When Bossa Studios first announced their new mobile game Deep Dungeons of Doom I wanted it immediately but sadly I had to wait until the Android version was released before I could get my greasy little hands on the title. This free-to-play dungeon crawling romp is not only a strangely nostalgic feeling game, it’s also for me an entirely new take on the dungeon crawler which I absolutely love.
First off the game itself stinks of old-school attic dust. The whole game is designed in everyone’s favourite retro 8-bit pixel art style which fits the game perfectly. Right from the word go you’re introduced to some fantastic adventure themed music which is reminiscent of games like Golden Axe from the late 80s/early 90s. With all of this put together, for me the game already cries perfection and I haven’t even played the game yet.
As the story begins you’re told the story of how the world has fallen into darkness with demons and monsters all over the place causing havoc, I mean, what else did you expect? Anyway, you’re requested by King Olavus to seek and destroy the cause of all of this devastation, you’re his only hope! The first level is mostly a tutorial, but at the same time it flows really well.
One thing I must stress with this game is that it’s all about timing, you need to be on the ball with this game or things can go wrong real quick. The game is also about memory too, but I’ll touch more on that later. The first level you’re introduced to the games main mechanics, the Dungeons. Each dungeon is made up of several different levels in which you’re thrown into a 1v1 match with some ghastly creature. Once your foe has been eliminated you swipe up to move to the next level which you’ll either be introduced to another demon/monster/creature or if you’re lucky you’ll meet a priest who can heal you or give you his blessing, which I think tops up your mana, occasionally the priest is also replaced with some sort of demonic altar which can either heal you, or give you an item which will help you on your way.
One thing that struck me with this game was the lack of movement, you can’t move your character in each level which at first felt weird, but actually it makes the game pretty simple. In combat there are only two controls, either tapping on the right side of the screen to attack or tapping on the right side of the screen to block. Attacking is pretty simple, like with most modern RPG’s your attack has a cooldown period, if you’re a tap happy player you’ll be penalised for tapping attack before it cools down so have patience. Blocking is a little more complicated; not to execute, but to time right.
Each foe has it’s own unique attack, some even have more than one, what you have to do is learn what each creature does so you can effectively block their attack and not get injured because if you get out of sync your life can disappear ridiculously quickly. This is where memory comes in. It’s a good idea to try and remember how each enemy attacks, it’s not necessary but it’s damn helpful. Some attack slowly, some attack pretty quickly, others attack, and then again immediately after. If you forget this you can get caught out.
At the end of each dungeon is the boss, these guys are unique compared to the other enemies you’ll face. The boss characters have specific weak points so timing is the key in order to catch it right. As you’d expect with a boss they’re pretty powerful so you need to time the blocks too or you’re toast.
Throughout the game you’ll meet other adventurers who will accompany you on your journey through the Deep Dungeons of Doom, before each level is attempted you can choose which character you’d like to play as. Each character has a unique set of statistics with can be improved during gameplay, how? Oh yeah, I forgot that part. After each enemy is defeated you’ll open a chest which is tucked safely behind them, each time the chests are filled with gold, but sometimes the chests contain helpful loot. Sometimes you’ll also unlock a skill point which allows you to add to the characters stats, there’s Attack, Hit Points, Magic, and Agility to choose from.
The looting system is an interesting part of the game too. As you might expect the loot ranges from helmets to swords to wands each of which has it’s own special attribute. Loot purchased from the in-game shop will be placed in your chest, but loot exchanged whilst in battle will be lost forever. At any one time you can only carry one piece of loot in your Equipment slot, the same goes for your Item slot. Items, now that’s another useful feature. Items range from your simple health potions to other things like Potion of Painful Agility which when used, almost depleted my warriors HP, yeah, thanks for that.. Okay fine, it increased my Agility by 5 points, I’m okay with that.
Lets talk about death shall we, in Deep Dungeons of Doom you will die, I’m not going to sugar coat it, you’re most definitely going to die. When you do you’ll be given a chance to continue where you left off with a revival token, you can collect these at the end of each completed dungeon or, if you’re desperate, you can purchase more in the games shop – this costs real money. If you accept your fate and do die you’ll be given the option to restart the dungeon but this time with a revenge perk. If you die again, well, fat chance you’re going to get another one.
Deep Dungeons of Doom is a fantastic game to pick up and play, so far I’ve played the game a fair bit and not once have I felt the need to purchase any real money perks or items. You can quite happily play the game for free and have a very enjoyable experience. The gameplay is different and I really like it, there’s no endless walking to your destination with the occasional lanky orc popping out the bushes waving his.. sword.. you’re just thrown into the action immediately with this game.
You can grab Deep Dungeons of Doom right now on Google Play, or iTunes, or Amazon App Store, or on the OUYA!