Devious Dungeon in Review: Random, Side Scrolling Fun

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Ravenous Games is probably best known for their League Of Evil series, which is definitely an entertaining collection of platform games.  Personally, though, I actually get more enjoyment from Devious Dungeon.  Sporting the same cool pixel graphics as most of their other offerings, Devious Dungeon is a side scrolling rogue-like that provides random level generation, loot collection and stat and weapon upgrades without all the hardcore stuff like needing to eat or weapons that get worn out and break.  It seems like the type of game that should get old after a while, yet every time I go back to play it I’m just as captivated as the time before.

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The plot is pretty basic – go down in the catacombs and clear them out.  In a game like this it works just fine because the lack of plot makes it real easy to pick up and play for a few minutes or a couple of hours, depending on your mood at the time.  The mechanics are equally simple.  Arrows allow you to move left and right, while two buttons provide you with the ability to jump and swing your sword.  It’s just enough to give you something to do without having to worry about forgetting all the commands or special moves between sessions.  The controls work quite well and make even the tightest of jumps fairly easy to execute.

So what exactly do you do in Devious Dungeon?  Well, your primary business is to slay lots of monsters and collect a bunch of loot.  Killing monsters gets you some experience and some coins, assuming you can catch them.  You also get coins from various statues and crates littered throughout the levels, so make sure you take out everything that you can destroy.  Most levels even contain a hidden area where you’ll find either a chest full of gems that earn you lots of coin or a tome that gives you a large amount of XP.  I really like the fact that as you level up the tomes increase in the amount of experience they give you, even if you go back and play earlier levels.  I also appreciate the fact that the game encourages you to explore every nook and cranny of a level, despite the fact that you might have found the key that opens the exit portal.

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Like most RPG style games, experience helps you level up.  When you gain a level you get one point to spend on stamina, strength or dexterity.  You can also buy potions that permanently increase certain stats as well as amulets and rings that bolster your stats as long as you’re wearing them.  And of course there are weapons and armor that fortify your attack and defense capabilities respectively.  I find it interesting that unlike most games where you can have multiple types of say a weapon or armor that do different things for you, in Devious Dungeon each object tree (weapon, armor, amulet and ring) is linear, with the next unlocked item is always better than the previous one.  The only question you have to answer at that point is which tree do you unlock the next rung in first?  In addition to simply completing the game there are 24 achievements to earn via Game Center as well as plenty of quests to complete which reward you with additional gold.  There is certainly plenty to keep you busy in Devious Dungeon.

If you’ve played any of the Ravenous Games offerings, especially from the League Of Evil series, then you know what to expect from the graphics, and Devious Dungeon does not disappoint.  Of course even if you’re just a pixel art lover you’ll be able to appreciate the crisp foreground objects and subdued backgrounds.  The characters are well rendered, and larger versions of creatures don’t just feel like resized sprites.  Even the main character goes through visual changes as you swap armor and swords.  The sound effects are decent, and while the individual creatures could use some distinct noises, you’ll always know when a particular ranged attacker is firing.  I also like the fact that wooden versus metallic objects make different sounds when you crush them.  The only thing that’s really missing aesthetically is a diversified soundtrack.  The music isn’t bad, but there appear to be only two main songs: one for all of the levels and another for when you visit Olaf’s camp to buy weapons or get healed.

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I’ve read in the past where people have felt that all of Ravenous Games’ offerings start to feel similar after a while, but honestly other than the jumping mechanic, Devious Dungeon provides a completely different experience from League Of Evil and really from most of their other games.  The random dungeons, myriad of quests and multitude of upgrades to collect give you plenty to do, and even in the sometimes tediousness the simplicity of the game incubates it never really gets boring.  Despite not actually being devious, Devious Dungeon is certainly plenty of fun.

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App Summary
Title: Devious Dungeon Developer: Ravenous Games Inc.
Reviewed Ver: 1.1 Min OS Req:  iOS 5.0
Price: $1.99 App Size: 41.93MB
  • Lots of levels to conquer and loot
  • Plenty of quests to complete
  • Simple, effective control scheme
  • Great pixel visuals
  • Can get tedious at times
  • Needs a more diversified soundtrack

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