Dark times are approaching this land. An ancient evil has awakened in the catacombs under Hilltop Castle. King’s troops couldn’t deal with the shifting dungeons and perils that lurk in their shadows. Now the kingdom needs a true hero to save them. Thanks to Lady Luck, you were in the neighborhood, and now it’s up to you to save the day! Developed by Woblyware, Devious Dungeon is a 2D action platformer with RPG elements and procedural generated levels. First published for mobile in 2016, now Ratalaika S.L. brings one more adventure from the Finish studio to Xbox One. Are you the hero the kingdom needs? If so, grab your sword and follow us into this review!
What is Good?
- Gameplay: The gameplay is quite simple but very addicting. You’ll explore the catacombs underneath the castle looking for keys that unlock the portal for the next stage. While searching for them, you will eliminate every threat that comes into your way, accumulating riches and experience points. By getting enough points, your character gains a level and you can increase one of its attributes, strength, stamina or dexterity, in one point. Increasing your strength grants more damage to your attacks. Increasing your stamina guarantees you more hit points and resistance. Increasing your dexterity rises your critical hit chance. With the gold you collect, you can buy new equipment from Olaf’s caravan (available after every three stages or at the beginning, inside the castle) where weapons, armors, rings and accessories that increase your status are available to grant your survival in 60+ stages.
- Visuals: Devious Dungeon has some beautiful 8bit pixel art with good visuals. The scenario may feel a little repetitive, but enemies and your hero have a good level of details, especially the different equipment you can use: each different armor and each different weapon have its own design.
- Sound: Some good songs accompany you on this journey, helping to build a great atmosphere as you go down the catacombs. Some simple but good sound effects Woblyware did a great job
- Easy 1000G: For those looking to give a boost in their Gamerscore, Devious Dungeon is another good option. By finishing the game (what shouldn’t take more than 4-5 hours) you’ll probably have unlocked all achievements.
- Level design: The procedurally generated levels grants that no level will be like the last one. Even if you die in one level, when retrying it, it’s going to be very different (including the theme of the level which varies between a cave, ice cave, ruins, jungle and others).
- Hard mode: Thinking the game is too easy for you? All you have to do is try the Hard Mode and start from scratch your adventure with challenging enemies that will do much more damage to you. Best to sharpen your reflexes before entering this mode.
- Enemies: Woblyware hadn’t exhausted that technique of re-using enemies with different colors at later levels to represent harder foes (just a few). They instead used new models with similar attacks, what is great! But I’d still like to see more enemy variation in enemy models during the game.
What is Bad?
- Weak AI: At the end of each level you will face a challenging boss that will require some strategy to be defeated. The regular enemies, on the other hand, have weak AI. They just walk from one side to the other in each platform, ignoring you if you are above or below them. Even after you hit them, they will simply ignore you if you are too far from them (and it doesn’t even need to be that far).
- Cheap story: The story that drives your adventure in Devious Dungeon is kind of generic. There’s no development of it during the gameplay nor after its conclusion. We know nothing about the hero, why he was in there or what makes him a hero and the last resort of the kingdom. It is a pity to see so much space for development that hasn’t been utilized by the developer.
Devious Dungeon [Score: 77/100]
Using the simplicity in favor, Devious Dungeon is a little great jewel between indie games. It has beautiful pixel art, good challenge and engaging gameplay. Some aspects could have been better developed, but it doesn’t spoil the fun you’re going to have with it. Go ahead, hero of the kingdom. Adventure awaits!