Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPad
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The task is a simple one; somewhere in the dungeon are four treasures. All we need to do is find them and get out alive. But the Dungeon Lord is always watching, placing monsters and traps in our path. And even though every step we take brings us closer to the treasure, we never quite know what else may rise up from the darkness, fangs bared and claws sharpened, ready to end our quest.
Dungeon Heroes is an adaptation of a board game of the same name, and is well-suited to iOS. As a single-player experience, you will take control of a party of four adventurers, each with a unique ability, who attempt to traverse a dungeon full of traps and monsters in an effort to find the four hidden treasures before the dungeon manages to kill them. This provides a very entertaining (if quite difficult) puzzle-like experience. Each adventurer has a special attribute that one must apply carefully to achieve victory. Unfortunately your heroes are also quite fragile, with your Warrior only enduring two or three hits, and everyone else even fewer. That means that you must be both lucky and clever to negotiate the randomly placed traps, defeat the ever-advancing monsters, and emerge victorious.
As a single-player game, Dungeon Heroes is fun. Where it truly shines, however, is as a pass-and-play game. In this mode, one player controls the party as usual, but the other player strategically builds the otherwise-randomly-generated dungeon - placing traps, items, monsters, and treasure, hopefully in such a manner as to psych out their opponent and make sure the heroes never make it out alive. It is very fun trying to out-think the other player, and there is inevitably a lot of “I know she would never put a treasure that close to me... but she knows that I know, but she knows that I know that she knows” moments leading to some delightfully tense exchanges. Dungeon Heroes also supports asymmetrical multiplayer through Game Center.
The game does suffer from some minor design flaws, however. Most notably, in pass-and-play mode there isn’t a decisive enough transition between players – it can be easy for the adventurer player to accidentally see the tiles that the dungeon player is going to be placing. There is also no ‘undo’ option, which makes sense when a move flips over a previously unseen tile but would otherwise be helpful and harmless. Finally, its visuals are quite nice but also very clearly digitized board game assets – not a problem for me, but they could turn off some players.
Dungeon Heroes is a very fun, very challenging game in single-player mode, and doubly as enjoyable as a 2-player game. A lot of polish went into its design, and it’s most assuredly one of the most faithful, playable adaptations of a board game I have seen on iOS.