Developer: Ratalaika Games // Stately Snail
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Category: First Person, Action, Role-Playing
Release Date: 12.14.2017
At first touch, One More Dungeon instantly transports you back to the early days of gaming. I’m talking way back in the old Wolfenstein 3D and Doom days, with it’s first-person, dungeon-crawly approach set in a colorful, blocky world. You’ll play as the game’s nameless hero, lurking your way through a dungeon, traveling to it’s deepest levels in search of magic obelisks that are invading your world with evil, obviously with the intent to destroy them. The goal is simple, and the game that’s built around it is equally simple.
Yet, while the game is simple, it can still manage to suck you in for hours and hours of fun. You begin equipped with a simple dagger and a magical staff that shoots burst of energy off the power of crystals. You’ll find it much easier to stick to use of the staff instead though, as the dagger (or any melee weapon you obtain) seems to only work as a last ditch effort to fend off whatever enemy has worked it’s way into your face.
Speaking of enemies, there aren’t many variants, but you’ll encounter quite a lot of them. From bats and snakes to zombies and magical beings, these guys lurk everywhere in the game. The mentality behind them though seems to be strength in numbers, as they aren’t the brightest. You are given plenty of time to get in a few first strikes, as they don’t seem to recognize you’re even in the room until you’re extremely close, or you’ve already landed a shot with your staff. Even after they attack you, nothing (with the exception of the bats) tries to do anything smart or evasive on their path towards you. They see you and make a straight line to where you are, while the bats have this awkward mid-air side step that, as far as I can tell, is completely random and not AI-relative.
On the players end, aiming your staff can be quite annoying. The game’s sensitivity controls are way too powerful, with a simple tap of the right joystick moving way more than you would want or expect. It won’t take long before you’re aiming as close as you can, then side stepping to finesse the kill shot. You’re also committed to looking on a single plane, rather than adding up and down visibility to the game. This in and of itself isn’t a horrible thing, except a lot of the level designs include things on the ground, or hanging from the ceiling that appear to be items you can interact with.
Still, One More Dungeon brings a good deal of greatness along with its shortcomings. For one, all the levels are procedurally generated, promising a different experience every time you launch the game. This alone can drastically alter even the difficulty for the level that you are on. Over the course of my first handful of play attempts, I probably spent a minimum of an hour or so combined, wandering around the first level only to be greeted by every enemy instead of the exit to the next level of the dungeon. After all that, I booted the game up and due to the layout shift I found the exit in only a couple of minutes.
What changes the experience even more are the games built in modifiers. As you play the game you acquire a score based on what you do. After dying, this score stays totaled up on the main screen, and the points can be used to purchase things to modify the game. The best part is that whether you’re having trouble getting anywhere in this game at all, or you feel like it’s too easy, there’s modifiers for everything. If it’s too tough, you can purchase things to increase your starting arsenal, extend your health, or cut your enemies in half. Or if it’s a breeze, make the enemies tougher, make the levels bigger, and play under a condition where every thirty seconds you lose a point of health.
So, far from being a perfect game, One More Dungeon is still a great deal of fun. Those looking for a small taste of some older games, with a few new twists on it, will have a good time with this game.
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