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Before computers had the hardware for 3D games, some games still managed a 3D view on a limited scale in dungeon crawlers. The 3D views were created with prerendered walls and ground that were composed together. Due to this you were restricted to 90 degree turns and movement was restricted to squares on a grid. The game might draw a few in between frames when walking forward but those were already rendered and you couldn't stop halfway between these squares.

Last year dungeoncrawlers.org organized the Dungeon Crawler Jam 2021. They returned again this year and over forty games were submitted. Some are very much in the vein of classic dungeon crawlers, while others have modern elements. I have not played through them all but have picked some the entries that I've tried and recommend. Games without Linux versions were run on the latest Wine version available on Fedora. There may be some small spoilers in the descriptions but I've tried to keep that to a minimum.

Cycle of Spore

An explosion knocked you unconscious while on a school trip to a garden maze. The explosion has spread seedlings everywhere. Most of your classmates are probably infected but you focus on trying to find your friends.

The purple and cyan colors of the environment and monsters contribute to the horror setting. Your health is represented with leaves on a vine which fits the setting. Sometimes the monster graphics didn't appear but otherwise I didn't have any problems playing the game.


An alien spacecraft broke apart in low orbit and rained debris and toxic substances down on the earth. Humanity used the alien technology to construct domed cities but cannot repair the machines. You are a relic seeker travelling the wasteland for alien technology to keep the domed cities functioning.

You start in the safety of your vehicle. You can purchase equipment and save before descending into a dungeon. The toxic air requires you to bring your own oxygen which limits the time you have to explore. Beware of the mutant creatures inhabiting the dungeons. After collecting as much as you feel is safe, you can drive to a new dungeon to explore.

Aegir Rising

You awake with no memory but a voice over a speaker helps you out. You appear to be on an underwater base after an experiment on the base has gone horribly wrong.

The game feels similar to the game Soma but has it's own story. The enemies appear as cardboard cut-outs which gives the game a unique look. It is a little dark on my display but is playable.

It Came from the Forest

An unknown darkness has fallen on the area. All people know is that it came from the forest.

This game follows a more classic dungeon crawler design with a fantasy setting. The game includes a short tutorial area to explain some mechanics found in older games like illusionary walls and teleporters. Combats are real time with only a few options. There is no Linux version but the game uses Love2D and includes the source code. Instead of using Wine, I was able to run it with the native Love2D on Fedora.

Hz So Good

After hacking into a computer system, you need to avoid or defeat the security systems to find data to sell.

The game has psychedelic visual style that works for the setting. In addition to integrity which serves as your health you have storage space. You need to upgrade your storage to get larger data files. You purchase warez to fool the systems to give you greater access and add offensive capabilities.

Dumbest Dungeon

Dumbest Dungeon is a parody fantasy setting where you explore dungeons and battle using cards. The card battle system is fun with humorous card abilities. The visual style is great for the tone of the game. Remember to pet Mr Mittens before entering the dungeon.

Gift of Fire

War has raged between the surface animals and the Underground Kingdom. After the Rat King stole the Gift of Fire, the surface has been growing colder. The Underground Kingdom has flourished but one soldier has seen enough death from the conflict and tries to return the Gift of Fire.

While many game jam entries are solo efforts, a team of eight put together Gift of Fire. The team has put in an amazing amount of work in graphics, gameplay and level design. The combat system displays a pattern of "abc" which you need to quickly memorize and enter before the time runs out. As the game progresses the patterns get longer. It didn't seem that interesting but it proved more fun than I expected. The level have a collection of keys and switches to discover.

Digging Dungeon

No story is provided for this entry. You are simply tasked with collecting twenty five emeralds. The real time combat system is well done but the high random encounter rate mars the experience. The developer plans to fix the enemy spawn rate after the game jam's rating period is over. If you persevere, you encounter the digging mechanic and a second enemy type. It makes me curious what more could be done with this design.


"Labyrinth is a short mind bending dungeon puzzler, where you must crawl on every surface to find your way out."

The description from the game page gives the best explanation of this game. You walk up walls to pass barriers which makes it a very different dungeon crawler.

The Tomb of the King Arcadeus

You have discovered the Tomb of the King Arcadeus but there are multiple challenges before you reach the king's final resting place.

This one doesn't really feel like a dungeon crawler to me but I'm not the gatekeeper to dungeon crawlers. In this game you play a series of minigames as you explore the dungeon. The minigames are well done and give a different experience from any of the other games mentioned here.

The Game Jam and all submissions be found on itch.io.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
About the author -
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I am an open source game developer. I write about games and try to restore ones that no longer work. As a Fedora packager, I try to improve the games available with the distribution.
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pageround Apr 30, 2022
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I submitted one to the jam!

More of a proof of concept, but a good starting point. Plus its just really fun to have a deadline and a project. The discord is friendly and active.

Really good experience overall.
crse May 1, 2022
Thanks for the article.

It's always nice to see individual dev try to envision their imagination. I wonder if one of these will turn into popular game ona day.
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