Dungeon Crawlers Review


Dungeon Crawlers

Publisher: Ayopa Games
Drowning Monkeys
Platform: iPad, iPod Touch, iPhone (reviewed)
Release Date: January 26th, 2012
Price: $1.99

Borrowing heavily from roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons and board games in the Dungeon Crawler genre, Dungeon Crawlers promises a humorous and exciting turn-based tactical romp through a plethora of dungeons, hazards, and classic enemy types.

Though based on the roleplaying genre of games, this game skips through the story quickly and gets on with the belly laughs and swashbuckling. Our three heroes have been hired to clean out a dungeon which seems to have accrued, along with a layer of dust, various ghosts and ghoulies. That’s kind of it. Once you begin playing the game, however, you’re instantly sucked in by simple controls and the game’s humorous tone.

This game puts the focus squarely on sword and sorcery, peppering levels with just enough cutscene and plot to keep you going. In between battles, you’ll be wandering around the haunted hallways and all-too-quiet open spaces, tapping around the screen (and again for confirmation) to move, search bookshelves, and open up treasure chests.

Once you find some bad guys, you’ll be thrust into an “Encounter”, a combat mode that will end only when you’ve taken down all the enemies you’re aware of. Again, you tap to choose where to move, attack, or take some other action. If you need to move to carry out that action, you’ll be shown the route the selected hero will take to get there, allowing you move more deliberately if you so wish. Once you’re happy with what the hero is set to do, tap again on the target tile to carry it out.

The three heroes, warrior, mage, and healer, compliment each other wonderfully. The mage can hang back, taking down enemies with ranged “Magic Missles” and the like; the warrior can move greater distances, and get knee deep in Goblin; and the healer can skirt around the bigger skirmishes, staying just near enough to heal when necessary.

As the game goes on and your heroes level up, they are given extra actions they can take; stronger attacks, featuring different area attack patterns, ranges, and effects like poisoning and setting people on fire. A couple of stages in, you find a 4th party member, a drunk but experiences Dungeon Crawler. He can detect and disarm traps, adding a nice extra layer to the gameplay.

You can move the camera around by simply dragging the view around, which works well most of the time, but react a little strangely at times. You can also zoom, tilt, and rotate the camera using two-finger gestures.

Overall, the combat is very fun to play, with a good mix of cartoony style and challenging tactical decision-making. There is, however, so much awesome crammed into this game that something had to give. There are a lot of bugs in this title. A lot of bugs. In fact it could be said that it is “buggy”. Now, the game itself is great, and fun, and really nicely done. It more than compensates for any bugs you may experience while playing. But they are there, and unfortunately they are quite noticeable.

Some of the interfaces, too, are a bit fiddly to navigate and use properly. Some of the text is just too small and fancy to be easily readable, especially on a less detailed screen in pre-4 iOS devices. Some features down-right don’t even work. This is kind of a shame, but as I said before, the rest of the game’s super-happy-fun-time still shines on despite these.

Audio & Visual
Apart from the aforementioned bugs here and there, the graphics are pretty sweet. The painted textures in the environment contrasts well with the cartoony, bold renderings of the character models and attack graphical effects. Everything’s so colourful and vibrant, whilst keeping with the dark dungeony feel of the whole thing.

The user interface mid-combat is great, making it easy to see how far the selected hero can move or where they can use an action. Some, but not all, states (eg. dazed) have graphical representations on the characters themselves, again, making it easy and straightforward to see what’s going on the field.

The music is decent enough, and the sound effects do their job well. There are options to change the volume of the two layers of sound, though changing these don’t seem to do much, and it feels a bit too quiet no matter what you try.

The lack of voice over for cutscenes leaves them feeling very quiet, leaving you to basically read a series of text bubbles of dialogue. Also, while well animated, any closeups of the characters shows their lack of detail, something that isn’t a problem during regular gameplay, but alas, didn’t look very good up close.

But again, while there are minor gripes with certain aspects of the audio and visual aspects of this game, the game remains very fun to play; something I can see myself sinking many hours into in the future.

If you’re a fan of the Dungeon Crawler genre in any of it’s forms, or have been known to enjoy a tactical board game or two, you should definitely get this game! If you like a mix of swords and sorcery with humorous overtones, you should consider getting this game. If you’re a fan of casual physics puzzlers on an iOS device of some kind, and want a change of pace, you should find a gameplay video, decide you’ll give it a go, and GET THIS GAME!


Video Game play for Dungeon Crawlers

[pro-player width=’530′ height=’253′ type=’video’]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bimqHUwrU5A[/pro-player]

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