When it comes to mobile gaming, it’s often tough to find something great, or even something good, without being assaulted by microtransactions, intrusive ads, and other annoyances. Indeed, looking for mobile games can typically feel like wading through a shoulder-deep liquefied landfill before finding something fun to play with that doesn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out with the nearest rusty bicycle handlebar. That’s why I’ve decided to cover the best mobile games to be found, once a week, here on APG Nation.
One kind of game the typical gamer may not expect to see on the mobile platform is the roguelike genre. For those who don’t know, a roguelike is a typically difficult game that relies on a player having the decision-making skills to keep themselves alive. Roguelike games are usually themed around the exploration of a dungeon or other structure. One example of a roguelike that has made its way to the mobile platform is Pixel Dungeon. Available on Android, Amazon, and Apple devices, and even with a $5 PC version on Steam, Pixel Dungeon is a notable entry in the mobile games lineup.
The player’s goal in Pixel Dungeon is to delve ever deeper, through sewers, a prison, caves, a dwarven city and more, in the search for the Amulet of Yendor, an artifact deep below the surface. Players may choose between four classes (one of which is locked until defeating the third boss) and will need to manage hunger, health, strength, level, and items carefully in order to reach the Amulet. Gameplay is smooth, and works in turns, with every item use, equip, or movement to one tile counting as a turn. Combat is easy to understand – just tap the enemy you wish to strike – and the difficulty is reasonably challenging for a roguelike.
So, what makes Pixel Dungeon unique, aside from its genre? Firstly, the game never displays advertisements in-game or anywhere else. In fact, the game is even devoid of microtransactions, allowing the user to experience a complete game without being bombarded by cash grabs or intrusive advertisements. The developer only requests donations, and the game’s start-up screen boasts a small pile of gold for players to donate to the developer. Truly a unique trait among games on this platform.
If the promise of no ads or microtransactions isn’t good enough, then what about the many different modded versions available? Modders often publish their altered versions of Pixel Dungeon on the Play Store, App Store, or other distribution systems. One of the most popular examples is Shattered Pixel Dungeon, which adds more features and revamps some aspects of the game. The lack of monetization of Pixel Dungeon allows for this level of choice for the consumer and is quite astonishing to see in the world of mobile gaming.
As with all games, Pixel Dungeon is not perfect. The game does not switch between landscape and portrait at will – this is a setting the player must change manually. Also, the game’s difficulty may be a deterrent to players who wish for a more casual experience. However, these issues are not necessarily flaws with the game itself and are inevitable complaints due to the nature of the platform.
If you enjoy roguelikes, demanding gameplay, and never having to see a single ad or microtransaction, then Pixel Dungeon may be the game for you. Even if you aren’t a fan of mobile gaming, the game is available on Steam, and for just $5. The game is worth a shot, and you may just fall in love.