Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Dicey Dungeons

Go To
It's about dice and stuff!
Dicey Dungeons is a Roguelike dungeon-crawler game by Terry Cavanagh, with art by Marlowe Dobbe and music by chipzel.

Six lucky (or unlucky) contestants have been selected to take part in Dicey Dungeons, the mysterious game show hosted by the one and only Lady Luck herself. Transformed into living dice, they must explore random maps full of monsters and fight their way to the bottom, armed only with a handful of dice to roll each turn, and a selection of equipment activated by placing said dice in each. Defeat the boss and win, and they will be rewarded with fantastic magical prizes. Fail, and their souls will forever be trapped in the dungeons as the very monsters that roam its halls.

The game was first released in alpha on July 6, 2018. The first nine builds were free to play, with the final free version being available here. The full game was released on August 13, 2019, and can be purchased on Terry's page as well as on Steam. A port for the Nintendo Switch was released on December 15, 2020.


Dicey Dungeons contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: Should you lose Lady Luck's game, your soul belongs to her.
  • Ascended Meme: The memetic "VICTIORE" spelling mistake from the French translation can be put back with an official mod after the error was corrected.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: The heroes are living dice.
  • Arc Number: Six. There's six main characters, transformed into six-sided dice, with six challenges each, involving six floors of Lady Luck's dungeons, and they can equip up to six pieces of gear at once...
  • Art Evolution: The early alpha versions used simple, pixelated sprites. Later versions switched to more detailed, high-resolution artwork.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI's pattern for enemies with multiple instances of the same countdown equipment (Sneezy, Rat King, and Buster, among others) always boils down to "fill in the leftmost equipment first". This can lead to these enemies making suboptimal plays if they partially completed the rightmost equipment on a previous turn — they won't finish it until they end up with a turn where they can complete all of the previous equipment or are blocked from doing so.
  • Advertisement:
  • Battle Boomerang: The Boomerang weapon, which has Boomerang Comeback by hurting the user for half the damage (exactly 3 when upgraded) dealt to the enemy.
  • Body Armor as Hit Points: The shield status basically acts as a second life bar, the difference being that there is no maximum shield amount and losing shield does not increase the limit break bar, unlike with the actual HP bar. Also, the poison status ignores shield and directly affects HPs.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • Unlike the other classes where the starting equipment is there to be replaced, the thief's dagger is a reliable enough damage tool to be used the entire run, thanks to being reusable. Upgrading the dagger might mean missing out on complex poison or weaken strategies, but the increased damage is usually more reliable.
    • In contrast to the Ultima Weapon, which falls under Difficult, but Awesome, the Robot's Buster Sword simply deals one dice of damage with no extra benefit (upgrading it adds +2 damage). However, it remains accessible even if you go bust, so it's a consistent and reliable source of damage that makes it safer to take risks with the dice.
  • Breakable Weapons: One of the Inventor episodes gives all the equipment limited usage, in exchange for more chests and changing the gadget system (now broken weapons become gadgets, making it more controllable).
  • Chest Monster: Alongside the standard Mimics that masquerade as chests, there are also animate Rotten Apples. Both are visually identical to their helpful counterparts on the map screen, but the tooltip text will give them away if you hover the mouse over them. You might still find yourself accidentally walking into them, regardless.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Usually averted, but exaggerated greatly with Lady Luck herself, who rolls a six each and every time. Naturally, this is complemented by her loadout, consisting of items that are only at their best, or work at all, when used with the sixes that she always rolls.
  • Deckbuilding Game: The Jester plays like this, with each piece of equipment being a drawable card. You're encouraged to keep the deck lean in order to get cards you want, especially ones that let you reuse dice or gives extra, given that you don't get more dice at level up.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Applies to the Jester if you beat them in battle six times, turning them into a playable character. In the final chapter, Back Stage, the news of your rebellion against Lady Luck means all the enemies will join your rapidly expanding party once you beat them, including either Audrey or Buster when you fight them as a Final Boss before Lady Luck appears as the True Final Boss.
    • Lady Luck becomes a lot more friendly and respectful after you defeat her.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Just about every card has an associated gadget the Inventor can make by scrapping it - including enemy cards that can only be attained and scrapped with the Reversal gadget. The few cards that don't have gadgets are never given to enemies and don't appear in the Inventor's item pool.
    • The Alchemist's Bear Potion can also work on you, if you steal it or inflict Curse? on Alchemist to reverse the card's target. Even more impressive, the Bear class has its own unique sprite, equipment, and Limit Break, and other characters will comment on the fact that you've now transformed into a bear.
    • In Bonus Round, the Marshmallow rule swaps all fire-related equipment with ice-related equipment. This contains some obvious swaps, like Fireball to Snowball, and Whip (burn on 6) to Lament (freeze on 6), but also introduces 19 exclusive cards for fire/ice cards that don't already have matching counterparts.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • The Witch's spells can have powerful effects, but using them can be tricky: first, you need to use a specific die (or multiple dice for her more powerful spells) to invoke the spell. Then, you have to use another die to actually cast it.
    • One of the Robot's weapons, the Ultima Weapon, is just a basic attack unless you Jackpot. If you do, your damage is doubled, and can get up to 12 damage just from the die.
    • For Jester, duplicating Dice Cannon (or other reusable Finishers) with Inventor's ability and using Snap! gives you the ability to deal infinite damage. It's heavily reliant on good luck to be able to set this up, however.
  • Drop the Hammer:
    • The card Hammer, which does raw damagenote  and shocks one of the enemy's cards if you put in a 6. If Inventor's art is anything to go by, this is a completely regular claw hammer.
    • The card Sledgehammer, only available in Parallel Universe and Bonus Round episodes, has a countdown of 10, and does 8 damage as well as shocking the enemy.
  • Dungeon Shop: There's a chance that one of the spaces on any level of a dungeon is a travelling merchant, where coins earned in battle can be spent on new gear, upgrades, or a healing apple.
  • Early Game Hell: While bad rolls can mean disaster at any point of a run, they are particularly punishing during the first couple of floors before you have time to build up dice manipulation and defensive options that let you recover from an unlucky roll. It's not unheard of to get defeated on the first floor simply because the enemy dealt too much damage too quickly.
  • Elite Mook: Occasionally you'll encounter glowing "super enemies" that have more health and better equipment than normal.
  • Electric Joybuzzer: The card that purely inflicts Shock is named "Buzzer".
  • Elemental Rock–Paper–Scissors: Some enemies (such as the Snowman) take extra damage from certain elemental attacks. The tooltip confusingly refers to the status effects, so enemies can be strong or weak against Poison, Burn, Freeze, Shock, or Weaken.
  • Enigmatic Minion: The Jester starts out as a lackey to Lady Luck, spinning the prize wheel at the end of a run and occasionally (and not willingly) fighting the dice.
  • Evil Counterpart: The Witch, who's competing in order to earn a ton of social media followers, has the counterpart of the Sorceress, who's always seen with her mobile phone.
  • Evolving Title Screen: As you unlock the various characters, they replace the plain dice Lady Luck is throwing out in front of her.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: After a run, Lady Luck allows a spin on the prize wheel, which has over a dozen winning spots and a single losing spot. The losing spot is landed on every single time, leading to another run through the dungeons.
  • Fight Like a Card Player: The playable Jester's gimmick is that it uses a deck of cards it swaps out every turn instead of a regular inventory.
  • Fire, Ice, Lightning: The spell Catastrophe, which inflicts shock, burn, and freeze.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The Inventor can turn their equipment into gadgets which can be used for free each turn. The downside? They HAVE to make a new gadget after each fight, which means you're constantly throwing away your items.
  • Girl Scouts Are Evil: One of the possible bosses is a girl scout, Madison, who fights using a pocket knife and some form of weaponized campfire.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: When your health gets low enough, the battle music is replaced with a beating heart sound.
  • Holiday Mode: The game ran a Halloween special during October 2019, featuring mooks in Halloween costumes and new original ennemies, plus a new episode for the Warrior, the Inventor and the Witch. It can still be accessed via mods.
  • HP to 1: The very rare item Divine Rod reduces the enemy's health to 1, ignoring all shields and armor.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Apples are the most effective way to heal a character, but there are a limited amount, only being found on dungeon maps or in shops.
  • Immoral Reality Show: The game's Excuse Plot is that the characters are competing in a game show run by Lady Luck herself. They must run through dungeons for a shot at spinning the wheel, which gives them a chance to either get a wish granted or be forced to run through another dungeon. If they fail, their soul is trapped in the labyrinth forever.
  • Immortality: When The Robot wants to be The Sleepless for efficiency, Lady Luck muses:
    Why not just play for immortality?
    Then you'd have all the time in the world.
    Robot: All the research shows that personal change is more sustainable if you start small.
    I'm going to try for immortality next time!
    Lady Luck: Oh my dear!
    There won't be a next time.
    Just to make the most of this one. In you go!
  • Informed Equipment: The character art implies that the Warrior always has a sword, the Thief always is Dual Wielding daggers (even though he only starts with one Dagger card), the Inventor always has a hammer, and the other characters are unarmed (though Witch is shown casting a small flame, which isn't always possible in some Witch runs). Even more odd in Parallel Universe episodes, where the starting equipment for Thief and Inventor are completely different, and Bonus Round episodes where the Warrior can start with irregular equipment as well.
  • Instakill Mook: Cornelius, whose attack "Nightmare" does 999 damage - which would require more shield or max health to survive than you could ever realistically accumulate. Granted, Nightmare is a countdown card requiring 99 pips to activate, and Cornelius starts with one dice and gains another each turn rather than having a fixed number of dice.
  • Lady Luck: The host of the Immoral Reality Show the game takes place in.
  • Level-Up Fill-Up: Levelling up refills your health.
  • Limit Break: Each class has one (although some episodes change what it is), which is charged by taking damage:
    • The Warrior has "Fury", which doubles the effect of his next action. This is changed in Parallel Universe, but only because the Fury status is different, and in the Halloween special, which gives him a 6-point heal with "Recovery" instead.
    • The Thief has "Unlucky Roll", which instantly rolls four "1" dice. In his "Uptick" challenge, where all of your dice are a rolled at a specific value each turn, he instead gets "Trips", which rolls three dice at the current value.
    • The Inventor has "Focus", which turns all her unused dice into 6s.
    • The Robot has "Autoroll", which guarantees a Jackpot. In his "You Choose, You Lose" challenge where you pick your dice, you instead get "Two More Dice", which gives you two random extra dice that don't have a risk of knocking out equipment.
    • The Witch has "Crystal Ball", which rolls 3 extra dice. In her Halloween episode, she instead gets "Jetpack" to instantly let her flee a battle, useful if the player messed up a puzzle.
    • The Jester has "Snap!", which allows them to instantly use any duplicates in their hand at maximum value, no dice required. His "Not Just A Jester" challenge has him copy The Warrior's "Fury" limit break and his "Losers, Weepers" challenge gives him "Magic Trick", which discards his entire hand and draws three new cards.
    • The Bear has Bear Smash, which instantly deals 10 damage, no catch.
    • In the Back Stage area, your team has Against All Odds, which gives 4 random dice with even values.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Weaken-based equipment and skills are primarily associated with noise. For example, Whisper, Sonic Wave, Echo Blast, Battle Cry, and the gadgets Scream and Dial Up Sounds all inflict Weaken.
  • Matchstick Weapon: Matchsticks are one of the weapons the player character can find. They can be used to burn the enemy's dice.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: Every class has their gimmick, but some of them stand out as particularly unique:
    • The Witch can "equip" up to six spells in her spellbook, which have to be invoked into her four spell slots by using the appropriate dice before being used.
    • The Jester Fights Like A Card Player: instead of equipping items directly, they store them in a deck of cards. You can only play the three cards you're holding in your hand, and draw a new card for each one you use, but you can also freely discard doubles to get at more valuable cards.
    • The Robot can roll as many dice as it wants, but only as long as their combined values are under a given blackjack limit. Hit that limit exactly, and you are rewarded with an extra jackpot ability; go over the limit, and all your moves are disabled (except ones specifically noted to be immune).
    • One of the Robot's quests replaces the blackjack minigame with the ability to choose whichever dice you want. However, each time you select a dice, there's a 50% chance for the request to fail and it locks you out of that dice and make a random equipment disappear for the turn, though it is capable of hitting equipment that is immune to this and therefore ending up doing nothing as a result.
  • Luck Manipulation Mechanic: Certain pieces of equipment allow the player to alter the rolls of their dice, copy them, or reuse them. Making effective use of these items is a critical component of any run.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal:
    • The Jester eventually sides with the dice because of their perseverance, as well as the fact that Lady Luck doesn't even consider them a sidekick after all the work they've done under her.
    • In the final level, nearly every enemy can do this, rebelling against Lady Luck for their own various reasons. It's also implied that the enemies you didn't fight aside (those banned from the final level) are on board as well.
  • Monster Compendium: By completing secret in-game tasks, you unlock profiles for the various enemies, listing their hobbies and motivation for participating in Lady Luck's game.
  • Mook Promotion:
    • After the Jester switches sides, the Baby Squid briefly takes their place as the one in charge of spinning the prize wheel. The Mummy also takes over during the Halloween special.
    • The Frog rule in the Bonus Round chooses an enemy at random, gives it lots of extra health, and places it at the end of the act to replace the boss character you would otherwise fight.
  • Obvious Rule Patch: In - and out - of Universe, in "Finale" you can convince enemies to turn on Lady Luck and use their unique abilities on your side. However, the rules patch comes in on replays where Lady Luck has added "banned" party members to the list, but only after the first time since the first time you rebel against her is a total surprise to her, but every replay of Finale afterwards is part of the script she can plan for. Out of universe this was patched in because people were falling victim to Complacent Gaming Syndrome and only seeking out the cards with powerful effects that could trivialize the final boss' phases and unique gimmicks.
  • Only Shop in Town: The Dungeon Shop keeper occasionally remarks that they should have a slogan about how they are literally your only option when it comes to spending coins.
  • Permadeath: It's a roguelike, so this is to be expected. If you die, you have to start the run all over.
  • Power Copying: The Thief's special ability allows it to copy one of the enemy's items each turn. The Inventor can also do this with a Steal gadget gained from standard Thief items like Lockpick.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: All the minions in the dungeon, despite their whole "trapped in the dungeon for all eternity" status, are formally employed by Lady Luck and have lives outside of the game show. But they don't get paid holidays.
  • Puzzle Boss: Up to Eleven in the Witch's Halloween episode. Every enemy requires the player to set and cast spells in a specific order to kill them in one turn, otherwise they will fully heal and reset the Witch's spells.
  • Random Number God: Given how the game is all about dice, luck obviously plays a big role. However, the effect of bad luck can be mitigated by clever planning and picking your equipment wisely.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: The soundtracks for versions 0.8 and before consist of MIDI versions of random pop songs. This can lead to some Soundtrack Dissonance if you know the lyrics to the songs.
  • Secret Character:
    • The Jester isn't available as a selectable character until you clear seven different runs, with a fight against them always being the boss of the seventh.
    • The Bear can be played as by stealing and using the Alchemist's Bear Potion, or by inflicting Curse? on the Alchemist to cause the Bear Potion to take effect on you instead of them. However, it only lasts for one run and is not selectable in the menu.
  • Secret Test of Character: The entire game show was an (admittedly cruel) way for Lady Luck to give its contestants a lesson in giving up their selfish desires, and the real prize was learning a valuable lesson. She doesn't turn them back from dice, either.
  • Shout-Out: The Robot's exclusive dice-gimmick-dependent items, Buster Sword, Ultima Weapon, and Ruby Weapon.
  • Something Completely Different: The fifth episode for each character completely changes your starting equipment, modifies all standard status effectsnote  as well as introducing two new ones, and replaces the equipment you find in stores, chests, and at trading posts.
  • Status Buff:
  • Status Effects:
    • Poison inflicts damage equal to the number of poison stacks on you at the start of your turn. The number of stacks drops by 1 each turn.
    • Burn lights one of your dice on fire, causing you to take damage if you pick it up.
    • Freeze causes your highest numbered dice to turn into a one.
    • Shock disables one of your items for one turn unless you use a die to reactivate it.
    • Weaken causes one of your items to be downgraded.
    • Curse adds a chance that an item you use will fail.
    • Silence prevents the use of your class's special ability for one turn unless you spend two dice to unlock it. It also locks your Limit Break.
    • Lock completely disables one of your dice. Related to Lock is Counter, which inflicts Lock on any dice that roll a selected value.
    • Blind hides the value of a die. For the Robot it also hides his blackjack meter for the turn.
    • Confuse mixes up and blanks out your equipment - but the dice requirements are still shown, so you can guess what each is.
    • Vanish makes all duplicate dice except one in your tray disappear.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The Jester as a dice can be seen at the very end of the launch trailer.
  • Unlockable Difficulty Levels: After completing a run with any character, they become able to take on more difficult challenge runs, such as the Warrior starting with two upgraded weapons and a permanent Curse.
  • Useless Useful Spell: Items such as Nightstick and Spark fall under this category. Being able to inflict as much Shock as you like sounds useful, until you realize that funneling your dice into your Dagger would do even more damage up front.
    • Inverted with the Jester. Their first level-up reward grants them two of these items, along with an item which is powered up if the enemy has a certain status effect. For example, Ice Shatter deals the same damage as a Sword, but deals 3 more if the enemy is Frozen.
  • Wooden Stake: There is one in the boss room if you're about to fight Drake. It's vital for beating him, as his HP won't go below 1 without using this weapon.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: