Insanely, stupidly difficult, even on the lowest difficulty setting.
And this is coming from a guy who often beats difficult games on the hardest difficulty setting. I consider myself very good at roguelikes, and incredibly good at rpgs.
And I really love a challenge too, but this game just doesn't offer any reasonable challenge. It calls the lowest mode "easy", but thats so far off the mark it's rediculess.
Yes the first ~10 floors are quite easy, on easy mode.. But it quickly ramps up and becomes incredibly hard.
Normal mode is more like most games "Very hard"
And the game has freaking two more modes: Insane and Seriously? . Insane is just ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥, you 100% can't win most games even if you play perfect and spend insane amounts of time strategizing every agonizing move (in a game that will take 10s of a thousands of moves to complete). And seriously? I don't believe anyone has ever completed it without cheating. Hell even getting past the first few floors on that mode is insanely frusterating.
I beat easy mode, after some ~15+ frusterating hours of attempting normal. I usually hate playing lengthy games on easy, as I want the victory to be meaningful. But in this games case.. Meh it should just be called Normal for easy. Theres nothing easy about it.
The final floor alone took me some 4+ hours to beat, and had to use an insane stockpile of crazy rare items and cheesy strategies im really not proud of.
Plus the game has no real progression system like some ohter rogue likes to give you advantages on later play thrus really. After you die, your dead and thats it. Sure there are recipes you can learn, but the crafting in this game is painfully difficult, insanely random and unrewarding.... And after 15+ hours I had no real good recipes learn anyways. So I just did what had to be done to have ANY chance at beating this game in less then 100+ hours: Checked the wiki - yea nearly all the recipes are there, and you dont actally have to unlock them to craft anyways.
Protip: The most important/useful item to craft is the Quantum Scan Helmet. It lets you see thru walls and behind you, which is damn near neccesary on the lower lvls to conserve amunition/durability. But like all things in this game - its very hard to craft, requires 4 very rare drops. I managed only to make 2 near the last few levels, and the durability on them suck, so they both broke too.
I think a major part of the reason for the unbalanced unfun difficulty is the dlc - I bought only the bare minimum version you can buy here on steam, which included base + gold + mind games.
These dlcs do add cool stuff to the game, but the developers seem to think the main purpose of DLC is to increase difficulty.. Because nearly all of the enemies added in these, are vastly harder then the base games enemies, that and each introduces more ingredients - which you can only carry a very small amount on most classes, and more is not better, as it reduces the chances of you finding the exact ones you need for a given recipe, and makes managing your inventory more frusterating.
So yea the original vanilla version may well have been balanced better. Wish I could tell, but far as I could tell sadly there is no way to disable the DLCs, nor does steam offer the game without them.
Glad I didnt buy the other 2, as they seem to even further increase the difficulty of the game.
So yea, what could of been a very great game I just cant recommend due to the fact its just unreasonable difficult to beat, even on the lowest settings.
I see the devs are stll active ont he game tho, so I'll offer some simple tweaks that may aleviate this:
1. Add options in the game to disable the DLCs. Add a notification to the game explaining they may increase difficulty.
2. Rename Easy to Hard, Hard to Insane, Insane to Impossible. first 39 floors are ok but please make the final floor less ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ly insanely hard.
3. Add a new easier difficulty called Normal - recommended. Reduces total number of enemies by -10% (-50% on the final floor). Reduces chances of equipment damage. Increase all items durability +50%.