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Home / Reviews / Apps and Games / Android / App of the week: AI Dungeon review

App of the week: AI Dungeon review

An interactive endless book driven by an AI that writes surrealist dream-like pulp fiction

Early home computers had the visual clout of a calculator. The most immersive gaming worlds largely existed as text adventures. In the likes of Zork, you got an interactive novel, and worked your way through the narrative by typing commands and solving puzzles. AI Dungeon drags the genre into the present day.

You might – rightly – note modern takes on old-school adventures already exist. 80 Days, for example, reimagines the text adventure by adding the kind of dynamism, pace and text tree that would have been unthinkable in the late 1970s. Ultimately, though, like the classics that inspired it, 80 Days is still an adventure with finite options, written and fine-tuned by humans. AI Dungeon is neither.

Into the infinite

Into the infinite

Everything that arrives from the depths of AI Dungeon spews from OpenAI’s text generator, which has been trained on reading the internet. You kick off a story by selecting a setting – fantasy; mystery; apocalyptic. One brief intro later, you get a prompt, asking what you’d like to do next.

From this point, the AI responds to your inputs – entirely on the fly. Amazingly, it manages to keep a handle on situations, characters and objects – at least to some extent. Imagine a book, but instead of being a static object of ink on paper, it’s written while you wait, by a room full of unhinged authors hopped up on sherbet and gin. That’s AI Dungeon.

By way of example, one of my adventures was set in a post-apocalyptic world. AI Dungeon whisked me away in a helicopter and for a short while couldn’t make up its mind whether I’d witnessed or been a victim of a plane crash. Frankly, it didn’t seem to matter all that much, because another abrupt shift that upended everything occurred before long.

World builder

World builder

Such issues might seem like shortcomings, but they really aren’t. Embrace AI Dungeon’s nature and you realise it’s an endless world of dreamlike storytelling, and a fascinating glimpse into the future of AI. This is all further enhanced – significantly – by the means to create custom stories, which you can publish for the entire world to play.

These work particularly well when AI Dungeon can draw from plentiful online lore, but even the mundane can prove interesting. I created a story based around the Stuff office, and Hot Stuff editor Matt Tate started gleefully calling himself “Granny Tickelface”, and boasting his new computer “made people do things”. I then kicked off a tale where I was a duck. AI Dungeon instantly went weird, talking about clouds “with their wings spread wide in an effort to fly away from you” and an upside down world where “the sun shines brightly while the clouds hide behind it like a black cloak”.

Not a game to download if you hanker after the conventional, then. But if you fancy some reading that’s endless and frequently quackers, AI Dungeon is a must-have.

AI Dungeon is available for Android and iOS, and can also be played in browsers.

Stuff Says…

Score: 4/5

Frequently ridiculous, utterly fascinating, and hugely compelling, AI Dungeon hints at the future of text-based gaming

Good Stuff

Heavily customisable

Fascinating to play

Endlessly entertaining

Bad Stuff

Can be slow to respond

Sometimes incoherent

Abrupt shifts can frustrate

Profile image of Craig Grannell Craig Grannell Contributor


I’m a regular contributor to Stuff magazine and Stuff.tv, covering apps, games, Apple kit, Android, Lego, retro gaming and other interesting oddities. I also pen opinion pieces when the editor lets me, getting all serious about accessibility and predicting when sentient AI smart cookware will take over the world, in a terrifying mix of Bake Off and Terminator.

Areas of expertise

Mobile apps and games, Macs, iOS and tvOS devices, Android, retro games, crowdfunding, design, how to fight off an enraged smart saucepan with a massive stick.