text-based adventure in 1976 entitled Colossal Cave Adventure which eventually became the inspiration behind other popular high fantasy video game titles like Zork, Adventureland, Mystery House, and more.
Generally, as the term suggests, dungeon crawling is a part of a game where a hero or the main player navigates eerie and often procedurally-generated dungeons. The objective is to survive the dungeon and defeat all the enemies and bosses that you will encounter along the way. The dungeons are often depicted as dark places filled with monsters and deadly traps. At the same time, dungeons are great places to find rare items and treasures. As years passed by and as the game technology drastically evolves, dungeon crawlers have become more sophisticated and immersive. Despite this, many developers are still attempting to capture the classic dungeon crawlers by providing some retrospective elements to their games. Today, we are listing down ten of the best free-to-play dungeon crawler games for your mobile devices.
The title itself is pretty much straightforward. Caves is a game created by an indie Russian developer Valeriy Ponomarev that takes you on a retro-inspired adventure. The goal is to navigate a seemingly endless cave dungeon and become an ultimate hero by defeating all the enemies you will encounter along the way. The game takes you to a pixel-art-style environment but unlike other dungeon crawlers, the game will not offer a predefined path. Equipped with a trusty pick-axe, you have to dig through the cave until you find rooms that might either contain treasures or traps.
The game starts with a character creation in which you can set attributes according to your own preferences. You begin your journey in your main base and you can soon expand by manually exploring the cave. As you create new paths, you will encounter hordes of enemies from skeletons to other powerful creatures. You can also take advantage of the loots to upgrade your character, or better yet look for rare armor and weapons to make you more efficient and maximize your chances of surviving. Caves managed to capture the classic dungeon crawlers and if you want to have an authentic retrospective experience, this game will surely not disappoint.
Download Caves: Android
Simple, fun, and undeniably addictive! This is how you can perfectly describe OneBit Adventure. Developed and published by Galactic Slice, OneBot Adventure takes you on one nostalgic journey. The game is notably not adorned with any visually appealing and sophisticated details and pays a wonderful homage to classic high fantasy video games. The game doesn’t follow any deep storyline but takes you on one epic journey. As soon as the game starts, it will ask you to pick your desired hero. It comes with six unique classes to choose from; warrior, blood knight, necromancer, pyromancer, archer, and thief. Each comes with different attributes and different skills.
It is also interesting to note that you can control your character in this game and navigate the upscrolling map even with just one hand. Simply swipe the character in the map to move forward or backward. To engage in battle, simply move your character adjacent to the enemy to attack. As you progress, you will encounter a great number of enemies along the way. The more you kill, the more experience you will earn, and if you gained enough points, your character will level up and you’ll obtain skill points that you can distribute to your chosen ability to make your hero more efficient in the battle. Players can also take advantage of the treasures and coins that they can collect from the game. Appearance-wise, OneBit Adventure features retro-style graphics that are wonderfully accompanied by a classic 8-bit sound that will make your gaming experience even more fun and nostalgic.
Pixel Dungeon by watabou is another traditional roguelike game that takes you to another nostalgic environment. The game generally follows a story of a hero who will go on an epic journey to search for the so-called Amulet of Yendor that is hidden in the depths of the dungeon. The game starts by allowing the player to select his preferred class. Currently, the game comes with four classes to choose from. These include the Warrior, Mage, Rogue, and Huntress (only available upon defeating the 3rd-level Boss). The mechanics are generally simple and easily manageable yet like many dungeon-crawler games, Pixel Dungeon is also notable for its unpredictability.
As you enter the eerie and enigmatic dungeon, you will have no guide and no map to rely on. The visibility is also very limited within the dungeon and you will have no idea of what dangers awaits you on the other side of the dark. Staying faithful to the clasxsic roguelike game, players may also encounter treasures along the way. These items can be used as weapons, armor, potions, or many others that you can use to maximize your chances of surviving. Take note that the game uses a “permanent death” system which means that if you get killed, you will lose all your items and you have no other options but to start a new game. If you are up for an epic dungeon-crawling experience, Pixel Dungeon is surely a great choice.
Soda Dungeon 2
With its colorful retro-style graphics, unique gameplay, and a hilarious storyline, Soda Dungeon is indeed worth exploring. Developed by Shawn Tanner of Afro-Ninja Productions and published by Armor Games, Soda Dungeon was an absolute hit. Following the success of the first game, Soda Dungeon 2 offers a vast of wonderful upgrades. Unlike your traditional dungeon crawlers, Soda Dungeon 2 comes with unique gameplay. After losing your memory from an epic battle with the Dark Lord, you found yourself in a tavern. To redeem your lost glory, you have to explore the dungeon and defeat as many enemies as you can. This time, however, you will be accompanied by other heroes and some other soda junkies that you hired to finish the epic fight once and for all.
As soon as you enter the dungeon, you have the option to turn the Auto combat or not. Once you get killed, you have no other option but to go back to the tavern and repeat the same sequence. It means that the enemies are not procedurally generated and come with the same sequence of battle. Therefore, you know when exactly the boss will arrive and you know when your team will be ambushed. Speaking of teams, you can build a party and hire heroes to accompany you in your battle. To hire more efficient heroes, you need to upgrade your tavern and the sodas they offer. The bigger the upgrade, the more powerful heroes will arrive. If you think you are skillful enough to master this dungeon crawler game, feel free to explore Soda Dungeon 2 and see how far you can go.
Moonshades is generally a modern take to your classic dungeon-crawler RPG. Instead of treating you with retro-style visuals, the game is presented in a nice 3D environment from a first-person perspective. The game is developed and published by BaldrickSoft. The game takes you to the kingdom of Harten, a once prosperous place until it was conquered by dark forces. Luckily, two mighty heroes from different realms came to rescue the kingdom and will try their best to bring it back to its former glory. In this game, you will play the role of two heroes. You start the game with character customization which will prompt you immediately to the eerie underground dungeon.
The mechanics are generally simple and works similarly to a standard dungeon crawler but from a first-person perspective. You can navigate around the 3D map using the tap-based direction buttons. Like any roguelike game, expect that you will encounter a great number of enemies along the way. To engage in combat, simply tap the target and hit the attack or skill buttons to start inflicting damage on enemies. You are also encouraged to look for items, weapons, armor, and treasures as you navigate the eerie-looking dungeon. Appearance-wise, Moonshades is an absolute visual delight that treats you with visually appealing graphics that are cleverly accompanied by a well-fitting piece of enigmatic music to set the mood right. If you are looking for a unique dungeon crawler, Moonshades is definitely something you can confidently add to your game list.
Pathos: Nethack Codex
Dungeon Crawler games are always described as a frustratingly challenging types of RPGs. Interestingly, this is what you are about to experience when playing Pathos: Nethack Codex. Not only this game captures retro-style graphics but it also adapts the levels of difficulty that most traditional roguelike games are known for. The game is developed by Callan Hodgskin and is mainly based on the 1987 video game Nethack. As soon as the game starts, you will be asked to select your preferred adventurer. There are 13 characters to choose from and each comes with its unique skills and attributes. You can also create a party by adding 2 to 4 more adventurers on your journey.
The game, however, is notably complex and requires a lot of understanding before you can master the full mechanics. It is designed for pure-blood roguelike gamers who grew up enjoying this difficult yet surprisingly addictive game. As you navigate around the eerie map, you will encounter numerous mobs and monsters along the way. Using your skills and weapons, you must find your way to survive the dungeon while gathering as much loot and treasures as possible. If you are looking for both challenge and fun, Pathos: Nethack Codex is definitely the right game for you.
Eternium is another retro-inspired mobile game developed and published by Dream Primer and Making Fun Studio respectively. Formerly known as Mage and Minions, the game takes you to a multi-planet universe of swords, aliens, and space-faring dragons. While the game managed to capture the nostalgic roguelike mechanics, this mobile game treats you to modern and visually stunning 3D graphics. As soon as the game starts, you will be asked to select your preferred class or hero. Currently, there are three classes to choose from; Warrior, Mage, and Bounty Hunter.
Once done, you will be prompted immediately to the virtual world where you fight against a great number of enemies. The game is wonderfully optimized for mobile devices, allowing you to navigate and interact with the game using simple tap and swipe controls. The best part about this unique yet nostalgic RPG is that you can actually play Eternium offline. Similar to a traditional dungeon crawler game, you can navigate around eerie and bewildering dungeons and fight against an interminable number of enemies along the way. You are also encouraged to collect loots, valuable items, and treasures that are randomly hidden in caves and dungeons. If you are looking for a nostalgic gaming experience and modern-looking visuals, Eternium will certainly give you the best of both worlds.
Developed and published by ChillyRoom, Soul Knight takes you on a colorful and exciting journey of a mighty hero. It all started when the magic stone relics were stolen by some bad guys. Now, your goal is to retrieve the magic stones and bring the world back to its former glory. Soul Knight may not be as complex as Pathos or as nostalgic as Pixel Dragon, but the game is still special on its own. What really makes this game more challenging are the rooms that will automatically close upon entering. In order to escape, you must clear all the enemies that will randomly appear to attack you.
The game also comes with a simple weaponry system. Your hero is equipped with one melee and one ranged weapon and you can switch any time you want. You can obtain more weapons through chests that are randomly scattered on each map. To top it all off, Soul Knight offers other equally engaging campaigns. There is a Multiplayer mode that allows you to team up with friends and hunt for bosses, there is a Tower Defense Mode that will truly put your skills to a test, and also some casual campaigns that allow you to do gardening, fishing, and raising pets. Not to mention that there are more than 400 weapons to be acquired in this game and more than 20 unique heroes to unlock.
Dungeon of Gods
Super Planet created a very unique concept with their Dungeon of Gods game. Described as an Assault Action RPG, this game takes players to an endless battle where you play the role of a Demigod and you fight against an interminable number of enemies including those with God-like powers. While it does sound like a hardcore RPG, the mechanics for Dungeon of Gods is surprisingly simple and requires lesser actions. Instead of dealing with a bunch of tap-based buttons to execute different attacks, this game will only feature a single set of skills that are performed automatically by simply guiding your character in the right direction. You are provided with a virtual joypad that you can use to navigate around the 3D dungeon.
The trickiest part of the game is that you have the same life bar for the entire chapter. It means that the remaining health points that you have from the first stage will remain unchanged as you progress to the next one. If the character gets killed, the player will have no other option but to start the entire chapter back from the very beginning. Upgrades will also play a huge role in this game. You can upgrade your weapon, gear, and accessories using the coins you collected from the dungeon. Aside from the main campaign, Dungeon of Gods also offer more challenging modes to explore, including the Dark Tower mode, Rune Dungeon, Item Dungeon, Material Dungeon, and more. Appearance-wise. the game is also an absolute visual delight that treats you with remarkable graphics and action sequences.
From the same team behind the Icebreaker: A Viking Voyage and Silly Sausage comes another adorable yet surprisingly tricky dungeon crawler game. Rust Bucket takes you on an epic adventure. As the title suggests, your goal is to play the role of a rusty Viking bucket. Unlike other dungeon crawlers, the game is notably turn-based. It means that with every move you make, the enemies will also take turns and move to an adjacent grid. Moving around the area is also a bit tricky. Instead of using a tap-based button or a virtual joypad, players should swipe the screen to move the Rust bucket in their preferred direction. It is also interesting to note that instead of moving down the dungeon, the character will move one level higher every time it clears a stage.
Aside from the enemies that you encounter along the way, the map is also filled with many deadly traps that you must avoid or surpass at all costs. Take note that you only have one life to spare. If you get killed either by an enemy or a trap, you have no other option but to start back to the last checkpoint. Appearance-wise, Rust Bucket features adorable and well-polished retro-style graphics (a signature style used by Nitrome in all of their mobile games). Despite the apparent simplicity of its mechanics, Rust Bucket is surprisingly challenging that requires players to analyze each map carefully to maximize their winnings.
There is a great reason why Dungeon crawlers or Roguelike games are still effective today. They provide a great challenge, a decent level of intensity, and a great amount of unpredictability, making these games absolutely worth exploring. Feel free to explore our list of the Ten Best Dungeon Crawler app games and see which one you like the most. Good luck and have fun!
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