Great free Steam roguelike Die in the Dungeon Origins gets an upgrade

I always love stumbling across something unexpected that catches my attention, and free Steam game Die in the Dungeon Origins is one of my favorite such games in 2023. This prequel to the full Die in the Dungeons can be thought of a bit like an early access look at the upcoming deck-building roguelike that blends Slay the Spire and Dicey Dungeons, but it’s available to play for free, and centers around a prologue adventure setting up the events of the full game. Now, a new update gives it some welcome additional options and items to find, along with a helping of bug fixes.

Die in the Dungeon has quickly become one of my most anticipated games following my time with prequel game Origins, which I keep finding myself diving back into regularly since its launch at the start of December. It takes the core concepts of deck-building roguelike games such as Slay the Spire and Dicey Dungeons but gives them a distinctive, dice-based twist. Mix in its gorgeous pixel art, bug-based designs that fill the Hollow Knight Silksong-shaped hole in my heart, and music reminiscent of classic RPGs like Chrono Trigger, and you have a recipe for success.

Die in the Dungeon Origins 2.2.2, also known as the ‘Balance and Cameos’ update, makes “multiple balance changes to smooth out the experience” along with introducing five new relics, some additional rewards, and a few welcome menu tweaks. “The aim is to make the initial and middle phase of runs less punishing, giving players more autonomy to players to build their strategies and decks,” developer ATICO says.

While I’ve had a blast with the game so far, I’ve definitely encountered some runs that burn out incredibly quickly because they run into a wall they aren’t prepared to deal with, so a little smoothing of the balance curve sounds like a great improvement to me. That’s even more helpful as the five new relics must be unlocked by reaching a certain number of floors before you can use them, and a special reward will now be awarded on the first floor of a run if you made “significant progress” in the previous attempt.

The interface will now show and visually stack effects on dice from multiple sources, making it easier to parse whether your more complex attack patterns are working as intended. Damage-dealing relics will now also trigger the effects of other relics that are activated by player attacks, such as the Bloody Fang.

The game’s tutorial has also been moved to the game’s settings menu, and in-game tutorials can be disabled entirely if preferred. ATICO says it’s also working on an alternate font for those who find the pixel style tougher to read.

Die in the Dungeon Origins update - The player places dice onto a board to determine its attacks in this deck-building roguelike game.

I’m already looking forward to getting my hands on the full Die in the Dungeon, which will feature more characters with their own distinct board layouts and dice types, even more events and relics, and a deeper campaign mode. But it’s great to see that ATICO is continuing to support its free prequel beyond the initial release too, and this latest update building on community feedback shows plenty of promise for the final product.

In the meantime, take a look through more of the best free Steam games for plenty more great ways to play without spending money. Or, if you’re itching for some actual ‘decks’ in your roguelike deck builders, you’ll certainly find some among the best card games on PC.

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