Into the Dim (Free) by Happymagenta is a retro-style dungeon crawler RPG that will hit you with a sense of nostalgia as you play. If you liked other roguelike RPG games such as Tiny Rogue or Microgue, then Into the Dim will be right up your alley.
At some point in the past several years, I discovered roguelike games and I instantly fell in love with them. I’m not sure why, but it’s something about the fact that each run only lasts so long before it ends, and the challenge is definitely something I welcome in games nowadays. Plus, it’s always a rewarding feeling whenever you find yourself getting further in the game than you did before. I’ve gone through dozens of roguelikes on iOS in the past few years, but I’m always getting a kick out of them and looking for more. So naturally, when I heard of Into the Dim coming to the App Store this week, I had to check it out for myself.
As I grew up, one of the things I could not go anywhere without was my Game Boy, grayscale graphics and all. It was my favorite gadget back then, because it provided me with hours of entertainment. Into the Dim brings back my childhood with the pixelated 16-bit art style that comes in full grayscale coloring, so when I see this game, it feels like I’m holding a Game Boy in my hands again. Despite the pixelated appearance, the visuals are fairly detailed, and all animations are smooth and fluid as you go. To top off the vintage gaming feel, Into the Dim comes complete with a quirky chiptune soundtrack that is a delight to hear, and the sound effects are a nice touch.
In Into the Dim, players will find a tale of a boy and his dog, who leads him into dangerous dungeons while wanting to show him something mysterious. To progress in the game, players will go through dungeon rooms one-at-a-time, trying to outwit nasty monsters and avoiding dangerous traps. Like all other roguelike RPG games, you’ll have to think ahead to survive, so careful planning is necessary, especially since your sight is limited mostly to the circle around you. To top things off, there will be puzzles that have to be solved if you want to advance, so some thinking is required as well. At least you’ll be armed with a gun, so you aren’t completely helpless out there. Once you find the key on each floor and get to the door, the next area will be available.
The controls in Into the Dim are pretty straightforward, though I wouldn’t say that they are the most intuitive or best-placed. In the bottom center of the screen, there will be four buttons for directional movement along the grid-based dungeon floors. If you are adjacent to a foe, tap the correct button to attack in that direction. Since you are armed with a ranged weapon as well, just tap on the ammo button adjacent to the arrows and the movement buttons change to ranged attack. But be careful — your ammo is in limited supply, so don’t waste them.
Since Into the Dim is a turn-based RPG, enemy monsters will make their move after you. However, there is the option for you to skip moving and let the enemies move, which can be used to your advantage in certain situations. To do this, just tap on the button that is to the right of the directional arrows. You can use this to skip your turn whenever you need to, and it can lead to some strategic positioning on the floor. Honestly, I think this is a rather neat addition to a turn-based roguelike RPG, and wish other games had this as well.
As you brave your way through the dungeon rooms, you may find treasure chests every now and then. These have mini-games or puzzles that you have to solve in order to unlock them and gain access to the treasures within, which are usually coins or other goodies. The coins may also drop from defeated foes as well, so it’s in your best interest to outwit them to slay them. The coins can be used in the shop in-between runs for upgrades to your hearts (start off with three), ammo (five from the start), and how many moves you can make before the enemy takes a turn (initially three). Things can be a bit pricey though, so you’d better save that pocket change. There will also be a daily free gift room for some freebies, and a bonus level that will be available after you’ve completed at least 50 percent of the game, or you can unlock it early with coins.
As if the difficulty of the game was not enough to keep you busy, there is also Game Center support for leaderboards and achievements, so the replay value is pretty high here. You can also watch videos to continue a run or earn extra coins, and there is an optional in-app purchase for removing ads (or getting more coins if you so desire).
I love roguelike RPGs, so Into the Dim is a nice addition to my collection. I’m in love with the eccentric chiptune soundtrack, the visuals take me back to my childhood, and the game itself is rather challenging. I’m just not that big of a fan of the controls, because it feels a bit clumsy to me when they are in the middle. In all honesty, I think swiping controls work better for a game like this, with toggles for switching to ranged and skipping your turn. Perhaps the developer can consider that in the future.
Still, I recommend checking out Into the Dim if you’re a fan of old-school roguelike RPG games and want something challenging this weekend. You can find Into the Dim on the App Store as a universal download for your iPhone and iPad for free with optional in-app purchases.