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Indie game Quest of Dungeons, from Upfall Studios, has finally made its way to the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U after being released on a range of other platforms. With so many AAA titles out this month, is Quest of Dungeons really worth your time?
Quest of Dungeons is a roguelike RPG that has you venturing through randomly generated dungeons in order to defeat an end-game boss. The story is simplistic in a “kill the bad guy” kind of way, and you don’t need anything deeper than that.
It does come with two pre-created stories and a random mode, but I feel as though it could have contained a bit more content.
Quest of Dungeons doesn’t have a deep story or a ton of content, but the random nature means your playthroughs will be varied
You’ll choose one of four heroes when starting out, each with different stats. You’ll then be shown a small cutscene where your fellow heroes pass off the quest to you and hang around a camp fire. From here you’ll be traversing through several different levels, fighting monsters, trading with merchants, and navigating each maze of a level.
As an RPG, your character will gain experience upon defeating monsters and gain new levels with more powerful stats. These stats mean a lot in Quest of Dungeons as you don’t want to encounter a random boss while being underpowered. It’s a game where death is final (yes, there’s permadeath) so making sure your character is at their maximum or equipped with the best armour is an absolute must in order to avoid losing all of your progress in a matter of turns.
Okay, it is possible to save if you need to switch off the device, but this acts more like a save-state, deleting the save the moment you use it.
The dungeon isn’t the only thing that’s randomly generated – loot and merchants are as well. Heck, there may not even be a merchant in the level you’re currently hacking your way through. If you do find one, they might not have any health potions, armour or even weapons to sell. It’s all a gamble, really, but adds to the overall strategy of the game. You’re going to have to strategise to get through each level as the difficulty ramps up.
The random nature of the dungeons is the game’s biggest drawback. I found several instances where the system would spawn a boss room right next to me, have no health anywhere in a level, or contain locked rooms with keys that can never be found or bought. It’s a frustration you can overlook, but it’s still there.
Each character class has their own strengths and weaknesses, such as the assassin attacking from a distance and the warrior getting up close and personal with each monster. Your characters will also have one spell or ability at the start and more will have to be found. The skeletons and other beasts may look adorable, but there’s a good chance they’ll rip out your innards with the slightest of wrong moves.
Quest of Dungeons is presented with sprites and pixel art assets. It’s a title that appears to have come out of the 16-bit era or mid 90s, which is charming and belies the difficulty that awaits you. The overall combat and movement is presented from an overhead view on the top screen, while the level map and other information is displayed on the touch screen. Monsters will also spew little quips and pop culture references I couldn’t help but giggle at.
And, finally, we have the music. Quest of Dungeons is filled with fantastic tunes that add to the ambience and challenging boss battles. I’ve often left the device on just to listen to the merchant’s tune. All of the tracks are absolute gems.
Release Date: 25 March 2014 (29 September 2016 for 3DS version)
Developer: Upfall Studios
Publisher: Upfall Studios
Genre: Role-playing game
Platform(s): Android, iOS, Linux, MacOS, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS (review platform), Xbox One
Industry average score: 76/100 (Xbox One)
Verdict: Quest of Dungeons may be a title you can run through in under two hours, but each playthrough will never be the same. The variety of items and randomly generated dungeons means you’ll be playing the game for a long time to come. It’s a game you really need to own.