Dungeon Raid in Review – Match 3, Line Drawing RPG, Oh My!

It seems like so many people are hung up on labeling games – every game has to be “just like that other game I played”.  If I was forced to compare this to something I’d have to give it the title “Puzzle Quest Lite”, though that’s neither fair to the impact that Puzzle Quest had on the match 3 genre or the brilliance of Dungeon Raid.  Instead, let’s just say that Dungeon Raid is a match 3 game with some simple RPG elements thrown in that can take you a few minutes or somewhat longer to play depending on your skill level and the difficulty setting you choose.  All I know is that despite the game’s basic nature I tend to find myself getting lost in it quite easily.

In Dungeon Raid it’s pretty easy to hit the ground running.  You choose a difficulty level – easy, normal or hard – and enter your name (the game will randomly generate it if you’d like).  Then you’re treated to a one page back story, which is nice because so far they’ve all been different and some are quite humorous.  Once the game starts, the majority of it takes place on the main playing field, the match 3 board.

The pieces are comprised of skulls, swords, shields, potions and coins.  Unlike the majority of match 3 games, there is no swapping or row moving to be had here.  Instead, you draw a line across all the items you wish to match.  As long as the line is unbroken you can go left, right, up, down or diagonal!  Once you release your finger, if you have at least 3 items of the same type highlighted they disappear.  The exception to the rule is skulls, where you have to have at least one sword in the mix, and they might not necessarily disappear.

The control is pretty simple, though I have noticed that sometimes if you move too fast it might not select every item you passed over.  Also, if you decide you want to undo something, you have to retrace your steps until you don’t have enough items connected to make a match.

Collecting potions restores your health.  If you collect enough coins you can buy a better piece of equipment to replace one you already have.  You have an armor rating which decreases when you get hit – collecting shields replenishes this rating.  Shields collected when the rating is maxed build up an upgrade meter, and when that’s full you can buy something to help enhance your armor.  Note that if you buy new armor your enhancements go away.

To slay skulls you need to match them with enough swords, and you’ll know they can be killed when a red X appears over them.  When you kill skulls your experience goes up, and with each level you can buy two skill enhancements.  Your purchase options are limited, which correlates nicely to the quick play philosophy, but they are required, which might not always be desirable for hardware.

Dungeon Raid looks nice and polished, but it’s not going to wow you like Bejeweled 2 or Azkend (TMA Review) might.  I do like some of the nice touches like red Xs when a skull can be killed and the white dashed line around a spell slot when the spell can be used, but those visuals are more for convenience than to dazzle anyone.  The sound effects are actually more interesting, whether it be the pumping of your heart when you’re almost dead or the skulls’ moans as you’re selecting them to be slaughtered.  Sadly there is no music, which surprisingly didn’t bother me for the most part.  One or two tracks to switch between would be nice, though.

This game caught me off guard, completely in a good way.  It sounded kind of interesting in iTunes, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be as addicting as it has been.  Keep in mind that this isn’t for hard core RPG players, unless you’re also into match 3 games.  This is definitely a match 3 affair first, but the RPG elements give it enough of a twist to make it stand out from the crowd.  If you’re looking for a different type of match 3 game or you’re an RPG nut that wants to get a quick fix every now and again, Dungeon Raid is just the game for you.

App Summary
Title: Dungeon Raid Developer: Fireflame Games
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:
Price: $2.99 App Size: 6.00MB
  • Addictive
  • Simple RPG elements don’t bog down game play
  • Line drawing mechanic is cool
  • Sometimes tiles get skipped when drawing the line
  • Not much razzle-dazzle
  • No music


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