Dicefolk - Keyart Only

Dicefolk PC Review: Rolling the Dice on Roguelike Fun

Roguelike games are becoming increasingly popular in the modern day, with many titles blending with other genres to make truly unique experiences. Dicefolk aims to provide one such adventure, combining the strategic depth of Slay the Spire with the captivating creature collection aspect of Pokemon. Fortunately, it doesn’t falter and provides a genuinely remarkable addition to the Roguelike Deckbuilder genre.

“Dicefolk places you in the driver’s seat to collect Chimera and control them by rolling dice.”

Dicefolk Screenshot of Fight
In-game Screenshot

Dicefolk provides an intriguing premise via a short introductory cinematic before a new game begins. You’re informed that humans were almost driven to extinction by a mad sorcerer known as Salem, and you must fight back with Chimera-controlling magical dice. Dicefolk’s quality lies in its gameplay, but the short introduction provides you with your one goal: fight your way to Salem’s Door. The absence of a defined narrative might leave some players yearning for a deeper story, but the focus on strategic roguelike gameplay compensates for this.

With your single objective in mind, Dicefolk places you in the driver’s seat to collect Chimera (or creatures) and control them by rolling dice. This unique mechanic influences your Chimeras’ abilities and attacks, making each decision crucial to your success in battles and also ensuring that no two runs are the same. However, while your ability to attack or defend is based on how favorable your dice roll is, your opponent also faces a similar fate.

“Dicefolks boasts a diverse array of Chimeras, each with its own set of abilities and playstyles.”

Dicefolk Recruiting Chimera
Dicefolk Recruiting Chimera (In-game Screenshot)

One of the most unique aspects of Dicefolk is that you control the moves of both your Chimeras and the opponents. This allows you to determine the order of attacks and determine a strategy with every dice roll phase. Unfortunately, you can’t skip over attacks, and if your opponent rolls an attack dice, you’re going to have to activate it at some point. However, you can set up some form of defense to compensate. This foresight also forces you to face the inevitable, which means you will essentially be the one to defeat yourself—a remarkable concept that I’ve rarely faced before.

Dicefolks boasts a diverse array of Chimeras, each with its own set of abilities and playstyles. From resilient tanks to swift attackers, you’ll need to strategically recruit and command your Chimeras to build the perfect squad. Equipment provides further customizable depth by allowing you to give additional abilities to your Chimeras. These can either be damage or health-related and can even have minor cons after equipping.

Dicefolk Screenshot of Boss Fight
In-game Screenshot

“I always got excited when an Iridescent appeared.”

Due to the nature of Dicefolk, runs can be quite short and don’t allow for much strategic planning past using the first Chimera you find. In some biomes, you might only have to option of recruiting one Chimera, so your choices are quite limited when you must always utilize three Chimeras. On top of this, I found the enemy variety in Dicefolk to be quite similar.

After a few games, you’ll realize that in each biome, you’ll face specific enemies, which can get repetitive and draw away some of the spontaneity when devising strategies. This is particularly evident in the early game before you unlock additional biomes and increased enemy variety. Once I defeated a boss a couple of times, I knew exactly how to weaken their defenses. While this is half the design behind a roguelike game, this concept felt as if it happened all too quickly. Ultimately, I would have preferred if some of the runs lasted longer with increased enemy variety so that I could build deeper, more complicated strategies.

An intriguing feature is the inclusion of shiny Chimeras, known as Iridescent, which not only alter their coloring but enhance their individual abilities. This adds an extra layer of depth to the collection aspect and also your tactics. If you think a Chimera’s ability isn’t justified in your team, the enhanced variant might prove otherwise. I always got excited when an Iridescent appeared, and it’s something you absolutely shouldn’t turn down.

In-game Screenshot

“Dicefolk features visually appealing graphics without unnecessary complexity.”

Dicefolk draws inspiration from roguelike games, where failure is not the end but a stepping stone to unlock new content. The more you play, the more you unlock, creating a rewarding progression system. While the game can be completed in under 10 hours, the challenge lies in completing it with all four talismans, each providing its own batch of Chimera. This makes it highly replayable, much like titles such as Slay the Spire.

While Dicefolk has many comparisons to Slay the Spire, it utilizes an entirely different map design. Instead of using a choice-based navigation style, Dicefolk lets you move anywhere on the map, and even if you find the boss’s location, you can backtrack and prepare before for the showdown. Initially, some squares are covered in clouds before you unveil the square next to it. Usually, this means after every battle, you’ll receive some unique element, such as a shop or a choice between equipment, keeping you wanting to reveal the entire map before proceeding.

Dicefolk Map Design
In-game Screenshot

Dicefolk features a visually appealing art style without unnecessary complexity. The Chimera designs are distinct, and many are detailed enough to compete with the first generation of Pokemon. The UI is simple, allowing the overall aesthetic to enhance the experience without overwhelming the player. This also plays into the audio design, where simplicity is key. There aren’t any JRPG ballads engulfing your ears, but rather simple tunes that constantly play throughout the game, with the tempo increasing during tense boss encounters.

“Dicefolk is an excellent title worth exploring.”

In typical roguelike fashion, Dicefolk only has one difficulty to rule them all. In spite of that, after completing each run, you will unlock more Chimera and new map icons. Additionally, you’ll also start learning the strategies and abilities of enemy Chimera, so you’ll be more accustomed to the task at hand. There are also plenty of settings that can alter your game. If you’re running out of time and are a very quick strategizer, you can speed up animations so battles progress faster. Furthermore, all controls in Dicefolk are remappable, and the game is entirely compatible with a controller.

Dicefolk successfully combines the engrossing nature of roguelikes with the strategic depth of creature collection games. With its unique dice-based mechanics and diverse Chimera roster, it offers a refreshing and engaging experience. Whether you’re a fan of Slay the Spire, Pokemon, or roguelikes in general, Dicefolk is an excellent title worth exploring for its challenging gameplay and strategic depth.

Disclosure: Game Crater was provided the game for this review. Some links provided in this article are affiliate links. Game Crater will be paid a commission if you use these links to make a purchase.

Dicefolk - Keyart Only
Dicefolk Review
Dicefolk offers a unique and strategic experience with its dice mechanic and Chimera collection. However, short runs and limited enemy variety might hinder the experience for some. If you enjoy Slay the Spire and Pokemon, and appreciate the challenge of roguelikes, Dicefolk might be worth checking out.
Unique dice mechanic
Diverse Chimera
Short runs
Limited enemy variety
Simple narrative