Knights of the Rogue Dungeon is a dungeon-hopping roguelite from indie developer Atooi. The team behind the side-scrolling Mutant Mudds has put its lens on a fast-paced isometric adventure, leaning into Q*bert territory to create something simple yet addictive. Let’s find out what makes it tick.

In Knights of the Rogue Dungeon, you play the role of a blocky knight on a quest to cleanse the dungeons. This cleansing is achieved by hopping on every platform within a level, changing its color to indicate a visit. Revisiting doesn’t change it back, so the sole goal is to ensure all platforms have been stepped on at least once.

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Several elements help complicate this seemingly simple task. Enemies are dotted around each dungeon, doing their own series of hops. Touching an enemy means instant death, requiring you to restart from the first level of that world, so avoidance is key. Unless..

If you take eight consecutive steps on uncleansed platforms, you transform into a proper knight, complete with shiny armor. You can now also vanquish those pesky enemies simply by jumping onto their square. This is where things start to get interesting. As long as you don’t land on a square you’ve already been on, you’ll stay in knight mode. The fewer platforms you revisit, the more time you spend in as a powerful knight. It also increases your ability to collect points and coins.

Coins are particularly important. You see, there’s a nasty death tax when you perish. When you first play Knights of the Rogue Dungeon, this death tax is a whopping 50%, meaning you only keep half of the coins you collect. You can reduce this amount by upgrading your character in the shop between rounds. The first thing I did was to get this tax right down to 0% to maximize my earnings. 

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Other items are for sale, too. One especially useful item reduces the number of steps it takes to switch to knight mode. This becomes important in later stages or boss fights when things get trickier. Enemies have different patterns or move faster, so being invincible sooner is key. You can also purchase one-off items that allow you to continue after dying or vanquish all on-screen foes. 

Cleansing new squares without revisiting them isn’t always possible, thanks to each level’s randomized layout. You have to plan your route to minimize your vulnerability. It’s super satisfying to find the best path that keeps your knight mode switched on for the longest time. 

Graphically, this one leans into a blocky, pixelated approach and pulls it off nicely. You can choose from several colorful avatars before setting out on your quest. Each character looks unique, and the various costumes are a nice touch (there’s even one based on Max from Mutant Mudds). 

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The game is divided into six worlds, with each set of levels themed accordingly. The tunes also change with each world, setting the tone with a neat backdrop of retro beats that are instantly catchy. 

I don’t have any real qualms with Knights of the Rogue Dungeon, except maybe for the lack of certain features. An online leaderboard would be nice, otherwise, my high score seems kind of pointless. I’d also love to see a “respawn” option after death. It’s not a huge deal, but currently you have to return to the main menu before selecting the world again. Given the strong “just one more” feeling this game provides, a quicker path to replay would be beneficial. 

I’d love to know about any plans for future updates, like new characters or levels. Having said that, it’s a tough title that will provide hours of entertainment as you work your way through. Thankfully, if you complete all levels within one world, you can restart from the beginning of that world rather than having to go back to the very beginning.

Overall, Knights of the Rogue Dungeon is a simple yet addictive dungeon-hopping game. It truly matches the phrase “easy to pick up, hard to put down”, with a strong replay element as you strive to conquer all six worlds. The upgrades, enemies, music, and layout combine to provide a uniquely fun experience that’s easy to enjoy.