Would you believe that I was actually excited to play a game from Kool2Play? I genuinely was this time around. Dungeons and Aliens claims to be a “comedic mashup of sci-fi and fantasy clichés” with “fresh mechanics: Swipe and slash meets tower defense”. One guess for how I felt by the end of it…
Correct! Utterly fucking let down! Despite Dungeons and Aliens having quite a gripping intro, once the gameplay started I was swiftly kicked in the nut sack by the actual reality once the gameplay came into effect. This was followed quickly by a sigh of anguish as I was once again forced to use the least interesting features that could be implemented into a game.
The opening for Dungeons and Aliens, as I said a moment ago, was pretty gripping. It opens with a catchy cartoon-like intro of Dwarf-Wizards noticing a preparing to take on an alien invasion. This is quite a fresh idea as there are little-to-no examples of a crossover of this nature. However, there was the ambitious quote of the game world being Tolkien in nature, but was it? It fucking wasn’t at all.
There wasn’t even an ounce of diversity within the protagonistic crew. There was a devastatingly dire volume of character sprites throughout for the “good guys”. Fortunately, there is a quite the crew of intergalactic freaks to feast your eyes upon. Not only do they vary in looks, but also size and the abilities they bring to the field to challenge you across the huge number of levels you can play through.
The ambition of the story is commendable but the actual execution is far from what I had expected. The only real show of ambition from the concept is within the antagonists. Every other idea appears to be left with a quick ‘meh’ as Kool2Play stroke their enormous phallic ego now that they put together a story of elementary levels of brilliance. It’s at least a step forward from everything else I’ve suffered through from them.
As for the gameplay in Dungeons and Aliens, I recommend a pre-emptive eye roll which possesses an amount of force that will force your entire body across the floor. Once again there is almost nothing to offer in terms of actual features.
The main element you have in terms of anything that even comes close to an actual game is taking aim at the enemies coming at you. This means moving a cursor around your screen and highlighting what you want to shoot. The issue is that you don’t actually press anything to shoot them! You just pick an enemy, wait for it to die, and then rinse repeat as necessary, just like it says to on my goddamned shampoo bottle! All this to save a set number of NPC’s so you can claim 3 stars on each level for a meager coin reward.
Another thing you can do with the cursor is pick up and place obstacles across the ‘battlefield’. These obstacles stop your aggressors in their tracks as they need to destroy them before they can continue their advance. This feels like the poor man’s attempt at creating a defense mechanism ala Plants vs. Zombies without the ability to create more blockades. This does mean you need to manage what you have, though it doesn’t really stress the need to do this much throughout.
Throughout progression, you do unlock more ways to help you disperse of the alien threat. Though, like everything else from Kool2Play, it’s about as awe-inspiring as dust on a beige plate manufactured by Dull-As-Fuck Inc.
Overall there are three abilities to unlock; a meteor to deal splash damage on a focussed area, a freeze spell to stop enemies in their tracks, and a lightning strike which deals reduced chain damage to all enemies on screen. Even though they are upgradeable they don’t make the game fun to play. You could probably throw every inanimate object in your home at your Nintendo Switch JoyCon and easily complete whatever level you are doing thanks to the brain-dead ease required to play Dungeons and Aliens.
The main thing with Dungeons and Aliens that was anywhere close to halfway decent was the visual style applied. Thanks to the cartoony nature (similar to that seen in Nice Slice) the game actually appeared to be appealing. The drawback was how everything was animated. I didn’t expect things on the screen to flourish, but I did expect more than unenthusiastic arm flicks and piss poor, slippery footed running. Hell, cartoons from the 60’s had more praiseworthy animation than what was seen here.
This made the visuals feel sloppy. It was disappointing to see something looking as good as Dungeons and Aliens get slapped with the same sort of animation attempt as a C-class Newgrounds Flash Animation from the mid-2000s.
As for the replayability of Dungeons and Aliens, you could go back and replay the levels if you want. Though the only real appeal to do so would be to attain 3-stars on whatever levels you have yet to. Other than achieving 100% completion, I feel that there isn’t any other real reason to want to go back and endure what has to be some of the most unappealing gameplay Kool2Play have put out so far.
You do get rewarded from previously played levels with the same amount of coins though depending on the star award you receive. This means that you can gain enough coins to improve your skills and abilities to tackle a level you may be stuck on at least. Though you may find that you don’t actually do this very often thanks to how basic the game is at its core.
Overall, Dungeons and Aliens is potential that Kool2Play just couldn’t seem to fulfill. Again they fail to make a game with interesting gameplay mechanics. I fail to be surprised by this given everything else I have played from them, but to see a game with an interesting premise such as I did hope for a lot more this time around. Quality takes a hit thanks to Kool2Play trying to spit out games as fast as they like I do (insert penis joke here).