Developer: Red Winter Software Limited
Price: $1.99
Version Reviewed: 1.41
App Reviewed on: iPad 2

Graphics/Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

There’s a certain campy pleasure to be found in apps whose core gameplay is solid and fun, and whose English is so full of copy errors that it only lends to a general humorous air about the entire process of playing. Enter Dungelot, where dying is frequent, dungeons are traversed, and a fairly simple and quick-to-play Rogue-like is at hand; which is to say, the goal is to die a lot, slowly build up resources and knowledge, and hope to do better the next go.

The mechanics of Dungelot are such that there is a 6×5 grid full of dungeon to explore. Tap a square and it is explored, revealing a monster, treasure, some life points, or various other bits and bobs. The character selected at the start gives certain bonuses and abilities to help make this trip a bit easier, and there’s enough variance that each class (paladin, vampire, brewer, and assassin) truly does feel different. At first, only the paladin is available, however; the other classes become unlocked as certain milestones are reached in the dungeon.

If the hero dies, all is not lost. There is a score tally of what has occurred, which leads to gaining coins, which further leads to being able to buy upgrades for the classes’ abilities. The hero’s corpse is also laid down on the dungeon floor on which he died, and can be reached and obtained again for a rather big boost in health, attack, and coins. It’s a fun system that takes the Rogue-like formula, makes it fairly friendly for bursts of play on a mobile device, and has cute graphics.

That being said, I struggle to understand why the only female characters in the entire venture are maidens to be rescued. All four heroes are male, and given the potential audience for games on iOS devices, this seems like the sort of oversight that grows increasingly frustrating and noticeable.

Further, the lack of an ability to pull up a class’s abilities during the dungeon crawl itself seems to fit into the minimal design aesthetic, but also creates a level of frustration early on when it isn’t all that apparent how the class fully works.

Thankfully, a lot of the latter gripe is alleviated by shorter runs, which means there will be perusing of stats, how to increase them, and a general sense of increasing accomplishment. This is a game that is both punishing and rewarding in equal measure, though at times it feels like the balance is still being tweaked and understood.


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