Dungeon Mercenary

Dungeon Mercenary is a dungeon crawler game where levels are randomly generated, meaning you never get to play the same game twice. For the moment, it is in ASCII art: there are no graphics: a wall is displayed '#', the player is displayed '@', a goblin is displayed 'g', etc. Don't run away: your imagination will do the job. Once you're accustomed (and believe me, it's quick!), you'll enjoy it as much as a graphical game; because hey we did not stop reading books when movies were invented!

Dungeon Mercenary is designed to be easily understandable but hard to master, as you'll need to die a few times before being able to reach the dungeon's middle depths. To beat the dungeon, you'll need to learn when it is wise to dash to flee, when you should try a special attack to try slithing a monster's throat in one turn, how to lure monsters into traps, etc. Then, only the bravest mercenaries will succeed in winning the game… Good luck!

  • Desktop version (Windows): download the game at the bottom of this page. Extract it and launch DungeonMercenary.exe.
  • Desktop version (Mac, Linux): download the game at the bottom of this page. If you don't have it (but it's likely you do), install the Java Runtime Environment (JRE) for your platform and you'll be ready to execute the game by double clicking on the file dm-16-09-15.jar (or right-click on it, Open with Java Runtime Environment; or issue java -jar dm-16-09-15.jar in a terminal).

How to play:

  • You start at the dungeon's depth 1. The goal is to travel all the way down to depth 10 and exit via the arch there.
  • To move: use the arrow keys or the vim keys (hjkl and yubn), or click where you want to go.
  • To interact with an item, click on its icon in the inventory (on the screen's right); or toggle the inventory: press 'i'; or click on the 'Inventory' label.
  • To drop an item, either go through the inventory (press 'i') and select the item; or press 'd' to open the drop menu.
  • To zoom in/out: press '+' or '-'
  • To perform a dash move: press Shift while moving
  • To perform a special attack: press Alt while attacking. If you wield only one weapon or has only one weapon with a special attack (dagger, falchion, small axe, or sword); pressing any Alt key works. If you wield two weapons with special attacks, right Alt triggers the special attack of the weapon in your right hand, left Alt triggers the special attack of the weapon in your left hand.
  • To push/pull one or more barrels: press Ctrl while moving. Use them to block monsters, create traps, etc.
  • In the inventory and other menus, entries are bound to key shortcuts: the character with a different color. You can also click on entries or type Enter. You can always return to the previous menu by selecting Cancel or pressing Backspace (or the mouse Previous button, if any).
  • When throwing an item, move the cursor with the move keys (arrows or vim keys) or the mouse. To perform the throw, press Enter or the mouse's left click. Pressing Escape or Backspace or the mouse's right button (or pressing the Cancel Throw button at the top) will cancel the throw.
  • To open the main menu while in-game: scroll down or up, or press Backsspace, or press Escape (desktop only for the latter).
  • To wait a turn: press 'z' or Numpad 5.
  • To explore the map around you: click and drag

Changes in last release on September 15nd, 2016 (most of the bugs corrected in this release have been reported by a brogue player: VedVid, thanks to him!):

  • Changes
    • Made color of shallow water "whiter", so that it can be more easily distinguished from deep water.
    • Made color of rats "whiter", so that they are more visible in the color theme of the first depths (i.e. where rats spawn).
    • Display everything that is in the Field Of View in the what you see list (bottom of the screen); not only what is in the close vicinity. In addition, always display doors (it was restricted to depth 1 before). Both of these were considered as bugs by many players, whereas it was intended. But given the feedback, I think I was wrong to have those """features""".
    • During a dragon's breath: only lock the game if a barrel's explosion will happen. This smooths the gameplay when fighting dragons.
    • Added a drop menu that is toggled by pressing 'd'. It allows to drop an item without going through the inventory.
    • Added an animation when dropping on item.
    • Numpad 5 now waits a turn, exactly like 'z' does.
  • Bug fixes
    • Corrected that an equipped shield would appear twice in the inventory displayed on the right. Thank VeVid for pointing it out.
    • Corrected that barrels could not be pulled/pushed to/through gravas.
    • Corrected that when a barrel was on an item: 1/ the item's color was used to draw the barrel and 2/ the item was being listed as visible instead of the barrel.
    • Correct that monsters weren't really good at following you through doors when hunting you.


  • Different style of levels, from classic dungeons to open areas; featuring different color themes (such as this "grey castle" one and this "mud" one).
  • Different kind of weapons, armors, shields, potions, bombs.
  • Equipment crafting via runics (vampirism, orc'n gobs slaying, force, etc.), allowing you to balance your loot and your style.
  • Special areas: "red carpet" areas and cemeteries.
  • Means to tune your equipment: altars and forges.
  • Monsters, from the usual fantasy world (goblin, orcs, kobolds, uruk-hais, etc.), including ninjas! (who doesn't love ninjas ?)
  • Achievements and High Scores: either in the standalone desktop version or integrated within GameJolt.
  • Dash moves and special attacks. Used wisely, they'll save your life more than once; or can even be at the core of your gameplay (double dagger ninja anyone?) !
  • Beautiful ASCII; gradual Field Of View, animated water, etc.

There are also features that Dungeon Mercenary doesn't have:

  • Hundreds of items. Sorry, not my style; I prefer a limited number of items, so that every item has its specific purpose.
  • Classes (wizard, warrior, etc.). Classes are either complex to understand for new players; or must be very limited, in which case interesting strategies are limited too. So your style will be determined by the items you find and your taste in using them.


  • Windows
    • If the game doesn't start, it likely means its launcher crashes very early on. I would really like what is going on in this case: to help me, you should launch Dungeon Mercenary from a shortcut, adding -c --console -v to its starting parameters (see it pictured here, it's really quick: create shortcut/right click/add the flag/relaunch). Once this is done, please send me a screenshot of the terminal that showed up. There'll be valuable information in it.
  • Firefox
    • If the game's loading bar stays stuck (geeks: see java.lang.UnsupportedOperationException: typed arrays not supported in the javascript console): you're affected by a Firefox bug. The only workaround I know is to use Google Chrome.
  • Google Chrome on Linux
    • If the game doesn't show up and a message Your browser doesn't seem to support WebGL is printed, turn WebGL on.
  • Flash: you don't like it ? Well neither do I! The game actually doesn't need Flash for the moment, because it is for sound support; and there's no sound yet... Hence flash blockers, welcome :-)
  • If you have another problem, drop me a line (see contact below).


You can checkout the changelog of all versions on the game's website.


If you want to help Dungeon Mercenary's development, you can make a donation .

Donations will allow me to develop games full-time (who knows ^^) and complete my roadmap:

  • Short term goal is to integrate documentation in the game, so that you have details of what items and monsters do. In progress: check it out. Done in January
  • Short term goal is to add new terrains. I first envision water, because it is easy to do and I have a nice rendering for it. Water got done in early February, it's there; but there are no waterborn monsters yet.
  • Short term goal is to add special rooms (treasure rooms first I suppose. ) This got done: altars were the first step in this direction, since I wrote room-finding algorithm for them, red carpet areas were the second one, and cemeteries are yet another special areas.
  • Short term goal is to allow more choice in the use of runics. For that, I plan to implement ways to sell/trade your runics, either with neutral merchants (for trading/buying) or forges (for crafting). I've done forges to reuse/exchange runics. They pave the way to more uses of the boost runic, as it's now easier to obtain them (you can transmute any runic to a boost runic). More boost runics pave the way to boostable spellbooks. Yummy!
  • Mid term goal is to finish the Android version.
  • Long term goal is to pay a pixel art artist, to have a version with flat 2D graphics (à la zelda). The game is designed in such a way that this is a small move from ASCII rendering.

Along the goals, I'll progressively add content (monsters, special rooms, terrain, etc.). One thing I'd love to see: ranged weapons, because limited ammo + the need to reload creates very interesting strategies in turn by turn games (ever gunned down a herd of zombies in Cataclysm DDA ?) Throwing bombs is the first step in this direction, since I had to code the UI for throwing/firing.

The founding principle in upcoming developments: keep the game tight. Put differently: do not spam poorly integrated content and keep bugs away.


Dungeon Mercenary is regularly updated (see the history of versions). You can follow its development in various manners (the twitter account being the central place):

I can be reached at hgamesdeveloper@spam_trap.com, replacing spam_trap by gmail. Please submit bugs if you find any (with a screenshot demonstrating the problem, if that's possible), suggestions, or just leave me a kind word :-)


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Click download now to get access to the following files:

dm-16-09-15-windows.zip 50 MB
dm-16-09-15.jar 9 MB