“The foul rabble calling themselves ‘heroes’ form up against us on the other side of that field. Let them! The fools believe themselves good when they are no better than we are, and we will make them pay for such insolence! The field, and soon, the world shall fill with beautiful flame, as beautiful as you monsters guarding the Devil Stone. We will liberate them from their suffering, and this mortal coil! Now, my sisters! Laugh with me! Muahahaha!” The Acolyte grins maniacally as lightning crackles from the dark sky and the earth trembles not just in fear, but also because of the gigantic army marching to kill her.
“Haha…ha…” The Acolyte’s fellow monster girls, former ‘heroes’ twisted to their current form and allegiance but still maintaining their old temperament, reply with thin smiles and knitted brows as they see the enemy leader. While they are terror incarnate now, they used to be nothing but starving villagers, broken mages, and hapless adventurers who fell to The Acolyte’s temptations when they were spared death through unlife.
While those who call themselves ‘heroes’ lack horrific powers beyond mortal comprehension to make up for their rather exposed suits of armor, they are innumerable and motivated almost to suicidal madness! Worst of all, their leaders have horrific powers beyond monstrous comprehension, warping light and the elements to their evil or, as they would call it, important bidding.
The one coming they identified as Enlil. All your sisters know of Enlil’s feats, and how she had singlehandedly repelled the last two invasions with her “holy” sorcery. But The Acolyte has been fortifying and improving the training regimen of her fellow Monster girls. Endlessly honing skills and liberating smaller worlds to pieces to once again fight this one. Today, the Planet of Heroes and the Brave Apostle fall to the abyss! After all, the third time’s the charm.
Welcome to our Dungeon Squad beginner’s guide! Dungeon Squad would be called a bullet hell game if it weren’t for the fact you’re the one throwing the bullet hell at the AI. The gameplay is simple: You have a Monster set as Acolyte which you control directly, and can get more monsters later on controlled by the AI.
All of you sit pretty next to the Devil Stone you’re protecting, and your job is to shoot all the goody-two-shoes Heroes in front of you to death before they beat up your Monster girls in close combat (And later, at range!) and blow up the Devil Stone by kamikaze-ing into it.
The tactics come with the way you use your luck and how you manage your rewards: Do you pick stuff that helps you forward the current run or get stuff that helps you in future runs? How do you set up your build with what you’re given? Anyone familiar with games such as Binding of Isaac would appreciate Dungeon Squad’s penchant for letting you come up with hideously overpowered builds and then beating you to death anyway for not shoring up your weaknesses!
As a side note, don’t play this in front of kids or your boss! One look at the lovingly detailed but risque animations should tell you this is an extremely bad idea.
While Dungeon Squad’s moment-to-moment gameplay can best be described as “Point at the screen and watch the bullets fly”, there’s a lot more to winning than just how fast you can tap on the boss. Not only must you come up with a build for your girls, but you also have to do it on the fly with what the game hands to you. It’s also got one nasty trap that can trip you up while gathering your rewards. Here are some things to keep in mind about Dungeon Squad.
The More You Take, The Harder The Run Gets
The way this game works, you are often shown a choice between rewards that make you stronger for the current run, and rewards that you take home after the run should you win or lose. Balancing this in such a way as to be efficient, or destructively comedic is an important thing to get a feel for. After all, you might be grabbing all the long-term rewards the second they appear, only for your run to get cut short and cost you all the other stuff you could have gotten because you didn’t grab anything that made your Monsters stronger for the run itself. That being said…
You only have enough space to bring home a certain number of Genesis Stones, Dimension Stones, and Hero Souls. Knowing this, it’s best to keep track of how many stones’ worth of Genesis Stone Fragments and Faint Hero Souls you’ve currently earned to figure out when you should start going all in with Gold, Blessings, and Dark Origins instead.
As for Dimension Stones, you earn them slowly enough not that oversupply is not a worry. You can check your current supply limit by going into any upgrade menu and tapping the resource count at the top right of the screen. Your supply space and earning limit are upgraded in Architecture by picking the Vast Abyss and Transfer Stone upgrades. Vast Abyss is for your total storage space, and Transfer Stone is for your backpack space.
Earlygame Upgrades, Lategame Rewards
The further you are in a run, the more Genesis Stone Fragments and Faint Hero Souls each level offers you for beating their fight. Meanwhile, barring some truly special deals, the amount of Dark Origins and Gold offered to you remains more or less the same no matter where you are.
This means you should focus on getting upgrades early on when the Fragment rewards aren’t really worth the trouble, then once you hit chapter 3 or 4, start taking the rewards while still gunning to upgrade the newest member of your team, since they’ll usually have double the amount you can get from earlier chapters.
You also have a limit on the rewards you can take home anyway, so this helps prevent you from weakening your team wastefully trying to eat too many Genesis Stones you can’t bring home.
Choose Prisoners Last
At the end of a battle, you’ll be given a set of rewards. This includes Prisoners: Enemy heroes you have captured and can be fed to your Monsters to make them stronger and, if they’re new monsters recruited to your cause, can copy the Prisoner’s Temperament buff for themselves and your team.
You can only send Prisoners to Monsters if they’re at a high enough level, since they can only eat so many Prisoners if they’re at a certain level, and higher-level Monsters can eat more of them. If you pick a Prisoner, you can’t just return to the Rewards screen and think it over: You either feed your Monster girls, or you sacrifice the Prisoners for a small random buff.
This means you should always pick Prisoners last when collecting rewards: That way, if you have any Dark Origins, Treasure Chests, or the Devil Stone of Domination, you can use those first so you’re less likely to Sacrifice the Prisoners. This goes double for the Devil Stone of Domination since there is nothing more annoying than losing a potential new squadmate because you selected the Stone last and had to Sacrifice all the Prisoners before you could put them in the opened Slot as a newly formed Monster!
The First Architecture Upgrades to Unlock
Some very, very basic features found in other games like this are locked in the Architect room, and they’re the ones you should grab first.
The Acolyte’s Room allows you to upgrade your Monsters outside of battle, so get this immediately. Upgrading your Monsters requires Progenitor’s Blood, which you can get from the final bosses of Chapter 1 and Chapter 4.
Dimension Rupture Liberation is essentially the game’s Gacha, though you’ll only ever get fragments out of it. This is still important since you need Monster soul fragments to upgrade specific skills in the Acolyte’s Room after you upgrade the Monster herself with Progenitor’s Blood.
The Guidance Stone Liberation and Guidance Stone of Light go hand-in-hand and allow you to use Hero Souls to indirectly upgrade your Monsters’ combat ability, through things such as the ability to Revive, starting with extra Gold, or nullifying or dealing extra damage at the start of a round. You unlock Guidance Stone Liberation first, then the Guidance Stone of Light allows you to swap between fairly rigid upgrades to more luck-based or esoteric upgrades.
The Abyss’s Task is essentially an Achievement or Mission system, which rewards you for reaching certain milestones or doing certain tasks. Since you’re probably gotten a small but decent chunk of these Achievements from your first run, barring a severe lack of luck, unlocking this should get you a chunky starting boost in terms of resources, and you can then use them to unlock other stuff in the Acolyte’s Room and Architect.
Last but not least, the Codex allows you to read up about all the Monster girls, gear, and enemies that you’ve encountered in the game. It is full of useful information, especially on your enemies, so it will help you quite a lot when it comes to prioritizing targets. Especially since it’s hard to figure out what’s going on mid-battle thanks to all the fireworks. You can also read the Codex during post-battle screens, so make sure to do so especially if you need to figure out how to beat incoming chapter bosses.
The rest of the upgrades are usually more for combat or added battle rewards. The ones above are important to get so you can actually spend those rewards to make your Monster girls stronger. Without these, all those rewards are useless!
Spamming Lower Difficulties For Resources
Once you have attempted a difficulty and beaten the Chapter 3 final boss at least once (That’s not a typo, the chapter 4 final boss is optional for unlocking difficulties!), a new difficulty should be unlocked for you. That’s because once you beat the Peace Acolyte (The third boss of four) for the first time with a certain Monster as your Acolyte, that’s 3 out of 3 unique boss drops taken, since the last boss drops another jar of Progenitor’s blood.
Not to mention those bosses will never drop those unique items again unless you fight them in a tougher difficulty! You’d think that was a bad thing, but their drops are replaced by Faint Hero Souls and Genesis Stone Fragments by the gallon!
This makes it a good idea to grind down previously beaten difficulties, or at least the current one as long as you’ve beaten a few of its bosses, to get the Hero Souls and Genesis Stones needed to upgrade the Architect and Guidance Stones. You’ll need them to tackle the later difficulties, and they can help you beat runs with Monsters you haven’t tried yet for that sweet, thick Progenitor’s Blood.
Entering a New Difficulty? Go All Out and Don’t Get Greedy
The fact you only get boss drops from a boss once per difficulty means that until you’ve utterly beaten that difficulty, it would be a good idea to go all out on gathering stuff to make your Monsters stronger for the run, such as Gold, Dark Origins, Dark Gods’ Blessings, and even the Devil Stone upgrades, instead of Hero Soul and Genesis Stone fragments.
That’s because of the previous tip where you can simply grind previous difficulties for resources, and even if you’re grinding one difficulty level you got roadblocked in, you can still grab extra resources from the bosses you already beat on the way to the Chapter you got stuck in anyway!
Most of the combat tips in this game are less about the direct shooting of enemies and more about how you build your team to do such a thing. Most of the actual brain-crunching you do happens between fights, with your only real thought during the fight proper going towards which targets to prioritize and where to aim your shots, which goes naturally with thinking of your build anyway.
One of the best upgrades you can get for your Monster girls is anything that says “Additional Projectile”. The way the game works, it will absolutely try to swarm you with Heroes. Even if you’re focused on the tanky enemy Boss, you’ll still need to have some extra bullets around to shred the ones behind or around said the boss.
Additional projectiles solve the problems of both added damage and the ability to clear crowds, even if the upgrade might come with a downside like added reload time or lower base damage power. This is also utterly comedic on Diablo, whose basic attack is an explosive bomb. The added bullets have a mild scatter, thus also increasing her AOE along with her damage!
Just make sure you don’t sacrifice range since that also translates into a wider area of effect for a lot of attacks, and you want bullets to at least be able to reach the end of the screen since many enemy types will jump straight into your Monster girls when they get halfway across the battlefield.
Make Your Allies Focus On The Boss
You absolutely do not want the Boss to reach your Monster girls, since they will happily tear through them and smash your Devil Stone to pieces, especially since Bosses can usually blow out half a Devil Stone’s max HP by touching it.
That means you should do your best to kill the Boss first, while still sending some shots toward the smaller Hero mooks they’re trying to protect. Named Bosses such as Enki or Loki usually also have dangerous skills, such as Enki’s ability to severely damage your team with a spell from a distance, and killing them first ensures they won’t be able to support their army.
Ironically, the best way to do this is for you personally to clear out mooks, especially those nearest to the left side of the screen: You only have the DPS count of one character, so most of your DPS would come from your AI teammates being forced to fire at the boss in unison. If you focus on the boss yourself but your AI teammates are distracted by the nearest enemy mook group, then you won’t be doing as much damage as you could have!
AOE At The Start, Then Switch to DPS
While bosses are dangerous, you shouldn’t discount the swarm of mooks that usually follow behind them, especially if the Boss lasted long enough for them to get close. Getting AOE skills early is usually a good idea, especially ones that very reliably leave a damaging zone for the enemy Hero mooks to march through.
Those kinds of attacks allow you, oddly enough, to focus even harder on the Boss, since the lingering damage zones and area attacks will incidentally kill mooks even if all you’re aiming at is the Boss, especially since it is relatively easy to reach a point where AOE attacks can cover the screen!
That being said, the bosses in Chapter 4 specifically (Special mention goes to Elite Knight Captains who simply refuse to die with 3 times the HP of the chapter’s named mid-bosses!) tend to be extremely bulky, so if you get to the point where your AOE attacks can reliably kill mooks in one shot, then piling DPS on instead is a good idea.
There is also the option of dedicating yourself or a teammate to DPS, especially those Monster girls who use straight-shot bullet attacks like Medusa, Kraken, Titan, or Stheno, instead of bombs and scatter shots as a basic skill.
You Only Need One True AOE Unit On The Team
The sheer temptation to stack Jormungand and Diablo in the same team is very strong since the early chapters encourage a hearty artillery fireworks show. Early on, most enemies will die in one or two hits from AOE attacks, and even bosses tend to go down quickly because their HP pool doesn’t quite match your expected ATK and Power stats too well.
You’ll notice AOE stacking falling off in later missions though, as we discussed in our previous tip, because of the bosses simply having way too much HP to care about blast concussion and tiny fragmentation. Knowing this, it’s usually a good idea to bring a single AOE unit and then have everyone else be straight-line bullet shooters.
This way, bosses get shredded. While this means mooks take a bit longer to clean out, they usually don’t have enough HP to survive a single well-fed AOE unit even in the later chapters, and the faster the boss dies, the earlier your DPS units can help shred the mooks.
It’s also normally a good idea to use said AOE unit as the Acolyte: You can rely on the AI to focus on the boss if you work hard to make sure those girls have nobody else to distract them, and you will likely do a better job hitting clusters of targets with properly aimed bombardment. At least, compared to the AI who only aims for whoever is closest to the Devil Stone regardless of enemy group density.
Don’t Fear Negatives
Sometimes, one of the upgrades you get from Prisoners comes with some negative stat that may weaken your attacks. Don’t be too afraid of them, since the bonuses they have to make up for them tend to be very good, especially since they’re often a very focused buff.
If you’ve played Binding of Isaac before, you’ll notice these buffs can really turn a game around, since they can include anything from a huge power buff to extra projectiles. Of course, don’t take so many of them that your shots start doing nothing!
Monsters First, Devil Stone Later
The Devil Stone is the center of your invasion, and you and your fellow Monster girls must protect it with your lives. Enemies die when they touch the Devil Stone, which in turn depletes the Stone’s HP. If the Stone hits 0 HP for any reason, whether it be enemies exploding themselves on it or your own horribly reckless Event choices, it’s Game Over. Barring the occasional
Abandoned Dwarf event, the Devil Stone only has two mid-run upgrades: Hell Steel, which upgrades max HP, and Devil Stone Fragments, which repair damage taken. You should take Devil Stone upgrades as a last priority, or take them after every few upgrades to your Monster girls if you want to take advantage of the upgrades for Events. If you get to the point that your Monster girls can’t protect the Devil Stone and it starts taking damage from anything other than Events, then you’re not gonna last much longer even if you survive the encounter simply by having the Devil Stone tank the enemy count.
If your girls couldn’t stop the enemy at this current level, then their chances in the next level aren’t very good either! You also have options to strengthen the Devil Stone directly outside of runs, which will allow you to focus more on the Monster Girls with mid-run upgrades.
That being said, don’t discount the Devil Stone entirely, since it may come in clutch at the final level if it has enough HP and your Monster girls whittled the enemy down enough before getting blasted. Besides, you have a limit to how many Dark Origins you can dedicate to your Monster team, so you’re gonna wind up spending some on the Devil Stone eventually unless you spent a fat chunk of the run taking Genesis Stone Fragments and Faint Hero Souls.
The best time to upgrade the Devil Stone is whenever the Shop opens: If you keep your gold in the 400 or above range, you should be able to pay for all the things inside a shop, so splurging on Hell Steel there isn’t a bad idea.
GETTING STRONGER BEFORE COMBAT
As a Roguelite and not a Roguelike, Dungeon Squad does allow you permanent upgrades at the end of every run, provided you can pay for them with the resources you gathered from your last invasion of the Heroes’ world. While these tend to be rather indirect or slow to get, their permanence means they’re the key to getting yourself unstuck from a certain difficulty level or boss, regardless of luck. Here they are!
The Guidance Stone provides a set of upgrades ranging from powering up the Devil Stone’s durability to increasing gold earned at the end of every battle. Getting these upgrades requires Hero Souls which you can get by accumulating Faint Hero Souls, and unlocking new upgrades requires the use of Dimension Stones, which are also used in the Dimension Rupture gacha. It’s usually a good idea to grab some of these after unlocking a new difficulty to make life easier for your next big all-in run.
The most long-term direct upgrades to strength you can get come from the Acolyte’s Room, which powers up your Monsters’ skills and their main Temperament, which applies to whoever you pick as an Acolyte during a run.
While it may seem like a good idea to focus all your upgrades on a single favorite Monster, this may cause your resources to dry up because of how Difficulty and boss drops work. Instead, it might be a good idea to upgrade certain Monsters you’re not used to after upgrading your main a few times, so they can grab the boss drops from lower difficulties on their end.
You’ll need Progenitor’s Blood (Available by beating the first and last boss of a Difficulty once, and through Abyss Tasks) to upgrade a Monster girl’s overall tier and Temperament, and shards (Called Souls by the game, but they might as well be gacha shards!) from the Dimension Rupture gacha to upgrade individual skills. Before Skills can be upgraded, you must grab them and their upgrades in battle first, since that gives them Skill EXP.
The Architect’s upgrades, apart from unlocking basic features early on, tend to favor reward management and gathering. Getting some of the upgrades here will increase the profitability of every run.
For example, Vast Abyss and Transfer Stone are needed to increase the earnings from a run, since you have a limit to how much stuff you can carry home. It also has a few indirect combat power-ups such as Mobilization and Volunteer Army which lets you start with an AI Monster girl buddy, along with anything that relates to earning Gold.
GETTING STRONGER MID-RUN
Apart from the upgrades you can get between runs, you will get direct upgrades for your Monster girl squad at the end of every fight if you pick items that give said upgrades or luck into them during battle. In fact, the majority of your combat strength will come from these items, since the pre-run upgrades tend to be indirect and rather incremental. Here they are!
The first order of business when it comes to powering your Monster ladies up is leveling them up with the use of Dark Origin tablets, or toughening up your Devil Stone with the same so it can tank more enemies during dangerous clutch situations. Leveling your Monster girls up lets them unlock new active and passive skills which make it easier for them to rack up a body count and cause your phone to burn itself alive from projectile spam. This also lets them get more of the next kind of upgrade… “material” in the bunch.
After picking the Dark Origin, and usually the thing you should pick dead last in your reward screen, you should take the Prisoners. Prisoners are enemies that didn’t outright die when your Monster girls shower them full of lightning bullets, fire bullets, hell bullets, or plain old bullets.
While leveling up gets you new skills and passives, Prisoners upgrade existing skills and passives, but they keep the Temperament of the original Hero they were twisted from. If you have any open slots on your team, any Prisoner that doesn’t match your current Monsters can be plonked into that slot, turning them into a Monster with that Hero’s Temperament passive.
This gives you the option to fill a Monster slot early which usually gets you a relatively weak (but never unusable!) Temperament but extra time to level them up with Dark origins and other prisoners, or to hold off until the later Chapters or until you luck out and get one of the non-generic Bosses (Anyone with an actual name like Luna, Anubis, Thor, or Enlil or one of the end-of-chapter Acolytes) as a Prisoner to fill that slot with.
Every so often, enemies will drop Equipment when killed or captured, and your Monster girls can wear them for added bonuses. Certain types of equipment can be merged with each other, and it’s often a good idea to read carefully what the rarer or higher tier gear does since some of them might come with upsides or downsides that match poorly with your roster of Monsters. Make sure you give the right kind of gear to the right kind of Monster girl when you get it.
Occasionally, events will happen before starting a mission. You will have to make choices that sometimes damage your Devil Stone or risk giving your team some sort of debuff. The safest option is normally to Leave as soon as it happens, but where’s the fun in that? A lot of the time, it may be worth it to push on forward and take a few hits to the Devil Stone to get a hefty buff, or to pick the most violently aggressive option provided there isn’t an option to just pay the event off with Gold.
Often, the priority of what you should do should be to pay for it first in gold or Devil Stone HP, and if there is no option to do that, start a fight or move toward the clearly dangerous thing that might have cool buffs behind it.
Just note that these fights tend to be a little harder than normal fights, usually about on par or a tad easier than Stage 5 and Stage 11 battles of their current chapter, which tend to be the hardest. Also, Leaving after your first action in an Event is usually a terrible idea as it will come with penalties, so your first choice is often between full commitment or backing away immediately.
Dark God’s Blessing
Occasionally, you’ll get an item called a Dark God’s Blessing, usually either in the form of a blue trident or purple skull. Blue trident Blessings usually come with boosts to Cold damage or provide shields called Bubbles which can deny a certain number of attacks while shunting enemies backward, either as passives or as an active skill appearing in the bottom right of your screen.
Purple skull Blessings often give boosts to Dark damage, and have harder-to-use defensive Blessings: Usually, they provide a timed immortality shield that ends in your team’s death and then revival, and the passives are usually better than the actives since the actives could really mess you up if you time them poorly.
What you pick is normally dependent on your team composition or upgrade set: If you have characters like Stheno, Dark Pegasus or a primarily Dark-damage built Diablo, you’ll want to gun for offensive purple skull Blessings, and if you have Kraken and Titan on the same team, you’ll likely want offensive blue trident Blessings. If you aren’t sure, just pick the defensive Blessings instead. You will be notified if a Blessing you’re about to pick conflicts with another Blessing you have picked previously.
It’s usually a good idea to save at least 400 Gold and then enter a Shop when it’s offered to you. Shops not only bypass a fight, but they also offer 5 items and each item is usually around 60-100 gold at level 1, though more powerful and costly items can appear as you level the Shop up via Architecture. They also tend to sell stuff that you would otherwise get as a lone reward from a battle, such as Dark Origins.
This is more difficult at first, but later on, you can spend Genesis Stones to make enemies have a chance to drop Gold on death, and the Ocean of Gold upgrade from the Guidance Stone lets you get extra gold at the end of a stage. The only time it might be a bad idea to grab Gold is toward the final half of Chapter 4, since it might not be likely you’ll find a Shop with just 5 levels left ahead of you.
And this ends our Dungeon Squad beginner’s guide. We hope this helps you send the Planet of Heroes down into the dark abyss. If you have any tips or tricks to share, feel free to drop us a line in the comment area below!