First Look at Popup Dungeon - A Magical 3D Tabletop-Inspired RPG

Whether you're a fan of traditional tabletop experiences, or just looking for a fun interactive [...]

Whether you're a fan of traditional tabletop experiences, or just looking for a fun interactive title to get your hands on this Winter, you should definitely check out Popup Dungeon from Triple-B-Titles. This 3D interactive RPG effortlessly blends what so many love about tabletop gaming and creates an immersive experience where players can let their creative nature soar.

The game itself centers around receiving a strange letter from one known as "The Wizard." This strange character presents a challenge, a challenge that urges the player to think outside of traditional lines by drawing "humanity's sharpest blade:" creativity. Create anything you can think of. Manifest any design, whether by presets provided by the game, or by working with new tile sets from scratch! There is no limit to what can be done in this game. You can even create a Fallout-esque atmosphere with their Post-Apocalyptic Urban Wasteland tile set!

As stated by the team behind Popup Dungeon, "it's like if World of Warcraft gave players a simple tool for creating completely new abilities instead of limiting customization to a few options within a spec tree, and yet the result was always balanced, functional, and usable by AI characters as well. Or perhaps: it's as if Dungeons and Dragons didn't have a library of spells to choose from, but rather a quick and easy app for creating any spell players can imagine."

For those that might not be too familiar with how tabletop works, no worries! We sat down to talk with Enrique Dryere from Triple-B-Titles and asked him if Popup Dungeon was accessible to non-tabletop connoisseurs, or those new to the RPG experience, and this is what he had to say:

"Basic familiarity with RPGs is going to make things easier, but the game is designed with transparency in mind because we aren't going to be the ones that develop the majority of its content -- at least that is the hope! In many RPGs, even some of my favorites, you need stat calculators to predict outcomes or understand certain statistics, which aren't included as part of the game. The designer may not even explicitly state what a statistic does; this can give the game system a desirable mystique, but developers need to know what their systems do.

"To this end, we try to put all necessary information at your fingertips. The game also clearly states the exact range of effects that an ability will have on a specific target, taking special defenses or conditions into account. This is important, even for non-creators, since Popup may ultimately present you with more unique enemies and abilities than any other game before it. Arguably, the resulting transparency increases the strategic element of the game; you're better informed so you can leave less of your decision-making process to chance. Meanwhile, it lowers the difficulty of having to learn the probabilities that are usually so key to mastering a strategy game.

"On top of all this, the AI is running on all entities. It controls enemies and gives player-controlled characters suggested activations for each of their abilities. When you're starting out, you can just double-click an ability, and the AI will attempt to use it optimally. Of course, this will only get you so far. But you won't really have to outperform the AI's suggestions to get ahead until you're experienced enough to realize its limitations."

Some of the key features of the game include:

  • Insane Customization: Create your favorite heroes, toss a sphere of annihilation at a politician, or turn your cat into a heavy-ordinance hairball launcher, the only limit is your imagination.
  • Endless Content: Many games boast procedural content, but Popup Dungeon's easy-to-use creation systems allow for inexhaustible handcrafted content.
  • Multiplayer: Crawl alone or with friends through online or local multiplayer.
  • Persistent Gains: Collect charms to power up your party and delve further than before.

The visuals, as seen above, are incredibly fluid in their interaction with the dynamic environment. Popup Dungeon really marries the traditional tabletop feel with that of an interactive experience in the most charming way. "One of the most challenging aspects of Popup's visual design is balancing the tabletop aesthetic with a simple and informative interface," Dryere told us.

"For instance, our abilities and items are presented as cards, as you might expect in a tabletop game. The same is true about our models and environment, which result in naturally interchangeable parts, which is great for a procedurally generated game. However, with information, such as health and action points, we played around with counters on the enemy stands and other board game conventions, but they aren't as legible as more traditional video game displays. So we're constantly looking for ways to push that feel without shooting ourselves in the foot."

As of right now, the magical RPG experience is slated for a release sometime this Winter. To learn more, you can check out Popup Dungeon's official site right here, as well as the game's listing on Steam!