Dungeon Alchemist


This game was reviewed on PC.

Reviewed by:  Oskar van der Vliet

Dungeon Alchemist is an AI driven map generating and building tool. Released in early access on the 31st of March 2022, and receiving continuous updates. The most recent as of the time of this review was the winter wonderland update on January 31st 2023. The tool is quite simple, using its AI generation to smooth over the trickier, finicky and more annoying details of map creation while still allowing the user to adjust any of these finer details at will. It boasts support for multiple digital tabletop applications, including a foundry export, fantasy grounds unity export, roll 20 export, and a universalVTT export. It also provides the option for a physical printed out render.

Dungeon Alchemist is interactive in 3 major visual styles. Orthographic view, creating a flat 2d image, a limited perspective view that includes depth, and a regular isometric view, being similar to the last but on any angle. The camera controls are easy to use while not sacrificing any regular mouse control options for the rest of the tool. You have various different styles at your disposal, allowing for the creation of rural villages, taverns, dungeons and deserts alike, with the addition of items being the primary focus of the update it has received. The AI is quite advanced, populating any large layouts with little additions, doors, windows, torches, decoration without it feeling all that procedural. But if you need any of that changed, that can be done manually and with relative ease. Within 20 minutes I felt I understood how to do everything one would need to, it just comes down to the matter of actually doing it.

I built a dungeon as my first go through, just something small, not really for any particular use but just to get acquainted with the interface and options. I was never puzzled, there is a help feature in case you want to check something, everything is quite intuitive and offers a wonderful UI. There is simple yet effective categorisation, with the option to favourite any items or designs. There are also numerous options to adjust the terrain to your liking, allowing you to create any situation needed for any use. Map sizes are customisable as well, giving more and more freedom. Any combination of building and terrain is possible. However the program is designed for smaller map sizes, usually just one building, not sprawling forests or a small town. These are technically possible but there is a warning that for large maps the performance is severely hindered. I tried pushing it to its limits and ended up with a crash. Though on the topic of performance problems, It ran remarkably well in my time on it. The start up is strangely long, offering a "This application is not responding" message from windows but found that just waiting it out a bit resolves the issue. 

What really determines how much you are going to get out of this is what you need from it. The features are in depth, it offers enough to sustain someone's creativity but how useful is that creativeness. If you don't regularly play dungeons and dragons or some other tapped top equivalent I really don't think you will get much from this. I feel some people may look at the screenshots on steam and assume some sort of fantasy sims experience rather than the software it is. Though I will say it's marketing does well to clarify this. But, there is a question for how much software like this is worth? It's currently 45$ on steam, so you would have to decide how worth it and how much you would get out of it, not me. Personally, despite having a strong interest and a little experience, I don't really play dungeons and dragons. So while interesting to investigate I personally get very little out of this, but it's not a product for me. 

This obviously makes it hard to rate. I'd give it a 3 out of 5 for the steep price, as it certainly achieves what it wants to be, but I think unless you are a dedicated fan of Tabletop games, you are really not going to get much out of it. I think it's executed incredibly well but then the debate moves to how needed the result actually is? Again, not something I can answer, that is up to the consumer. So I will leave it as a simply well executed product that is a bit too pricey and very niche. 

Reviewed by: Oskar van der Vliet