Dicefolk Review

Dicefolk Header

Dicefolk is an incredibly cool roguelike, but I don’t think it makes a great first impression. Upon booting the game up and jumping into your first run, you’re presented with the adorable art style, sure, but the first turn of combat simply presents you with some dice and three little dudes. It’s all a bit baffling, but there’s something special here once you learn what it all means.

The dice come in two varieties – white and black – each of which has a different effect when you click on it. Through this you get to choose the order in which everything happens, and that’s not just true of your own team, but also of your enemies. How many games are confident enough to let you be your own enemy?

You can customise your own dice faces by finding them as loot, or by buying them, and you can even by whole new die if you’re lucky enough to have the gold and find one in a shop. You have less control over your enemies, though. Dice let you do things like attack, make it so both sides attack, move your monsters around so a different one is in front, defend, and even re-roll other dice.

Dicefolk chimera party preparation

It’s a theoretically simple way of doing things, but becomes increasingly complicated as each run goes on based on which chimera you have at your disposal. You start with the same three little dudes, although they differ based on which talisman you choose at the beginning of the run, and then you can recruit more as you go, either by buying them, or by unlocking them at one of three statues in each map.

You can only choose one from those three statues though, so you’ll need to weigh up whether it’s worth getting the first one you find, or waiting and trying to get through more battles with your three little dudes. This one choice is, in my opinion, the perfect representation of the kind of decision you’ll be making constantly in Dicefolk. Every action in battle, each piece of equipment, which chimera you’ll be leading with, what node to go to next, all of these have pros and cons, and it’s wonderful to dig into the possibilities.

Dicefolk combat screen

Then there’s the chimera themselves, each of which has its own ability and a trigger for that ability. Some might attack whenever the other team changes position, some might cause special status effects at the end of a turn, or attack when your main chimera attacks, but only once a turn. The “luck” aspect of Dicefolk applies not just to the dice in the battle, but which monsters you’ll be teaming up with, and which artifacts and items you get.

That’s a lot of RNG, but for the most part, Dicefolk still manages to avoid feeling unfair. It’s difficult, sure, and a lot of fights are decided before you go into them based on how prepared your team is, but the runs are fairly short and sweet, and ultimately, it’s a lot of fun.

Summary
Dicefolk is an intriguing take on the roguelike that gives you an unprecedented level of control over everything, and still makes you sweat in battle. It's cute, the replayability is very high, and it's got some fun progression unlocks as well. Definitely grab it if you're a turn-based roguelike person.
Good
  • A great gameplay loop with a lot of player control
  • Lovely artstyle
Bad
  • Doesn't make a great first impression
9
Written by
Jason can often be found writing guides or reviewing games that are meant to be hard. Other than that he occasionally roams around a gym and also spends a lot of time squidging his daughter's face.