Review: Dungeon Rushers08 Mar 2017 0
Review: Dungeon Rushers
Released 22 Feb 2017
Hardly flushed with success, toilet cleaner Elian has decided that it is high time for a career change. Fed up with destroying 99.99% of known germs he has decided to try his luck at stamping out 100% of dungeon denizens. So, swapping his toilet brush for a more appropriate weapon, he ventures through the dungeon-dwelling skeletons, goblin filled mountains, enchanted jungles and ancient pyramids that make up the world of Dungeon Rushers.
Each dungeon consists of a grid of tiles that are viewed from an overhead perspective. Elian travels from tile to tile, revealing traps, monsters and treasures in his search for the exit. The tension mounts as your health levels drop and the way out remains elusive. Traps can be disarmed if you have the right skills and enough stamina. This may mean a character dashing in all gung-ho to take one for the team or a more sensible disarming approach. There are other locations that may bless your party with improved statistics or curse them with detrimental effects such as drunkenness.
Sooner rather than later you will bump into some monsters and the action will switch to a side-on view. The turn-based combat is very straightforward - up to two ranks of opposing forces face each other with speed determining the order of attack. Characters have standard attacks and more powerful special actions that eat into their limited supply of mana. To target a character in the second rank requires a ranged attack and if your health points are running a bit low you can decide to guard in order to reduce the chance of being hit or alternatively, you can drink a potion. Overall, combat is a bit of a slog; there is not really that much scope for tactical maneuvering or subtlety, you cannot for instance defer your attack for later in the round.
Each dungeon will have three bonus targets, such as completing the level without using potions or ensuring that every last enemy is eradicated. Complete all three targets and you will be able to tackle the dungeon again in heroic mode for even more rewards. In total there are 69 hand-designed dungeons with a heroic version for each, plus eight mansions that have five randomly generated levels each.
You will have probably gathered by now that the life of a dungeon rusher is a tough and lonely one so it makes sense to team up with other like-minded individuals. Elian soon bumps into other characters that he can enlist, expanding his fledgling party to a team of up to five. These fellow fortune hunters are a strange bunch. There is the axe-wielding Thorgrim who has an interest in figures, not of the statuesque Amazonian warrior kind but those that appear in account ledgers. Or maybe you prefer the lute-wielding bard, whose playing is so bad that it physically damages enemies. There are a total of ten different characters to unlock as you battle your way through the campaign and each character has their own unique skills development tree.
During the course of your adventures your inventory will soon end up collecting more bits of string and interesting shaped rocks than a schoolboy keeps in his pockets. At this point you may wish to visit the workshop and get the various craftsmen to make some shiny new items. As the craftsmen complete your commissions they gain experience and will eventually be able to make even shinier things. This presents an interesting decision - do you for instance focus on getting your jeweller to craft a range of artefacts to enhance his skills as quickly as possible, or do you spread your commissions equally between the blacksmith, alchemist and other craftsmen?
Whilst the humour and quirky characters help distinguish Dungeon Rushers from a host of similar dungeon crawling games, it is the ability to construct your own dungeons that really make the game stand out. Much like the classic Dungeon Keeper the simple-to-use level editor allows creative sorts to construct their own dungeons, placing enemies, traps and treasure.
When you have had your fill designing your own dungeons, you can investigate arena mode and delve into some levels that have been created by other players. Sadly in my experience, although these player-generated dungeons are ranked for difficulty, they aren’t that much fun to play as they are usually loaded with really tough encounters that highlight the repetitive nature of combat. Battling your way through these dungeons earns blueprints that can be used to enhance your dungeon building capabilities. They can be invested in your architect’s office to increase the number of rooms in your dungeon, the bestiary to provide access to more powerful monsters or the engineering office to allow you to place more traps.
The well-crafted 16-bit style graphics hark back to the golden age of Super Nintendo role playing games. However, the retro style font could be easier to read and has a disconcerting way of scaling to a smaller size as you are reading. There are a few graphical glitches and problems with interface windows overlapping and I found that the game crashed a few times when I was working on my latest evil dungeon creations.
The main problem with Dungeon Rushers is that much like the hard working toilet cleaner you will soon fall into a repetitive rinse and repeat rut. After the first few dungeons have been conquered, a point is reached where you have to repeatedly grind through depressingly familiar, previously explored dungeons in order to level-up your party, which really highlights the game’s lack of variety. The problem is further compounded by the tortoise-like speed at which the characters level up and the scarcity of useful equipment finds. It would have been some consolation if combat had an optional automatic mode so that you didn’t have to oversee every aspect of each battle.
Despite the fact that the only IAPs on offer are just cosmetic costume changes the difficulty in making progress makes the game feel like it is working on a free to play economic model that is trying to persuade you to spend real world cash to progress even though there is no option to do so.