App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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There's always going to be an ancient evil threatening a kingdom or a horrible dragon capturing innocents. What makes each adventure worth taking are the steps we take and paths we follow along the way. And Deep Dungeons of Doom follows a path I don't think I've ever quite seen before.
Each of Deep Dungeons of Doom's dungeons is a sort of mini RPG plot unto itself. Exploring a cursed monastery, rescuing a young woman captured by a demonic polar bear, and slaying a legendary sewer monster are only a few examples. Rather than wandering through a maze or trudging through caves filled with random encounters, each of the three unlockable characters (Crusader, Mercenary, Witch) will systematically move from floor to floor. Sometimes they'll encounter priests to bless them with stat boosts, other times they might find an altar that will restore their health. Most of the time, though, they'll have a fight on their hands. The combat is a simple system of tapping one button to attack (once it's charged) and another to defend, but it becomes a bit more complex when trying to read enemy movements to predict attacks and avoid getting blocked.
Deep Dungeons of Doom is a rather simplified and arcade-like approach to an action RPG, but it's balanced surprisingly well. Levels and buffs are tied to each dungeon, so once it's finished the character resets to almost zero. However, any items or gear that are found (and equipped) will remain. Other incremental upgrades can be earned and bought by discovering altars at the end of certain levels and then paying for the new-found ability. These changes are permanent, so long as they're enabled, and will affect the adventurer throughout each stage. It's a series of light RPG and equipment systems that are just simple enough to compliment the two-button gameplay, yet deep enough to warrant plenty of attention. Plus it looks fantastic with lots of stylized characters and detailed animations, which is always nice.
It was unfortunate, however, to learn that a decent chunk of Deep Dungeons of Doom's content has to be unlocked via in-app purchase. What's available is definitely serviceable; I just want more. A slightly bigger irritation is the use of Revive Tokens that can only be earned once per completed dungeon. After that it appears as though they have to be purchased. Unless players wish to forfeit their ability to continue once they die and risk losing all their dungeon progress and equipped items, anyway.
Still, as a quirky Roguelike (kind of) that legitimately does something different, Deep Dungeons of Doom excels. It's great for quick sessions but offers up a fair amount of longevity. Especially for players who are willing to unlock the rest of it and tackle the endless dungeon.