The PC is overrun by top down dungeon crawlers, some good, some bad but some can be downright unusual and outrageous in a huge variety of ways.
Enter Paradox Interactive and Brazilian newcomers Critical Studios’ Dungeonland, which is one of these said unusual and outrageous top down dungeon crawlers, sporting wacky cartoony characters and colourful environments which may
not be anything new, but may be enough to keep players interested as things get crazy onscreen.
This may be too much to handle for older PC’s, as a decent quad core processor is needed as a minimum to maintain the frame rates that keep this game fast moving and frantic.
Dungeonland is set in a medieval theme park which has been overrun by the evil overseer named The Dungeon Maestro and his minions. The player controls one of three heroes, The Rogue, The Warrior or The Mage, each with their own skill set to take down hordes of enemies. Not much of a story here - goodies take down hundreds of baddies to eventually take down the big baddie. It would be more fitting to see this title on mobile devices than a PC because of its simplicity. It just feels like a game you could just pull out your pocket and play on the train or the bus.
The gameplay is just as simple as the story, plain old hack and slash in three different forms corresponding to whichever character you play. The Mage is a wizard who uses an assortment of spells, The Warrior uses his melee weaponry and brute strength and The Rogue has his throwing daggers and guns and each class has sub classes. For example you can choose whether to be an ice mage or fire mage. The game essentially plays similar to games like Torchlight and Diablo. Players use the mouse to aim and W, A, S and D keys to move, other keys can utilize pickups and potions taken from dead enemies and a secondary skill which is limited by a gauge. RPG elements are evident with the characters being levelled up and more powerful armour and weapons that can be equipped also picked up from dead enemies or bosses. Dungeonland is really fun to play but it is very difficult due to the insane amount of action onscreen, which will cause the player to lose their character in the large crowds during the busiest of brawls. Very frustrating.
The game plays best with a friend to play co-operatively throughout the entire game which enables players to work together to battle the humongous crowds which makes things a hell of a lot easier and when a player dies, they respawn at the start of the level. The shallow gameplay suddenly feels deeper as players mix their classes, enabling unique and powerful combined team up moves that take tonnes of enemies out at once in one huge spectacle. Players collect gold from fallen foes which can be collected to unlock passive and active abilities such as healing and defensive perks.
Dungeonland looks bright and colourful with its colourful graphics but looks like a cartoon you would find on a children’s TV channel. Characters have protruding features that give each one a unique look like huge chins, noses and eyes, giving this game a light-hearted personality and quite a bit of humour. The environments look great too with medieval textures and features, but because of the hectic onscreen action, it’s hard to stand and gorp. I love the graphics and the style used although not very much detail unfortunately. Enemies are just as wacky as the human characters with the monsters looking like overgrown monkeys and bulls as well as demonic chickens.
The best feature of Dungeonland was the multiplayer where one players play as the Dungeon Maestro, who uses his minions to try to kill the other player. Whether it’s a standard enemy or take control of the huge bosses, I loved this and had superb fun playing the baddies trying to take my friend down online.
A standard dungeon crawler this may be, but Dungeonland boasts a kind of unique wacky personality that is funny and unusual, which kept me playing till the very end. However, the simplicity of the
gameplay makes me wonder if there will be a mobile port out soon as it would be very fitting. The graphics are light-hearted and full of the character and colour but the biggest selling point is the superb multiplayer.
Developer: Critical Studios
Publisher: Paradox Interactive
Genre: Dungeon crawler
Release date: 29th January 2013
Story – 2/5
Graphics – 4/5
Gameplay – 4/5
Overall – 3.5/5