Runestone Keeper [Steam store page]

This is a neat take on the typical dungeon-crawler formula, combining it with a heavy strategy element. You don't have an actual body, but you do have a health bar on the right-hand side. As you click dungeon tiles to reveal them you risk stepping on traps and injuring yourself, as well as running into enemies. Many enemies only damage you back when you attack them, but there are higher level ones that will deal damage every turn. Depending on the location of these enemies you may have to fight your way over to them, taking damage as you reveal tiles until you reach and can click on them.


The real strategy comes from the abilities of the enemies themselves. Some have abilities that are incredibly dangerous, others can actually help you avoid the dangerous ones. For instance, there's a tank type that passes double the damage done to it onto one of the other enemies. Another type reveals extra tiles every turn that you don't kill it - potentially exposing you to a lot of enemies very quickly.


Additionally you level up as you kill enemies, so you can't just blitz the exit for each level, but lingering too long is likely to cost you a lot of your very valuable health points - so even deciding when to leave a level is a balancing act. Exploring extra squares potentially also reveals utility items, shrines, and extra health - and the utility items in particular are crucial to your survival. Some exits are also locked, forcing you to figure out which enemy is holding the key, and kill it before moving on.


The game itself does revolve around repeated plays though, it isn't purely skill. So any gold you earn on a run can be spent at the shop before your next excursion to raise a variety of different stats, or even unlock new characters. Other characters are unlocked by reaching certain levels in the dungeon on specific game-modes. Normally I don't like this sort of balance, but the gameplay and complexity kept me engaged and didn't feel like I was just playing repeatedly to farm gold and level up.



Synopsis:A nice strategic twist on the dungeon-crawler genre, with a good variety of enemies and items to keep you interested while leveling your character.