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Promising new Steam roguelike reveals big updates after demo success

New roguelike game Die in the Dungeon is set to expand its successful free demo for Steam Next Fest, and has plenty of new features coming.

Promising new Steam roguelike Die in the Dungeon shows off new features coming in big update for its free demo - A smiling cartoon frog holds a short sword.

While my Balatro fever has cooled ever so slightly now that I’m past the 100 hour mark, my passion for new Steam roguelikes continues to burn, red-hot and unabated. News of Slay the Spire 2 has me returning to the epochal deckbuilder, but running alongside it in my anticipation levels is Die in the Dungeon. The dice-based strategy game from developer ATICO wowed me with a free demo in December 2023, and now a big update is coming just in time for the imminent Steam Next Fest.

The Die in the Dungeon Origins demo, which acts as a free prologue to the upcoming roguelike game, has garnered a 95% Steam score from over 2,000 user reviews – no small feat for a tiny indie studio. “We’re happy to see many of you are still playing it,” the developer writes in its latest update. “We’ve received tons of useful feedback, which we’ve immediately started processing.”

If you’ve yet to check out Die in the Dungeon for yourself, the quick pitch is that it’s a roguelike much in the vein of games like Slay the Spire where you face off against numerous enemies in a series of battles. Rather than a deck of cards to deal your devastation, however, you roll a selection of dice from your ‘deck’ each turn and then place these down on a central grid to determine your moves.

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Red dice deal damage, blue dice block against incoming attacks, green dice heal – and that’s just where things begin. Purple boost dice amplify the effects of other nearby dice, while the cyan prism dice can be used to spread buffs across even wider areas of the board. You’ll also encounter additional Balatro-style modifiers, such as flash dice that take immediate effect when placed and glass dice that can only be used once per encounter.

Previously, the dice in question were all six-sided (although they didn’t always feature a normal 1-6 number layout). That’s all about to change, however: ATICO’s new update teases a series of four-sided dice, along with some other new features such as area attacks and poison effects.

Die in the Dungeons update - New four-sided dice (D4s) to choose from.

Perhaps even more exciting, however, is the reveal of a new map system. The current version of Die in the Dungeons Origins features an entirely linear progression, with you simply facing battles and encounters in a preset sequence that you had no control over. Now, however, ATICO introduces a travel map, something the dev says it has “wanted to add for a long time.”

“At the same time, we wanted to find a different approach on the usual way maps work in other roguelikes,” it explains. “A signature element of our design is dice and the ability to control randomness. Thus, dice rolls determine your fate not only during battles but also during movement through the game world.”

Looking at the system in action, it appears that you’ll roll a series of up to four dice at once, and will then be able to use these to move along the board, with splits in the path giving you the option to determine which road you want to travel. Along with the standard battles and random encounters, there are also broken dice squares and campfires – we’ll just have to wait until the new system rolls out to see exactly how these get used.

Die in the Dungeon map system - A screenshot of the new system, with two possible paths for the player to travel down.

A new Die in the Dungeon Origins demo update is set to launch Monday June 10 alongside Steam Next Fest. It will feature the map system and new dice types, along with “some other surprises.”

ATICO notes, “From a gameplay perspective, the game has become much more diverse, so we want to make sure we’re moving in the right direction.” The full game is set to launch in 2024 via Steam Early Access, and while it’s remaining cautious on an actual announcement, ATICO says this might arrive “sooner than you might think.”

For plenty more quick-thinking challenges that won’t rush you to make a decision, here are the best turn-based strategy games available right now. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on all the biggest and best upcoming PC games in 2024 and beyond, and we’ve got you covered there too.

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