Programming frameworks like Unity are making games development a bit easier. Sure you still have to know what you’re doing but it gives you a base to work with so that you don’t have to learn worry about different systems. As much as this is a plus point the negative side of this is as much it enables developers to put out content a bit quicker it can also enable developers utter rubbish. Maybe for every 20 or so bad games that I have seen emerge from Unity I find one that is tolerable and maybe very oddly one that is actually good.
One More Dungeon is one of the Unity made games that deserves at least some respect. It’s effectively a rogue first person dungeon crawler where the levels and beastie locations are randomly generated for each turn. Your goal on each level is to find the major enemy in the level and subdue it get the key to access the next level, and you get one life to make all ten levels. To perform this task you are initially issued with two weapons. A sharp implement for stabbing (melee weapon) and a staff (for ranged attacks) that can shoot one of a randomly assigned power; green (poison), red (fire) or blue (ice). The staff is powered by crystals with the same colour and you find these by mostly just lying around the dungeon or by smashing boxes open. Sometimes when you smash a box open, kill a beastie or open a chest the game rewards you with a new weapon which can certainly help you in your quest.
One More Dungeon has a definite sense of style to it, the graphics are super low-res 8-bit style which makes it feel like a bit of a throwback to the days of Doom. Rogue-like games sit in a weird space for me. As much as I love the challenge of something like The Binding Of Isaac or the fantastic FTL I think there are times where the rogue element is not needed. It seems a lot of developers are jumping on this bandwagon now and it’s not necessarily a good thing. Maybe because I played Doom I feel like levels 3D levels need to be designed so you can set some sort of pace. The level design should encourage me as a player to take a few risks and balance the need to replenish my own health and ammo as well as provide fun. One More Dungeon makes me genuinely afraid to use my ranged weapons because I have no idea when the game might randomly generate crystals of the right colour for my staff which is then punishing me for no good reason at all and really breaks the flow of the game.
There are few other things that bother me about the game. The first is a gripe about a gameplay mechanic that I feel should have been implemented. The bats can get stuck in spider webs that hang from the ceiling but it seems that this only applies to bats who have not already been alerted to your presence. By this I mean you cannot lure a bat into a web and get it stuck then attack it safely. I tried to do this several times when I saw that bats could get stuck but had no luck which I found quite disappointing. It just seems like it’s missing to me and potentially an easy win gameplay mechanic. If I was the developer I would make it work or at least make the bat break the web to show that it went through and then give it a chance of getting stuck. The second is the game would be better with some sort of character progression. You can spend the points that you earn in the levels on Mutators which do alter the gameplay by making your character stronger (more health) or enemies weaker or altering the graphics but this is just like a difficulty multiplier and really not any extra gameplay. It would be really nice to be able to upgrade my player to be able to start with better stats, or purchase weapons so I may have a better chance of survival. You do pick up coins within the game which I have yet to use, I guess there is a shop somewhere that you can spend them in but they reset to 0 with every new game that you start so again they seem a bit pointless.
Considering the game cost me £3.99 I’m not going to say it’s awful, the developer has done a good job but it is lacking. It provides quite a challenge and probably has more complexity to it than I have seen but I don’t feel compelled to play it a lot more than I already have. I certainly don’t feel rewarded by just opening a new Mutator. Audio wise the music is okay but gets very repetitive very quickly and the effects of hitting beasties could do with being better. It’s a good effort for a fair price that could be a better if it had embraced an RPG element a bit more or given me more reasons to want to play it more but in the end the answer to “One More Dungeon?”. No thanks.
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