Monday, April 25, 2011

Dungeon Raid

I actually found out about this game over a week ago and I have been attempting to bring this review to you since then, but this game is very addicting!  On to the review.

Dungeon raid is a puzzle RPG for iOS, but I have to stress, it is not like Puzzle Quest.  In a good way.  (I really liked Puzzle Quest, but the computer cheats.  End of sentence.)  Back to Dungeon raid, the basic game is a matching game, match at least three tiles and something happens.  To match you simply draw a line around the tiles.  As you can see above, diagonals are allowed, and you can even cross the line over itself on a diagonal if you need to.  Matching three tiles gives you the benefits of the tiles you clear, but every tile beyond the third one has a chance to give you an extra tile.  You can increase the percentage to 100% by leveling up in the game.

The catch is that after every match you make, any skulls on the screen attack you.  The skull in the screenshot has 3 numbers next to him from top to bottom that that is his attack, defense, and life.  The combined attack of all skulls on the screen minus your armor comes out of your life which is the red pot in the lower right.  

Here are the different types of tiles that you can match:
  • Skulls, matching three or more skulls does your base damage to it. (The number below the skull at the bottom of the screen or 4 in the screenshot)  Skulls are only cleared if you do enough damage to bring its life below zero.  When you clear a skull experience is added to the green bar at the bottom of the screen.
  • Swords, by themselves do nothing, but when matched with a skull they add the weapon damage to your attack for each sword in the match. (Weapon damage is the number below the sword at the bottom of the screen or 2 in the screenshot above)  So two skulls and two swords would hit both skulls for 8 damage following the numbers from the screenshot.
  • Potions, these restore your life when you match them.
  • Coins, which fill up the coin box in the lower left.  When the box is filled you can select one new piece of equipment, which will typically upgrade maximum armor, health, or weapon damage.
  • Shields, which replenish you armor to make you take less damage from monster attacks.  Any shields that you pick up when your armor is full start to fill up the blue upgrade bar at the bottom of the screen.  Once this is filled you are able to upgrade one piece of your equipment.  There are many different types of upgrades, including the possibility to upgrade any stat, add life stealing to your attacks, counterattacking the monsters, and more.
As you clear skulls and build experience, you'll level up which will let you pick skills to use.  The skills don't cost anything to use, but after they are used you need to wait for them to become ready for use again.  Picking the same skill multiple times during level ups will reduce the cool-down time by one turn.

The stats on the skulls slowly increase as you play so you need to try and get the most out of every turn or you will be overwhelmed.  The bonus tiles you get from the larger matches will add up quickly into more upgrades, levels, and equipment.

To make things interesting, every so often a super skull will appear with special powers.  These powers range from nice things like being worth tons of money but running away after a few turns, to bad things like freezing tiles so they can't be cleared, to really bad things like preventing damage to all other skulls until its dead, or turning one sword into a skull each round.

Killing these boss skulls can drop trophies which will let you unlock new classes and level up classes.  Classes add a lot of replay value to the game.  Each class has a specific perk and flaw that they start with, a special skill that only they can use, and a new race.  Each race has an ability, and a mortal enemy (One of the special skulls that gets additional powers).  As you advance the class's level, you unlock the ability to add in other class' perks, flaws, and skills.  

Skill choice screen.
The class select screen is shown on the left, and the perk select screen is on the right above here.  As you can see the rogue is level one right now, so I don't have the option to customize anything, but he does get +10% bonus gold chance that the default adventurer wouldn't get.  Unfortunately 3% of the shields that appear will be broken and worthless.  The starting race for the rogue class is very good, and you need to level the class to five to unlock the race to be used in a different class.  The last tab is the skill tab.  The skill showing in the tab is the classes' special skill, it will always appear on the first level up, and cannot be replaced with another skill.  You can unlock it for use in other classes by leveling the class to level 10.  You can also customize which skills appear in the game by dragging them up from the lower bar to replace the ones on the grid.  You gain this option every other level up in the class.

The game has four difficulty levels for you to go through as you become more skilled in the game.  It also has a very through tutorial mode right off of the main menu.  With ten classes, perks, and flaws, and a lot of skills, you can really play this game many different ways.  It is easy enough for a non-gamer to pick up and love, but the harder modes will provide a challenge unless you get a strategy down.

My current favorite strategy is to combine collection skills with Treasure Chamber.  Treasure chamber makes it so that any new tile that falls down is a coin until your next move.  Collection skills pick up all of one type of tile giving you credit for the tile and bonuses, but do not count as a move.  This can lead to getting multiple screens worth of all coins, lots of upgrades, and a good chance of surviving that next Assassin skull that drops down.
Those four skills combo very well.
Summary:  This is easily the best game I have played on my iPhone.  If you play games on your iPhone you should try it.  There is a lite version that you can play for free as well as the full version which costs $2.99.  If you get half as much play out of it as I have, it is worth several times the asking price.  Go get this!