Way back in 2015 a game called Pixel Dungeon was released on the App Store, a mobile port of the very popular roguelike dungeon crawler from developer Watabou. Pixel Dungeon struck a perfect balance between depth and approachability for the notoriously obtuse and unwelcoming roguelike genre, and it was a perfect fit for mobile devices, as we noted in our review at the time. The only problem was that not long after Pixel Dungeon released on iOS, Watabou considered the game complete and ceased working on it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fully-featured and amazingly deep game, but the iOS version hasn’t been updated in over 5 years and, well, that might as well be forever in the world of mobile.
Prior to the iOS release in 2015 Watabou had made the Pixel Dungeon project open source, which invited the large community of fans to tinker with it and release all sorts of mods and alternate versions. One such alternate version was from developer Shattered Pixel aka Evan Debenham, whose project was the appropriately titled Shattered Pixel Dungeon. Evan began working on his version of the game right after it went open source in 2014, intending it to be a simple rebalancing of the game and a means to getting his feet wet in game development. Probably wouldn’t take more than a few months, tops.
Well here we are, seven years later, and Shattered Pixel Dungeon has finally made it to version 1.0 to coincide with its launch on iOS. The game has been freely available on Android for all this time and has seen countless updates, tweaks, and new content over the years. If you were familiar with the original Pixel Dungeon the bones of that are still very much here, but Shattered Pixel Dungeon is just such a finely honed version of the game with even more content and a much more approachable feel. It’s like a super fan making their own remastered version of a beloved game and releasing it for everyone to play.
Don’t be fooled though. This is not a hack ‘n slash dungeon crawler, or “roguelike" in just a couple of areas. This is a real-deal roguelike game that demands a lot from its players. You will die, and die a lot, and then you’ll die some more after that. You might never even beat the game! Hopefully though, each death will bring with it a lesson (or at the very least a good story to tell your friends on how you met your demise in some brutal fashion) and you’ll use that lesson to become a better player, and just maybe you’ll make it just a wee bit further in your next run. Rinse, repeat, and enjoy. Shattered Pixel Dungeon is a desert island game if there ever was one, and fans of the original Pixel Dungeon or roguelikes in general owe it to themselves to invest in this excellent version.