Dungelot in Review – Rogue-like At Its Best

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Back in the day, by which I mean a time I barely remember and which many of you probably weren’t born yet for, there existed a game called Rogue that quite possibly started one of the first trends of copycats, known as rouge-likes.  The games were simple in some ways such as consisting of only ASCII graphics, but complex in others like having a myriad of commands to remember and randomly generated dungeons that were revealed as you moved through them.  While I actually enjoyed several games of this type, I’m happy to see that modern variants such as Dungelot have revamped graphics and streamlined control schemes.  Unfortunately one challenging feature still remains in many modern rogue-likes: death is death.

review-dungelot-2There might be a plot to this game, but if so it’s basically superfluous to any enjoyment you might get from Dungelot.  You choose a character – paladin at first and others once you’ve unlocked them – and attempt to conquer level after level of the dungeon until one gets the better of you.  The levels are randomly generated and consist of monsters, loot and occasionally someone to help you out.  You reveal the dungeon a tile at a time by tapping on them, and you don’t have to fight anything until there are no other tiles to reveal or you haven’t found the key to the next level yet.  This is actually a cool feature compared to “old fashioned” rouge-likes where you basically had to fight or run as the monsters came at you in “real time”.

Treasure consists of gold that you can use to upgrade your characters or open certain “greedy doors”.  You might also find hearts to restore some health, spells to alter stats or directly damage monsters and objects that help you while you wield them.  Physical objects can be traded in for money if you need it, and spells can be exchanged for hearts.  The exchange rate might not be what you desire, but since you only have eight inventory slots this option often comes in handy.  Thankfully multiple spells of the same type only take up one slot, though the same can’t be said of multiple objects of the same ilk.  Because of your limited storage capacity it’s also a good idea to use items instead of trying to hoard them.

review-dungelot-3Control is tap based and I have not experienced any responsiveness issues so far.  There is Game Center integration for leaderboards, and once a game is over you do get “medals” of sorts, but there aren’t any actual Game Center achievements.  Most of the replay factor comes from the fact that you have to work pretty hard to level up characters and unlock new ones, and the levels themselves are randomly generated.  The main drawback to the game is that there is no formal save.  If you leave it running in the background you can continue where you left off, but quitting the game means you have to start over.  My understanding is that is going to be remedied in a future update.  What won’t change is that the save is not for those who want to try something, end up getting killed and then want to go back and try something else.  Once you’re dead the game is over unless you have a way to resurrect.

The visuals are great.  Everything is detailed and cartoony at the same time, and there are some wonderful character designs.  There are also some nifty special effects strewn throughout the game.  The sound effects are decent enough, with some variance depending on what type of creature you’re fighting.  The music is good but actually a bit ominous at times, which doesn’t really fit the overall mood of the game.  At least it’s there and it doesn’t get boring.

review-dungelot-4This game works so well because it’s fast paced, randomly generated and despite being somewhat repetitive game play wise, it always seems like you’re discovering something new.  The lack of a true save game might be a turn off to some, but in the end the rest of the package more than makes up for this design choice.

Kiss It Rating - 5/5

App Summary
Title: DungelotDeveloper: Red Winter Software
Reviewed Ver:Min OS Req:3.2
Price:$0.99App Size:
  • Simple, fun game play
  • Randomly generated levels
  • Cool creatures
  • Lots to discover
  • Great visuals and good music
  • Somewhat repetitive
  • Currently no save game

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