Dead Dungeon is, in the developers own words, ‘a hardcore 2D platformer’, and boy, does it ever live up to that statement.
Not a game for the faint of heart, Dead Dungeon will challenge you in a multitude of ways, and often leave you with that wonderful rage that only a truly challenging game can summon. That voice in the back of your subconscious that shouts out in its best Burgess Meredith voice “Get up you ugly bum, go that one more round.” And you will listen.
Never Mess With a Peron’s Sweet Tooth
The story behind Dead Dungeon is a fun one. Plain and simple. A ruthless villain has come to your town and stolen not only the souls of everybody that lives there. but also all of the sweets and goodies everybody loves to snack on.
You are the town’s only hope, and so you delve deep into the dungeon on a quest to return the souls of your townsfolk and the sweet snacks you all so love.
It’s such a ‘nice’ storyline, and is refreshing, although I think the secret meaning behind it is that this is a game about dieting. Giving up your sweet food, the battle against cravings and how, in the first few days, you are willing to sell your soul for a donut or a piece of cake.
A Ruthless Yet Addictive Fast-Paced Gem
The premise of the game is simple. Each level is just a single screen and will see your character contend with jumps, spikes, enemies and other traps as you try and rescue the soul trapped there. Only by collecting the soul can you unlock the door to the next dungeon and progress. Along the way, you will find various sweets and other delectable goodies that you can collect if you want to add an extra challenge to the levels. At the start, you will be like, ‘yeah, gimme that donut’, but the deeper you get the more you think, ‘just give me your soul and let me get out of here’ … just like a diet.
The levels are fast and entertaining. The early ones lasting just a matter of seconds, as you jump and skip everywhere collecting souls like they were fruit for the picking. The difficulty level of this game is not determined by a setting, but rather set on a gradient. There is a strong curve and the deeper you go the more challenging and more fun it becomes.
Get Stuck in Straight Away
The game starts immediately, dropping you into the first level without warning and without instruction. You can move and jump and that’s it. You learn as you go, the old fashioned way of gaming, and is one of the best ways to do it, certainly for a game of this style. One point of note is that it would have been nicer to have a little bit of the backstory explained. The only place it’s really available is through the game’s description on the eShop. It’s only minor, but the idea is so fun, it warranted even a small scene or some means of explanation.
While the levels become almost infuriatingly difficult at times, with your character prone to exploding in a bloody mess as soon as anything touches him, you never want to storm away from the game. It is always you that made the mistake. You know what you did and what you need to change and that’s what pulls you in. It triggers that ‘just one more’ mentality, just like Super Meat Boy and Celeste have done so well in the past years.
There’s Plenty to Keep You Occupied in the Dungeon
The game has a lot to offer. There are (currently) fifty levels, and it could easily be expanded with more should updates and downloads be on the roadmap for the Drageus team. However, for the low price of just $4.99 you get a lot of game for your money. There is also a crazily high replayability factor.
Not only can you go through and try to collect all of the sweets and other collectible items, but the scores for each level are kept on a global leaderboard, so you are not only challenging yourself as you play but the rest of the world. That alone is enough to bring you back to replay any of the levels and try to claim a place in the top ten, or even that golden number one slot.
The description of the game also promises riddles and Easter eggs throughout, but to save from spoiling all of that for you, those things you will just need to discover for yourself, and yes, it adds another layer of enjoyment and replayability to the game.
Never has a Dungeon Been So Nice to Look At
Dead dungeon is a terrifying place, it’s full of horrors and all manner of things that want you dead, in violent, bloodthirsty ways, but it does so with such a gorgeous aesthetic. The square sprites offer a simple yet very effective design for hero and enemies, and the geometric element works well with the puzzle-like nature of the levels. All of this is complemented by the use of bright and bold colors, which make the game a near joy to behold. The blood explosion that happens as soon as anything touches the brave-hearted MC is a bonus that never fails to make an impact and believe me, you will be seeing it a lot!
While the premise for each level remains the same, each one has been lovingly crafted to ensure it tortures you and leaves you begging for more. With a range of traps and obstacles intent on stopping you in your tracks. Everything from dungeon guards to booby traps, spinning saw blades and more. Never straying from the simple aesthetic, there could no question raised about the care Drageus games took to put this all together.
Wandering through the Dungeons in Flawless Fashion
There are a lot of indie games out there on the switch, and a lot of them fall into the lower price brackets. It’s understandable therefore that people can be skeptical about the quality of a game, but that is far from the case with Dead Dungeon.
The game runs at a great pace, with fluidity between screens and no lag during the gameplay itself. Even the loading time of the global leaderboards moves at an impressive speed.
All in all, Dead Dungeon is a very impressive game that gets the heart racing and sucks you into the challenge as well as the competition of it all.
It is the perfect game to pick up and play whenever you have a few spare moments, waiting for a bus, on the bus, or even while your waiting for the coffee to brew. Dead Dungeon his one of those hidden gem indie titles that those who find it will undoubtedly rave about to anybody willing to listen.
Fun and quirky level design
Often infuriatingly difficult
Global leaderboard adds a nice level of competition
Often infuriatingly difficult
A little more explanation of the backstory would have been good.