If you enjoyed the game, check out the expanded version on Steam! 4 more heroes, 3 more game modes, and a campaign to stop a goblin cult.

 Within a Dead City is a tiny 4X game about managing autonomous heroes as they search for gold and glory inside the cursed capital of a fallen empire. Grow your outpost, put bounties on monsters, and cast spells when your heroes confuse courage and recklessness. Heroes will act on their own accord: slaying monsters, raiding lairs, defending your guild hall, and exploring the old city. Try to keep them out of trouble - their greed can lead them to bite off more than they can chew.


WASD / Arrow keys: move camera.
Q / Keypad - : Decrease game speed.
E / Keypad + : Increase game speed.
Left click: Selects a unit or building.
Right click: Deselects a unit or building.
1: (single tap) Select the Guild Hall, (double tap) zoom to the Guild Hall
2 - 8: (single tap): Select a hero, (double tap): zoom to a hero
Space / Enter: Pause game, brings up volume menu.

More details:
The Guild Hall is where you conduct most of your business.  You can perform the following actions at the Guild Hall.
BUILD: Build an alchemist's shop to sell healing potions to your heroes, a blacksmith that allows them to upgrade their weapons and armor, and a trading post that generates more income the  farther away it is placed. Guard houses will defend against monster attacks, and wizard towers generate Lore and add +100 Exp to all newly-trained units.
Train a stalwart Warrior (good at combat), a brave Ranger (speedier and likes to explore), a Merchant (bad at combat, but collects gold from trading posts and improves your buildings), or a Wizard (long-range glass cannon).
: Increases the income level of your guild hall and adds an additional Hero slot. Your gold hall initially generates 10 gold in income per day and can support 2 heroes. Each expansion adds 10 to income and adds another hero slot. (The first Expand action adds two hero slots)
RESEARCH: Spend Lore (the book icon) gained from killing enemies or raiding monster lairs. You can research blueprints for the guard house or the wizard tower, or research two additional levels of weapons and armor for the blacksmith to sell. You can also research advanced spellcasting, unlocking the final three spells.
SPELLS: Spend Lore to cast powerful spells.
Heal: Fully heal all heroes.
Stoneskin: Adds 5 to all heroes' defense for a day and a half.
Heroic Amnesia:
All heroes cancel their current mission and reconsiders their current circumstances.
Haste: All heroes gain 1 speed for a day and a half.
Summons all heroes (except Merchants) to a specified location.
Flatten Earth: Removes a mountain or water tile and replaces it with a grass tile.

Outside of the Guild Hall actions, you can also Offer Bounties on wandering monsters and monster lairs. These rewards will make heroes more inclined to take on a monster or destroy a monster lair. To offer a bounty, click on a monster or a monster lair, and click the button with the flag icon in the top-right corner. Bounties come in increments of 10 and are deducted from the guild treasury.

When a hero Destroys a Monster Lair, it will spawn three monsters that heroes will have to fight all at once. For this reason, heroes like to wait until they are strong enough before they try to destroy a lair. Still, they are greedy little heroes, and each 20 gold bounty on a lair adds 1 to a hero's level for purposes of accepting the 'destroy lair' quest.

If a hero is too low-level to destroy a monster lair, they might try to Raid a Monster Lair to steal from its gold and lore stash. There are also Unexplored Ruins scattered throughout the map that can be searched for a small gold or lore bonus, although monsters might be hiding in the ruins! 

The soundtrack for the game is available at https://joshgalecki.bandcamp.com/album/within-a-dead-city-soundtrack. There's a Discord server for all my games at https://discord.gg/2FRxtZf7UF where you can chat about strategy, learn about future development, and leave feedback. A press / streamer kit can be found at https://www.pixelatedplaygrounds.com/within-a-dead-city-press-kit.

This game was built as part of the Tiny Mass Games project, a game dev collective focused on making polished short-form games on two-month timelines. You can check out other TMG games at https://tinymassgames.itch.io/

If you enjoyed Within a Dead City, you may also enjoy some of my other games. I'd first recommend checking out Moondrop: https://joshuagalecki.itch.io/moondrop

StatusIn development
Rated 4.7 out of 5 stars
(34 total ratings)
AuthorJoshua Galecki
GenreStrategy, Simulation
Made withUnity, Aseprite
Tags2D, Atmospheric, Exploration, Fantasy, Management, Pixel Art, Real time strategy, Short
Average sessionAbout a half-hour
InputsKeyboard, Mouse
AccessibilityColor-blind friendly

Development log


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I won, somehow. Good work dev!


Liked the game design, UI and mechanics...though it took me a while to understand how the game works. Nice short game overall! 



Good game. Recommended. Be sure to give this a try.

Glad you enjoyed this!

I downloaded the demo on Steam, but I can't play it at all.
I'm on a 3440x1440 monitor and since there are no options for FPS cap (makes my GPU go ham), screen size (Scale is off and stuff is "shown" off screen) or proper windowed mode(to let you manually drag the size etc.). This was the only place I could figure out to leave any sort of feedback and I'm hoping you see this so you don't get any negative reviews later. Game looks super fun and interesting, but the technical issues atm. got in the way sadly. :(

Thanks for reaching out! I was able to get up a fresh build this morning so that the game is playable with ultrawide monitors. The new version has fullscreen and windowed modes, and the Windows shortcut of alt+enter will toggle between the two. Once in windowed mode, you should be able to adjust the UI to a playable state.


Awesome! Resizing worked wonders, the height in full screen still seem to be a little off for me at least but defo made it playable. :) Love the idea of this game, it's on the wishlist for sure. Keep it up, you have a gem on your hands. :)


It's short and fun, with a level of production value rarely seen for a game in this scope. It would be fun to add a survival mode for those who wants to chill out and build their city until the world ends.

Thanks for the kinds words! I was planning to add in a couple more victory conditions beyond the "destroy all high-level lairs" for the Steam release - maybe something like "survive for 20 minutes against waves of monsters". This makes me think I should add a Sandbox mode too, where the player can just chill and build, and spawn enemy waves / lairs when they want to.


Those are great ideas! A quick tutorial mode will help too once the game gets bigger. When you first start the game, show 'this is the guild house', this is the adventurer and you can train more in the guild house, etc.


This was a great idea - I implemented just that for the Steam Next Fest, and I think it's helping new players get their bearings.

v interesting proof of concept - it took me a minute to figure it out but once i did i found a really compelling tiny 4x loop. would love to play this on mobile / switch

Wish we could claim this, don't have access to pc so I can't download it now

Pretty solid also the lack of explanations at the beginning made me loose the first round till i fully understood what i am expected to do. Sitll i enjoyed my time. Keep working on it and i am sure you will fill in all those holes it still might have.


Recommended for further greatness.


This is great so far, amazing job!!!

It's bit bit unituitive in the beginning, but after a few minutes I figured out how the game works

Interesting little game so far.

Cool game!


Really love this game! It has a nice balance of auto-battling with just the right amount of micromanagement. It was fun trying to figure out the best strategy to win on the challenging difficulty setting. I almost wish I had the option to continue beyond the victory screen because the game ends very suddenly as I still feel like I'm in the process of building up my engine. But it is nice to have a definitive victory condition.

I really appreciate how much is communicated via sounds, screenshake, and UI. It's fairly easy to parse what's happening without directly looking at each hero all the time.

very cute


great game, has MASSIVE potential! its so fun.. I should be going to bed, but I just want to keep playing!!!

tiny, but nice, I had fun for 5 minutes


I think this game could benefit from a clearer objective that’s introduced early on. When I first played the game, I found it challenging to understand what the game mechanics were and what I needed to do to win (i learn when i play) . Eventually, when I destroyed all the obelisks I'd just won just like that, I dont focus too much on destroying the obelisk and instead i prioritized keeping my people alive and healthy. I originally thought the game was solely about survival until all enemies were killed. Overall, I had a great time playing the game, nice game man


Thanks for the feedback! This game was developed over an extremely short timeline (2 months!), so I didn't have time to put in all the polish I wanted to. Earlier on in development, I had a victory condition of "destroy all monster lairs". However, the end game would drag on as the heroes had to explore every corner of the map to find the last sewer or seedy tavern. I changed the victory condition to be "destroy all of the highest-level monster lairs" instead. As you note, I don't make that clear anywhere.

I'm hoping to expand the game for a commercial release, and one thing I'll take a look at adding is multiple victory conditions. For instance, maybe one map requires you to build and defend multiple guild halls from waves of rampaging monsters. Maybe another has you preventing a second apocalypse in the city. Let me know if you can think of other cool ideas :)

(2 edits) (+3)

Great game! I left a comment on Reddit detailing my thoughts on it. Anyhow, congratz on the release.


Awesome, thanks for the detailed comments!


Nice game!


Happy that I could make something entertaining :)


really fun!


Thanks :)


Had a great time playing! 


Thanks for playing, glad you enjoyed it!