App Reviewed on: iPad 3
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I like to think of myself as a decent fan of dungeon crawlers. I also like to think that I’m capable of appreciating one that includes turn-based combat and old school style searching for hidden loot. I think I could even learn to enjoy some melodramatic narration, even if the accompanying text is riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. I would say that I could appreciate all that and let Dungeon Lore off the hook but it’s been released in such a sorry state (major bugs) that to do so would be unfair to everyone involved.
Dungeon Lore bears many similarities to other typical dungeon crawlers on the surface. It uses a top-down isometric view (although it can be adjusted with two-fingered swipes), involves exploring small networks of interconnected rooms full of monsters to slay and loot to find, and there’s the constant character progression with stat and ability adjustments along the way. Where it begins to differ is in the turn-based combat, which isn’t all that typical of the genre when Roguelikes are taken out of the equation, and in the loot system. Unlike similar titles most loot dropped is more like useless, formless junk with inexplicable value. Between levels players can go to the shop to cash it all in, then use their payout to buy new gear and spells. Then they get to dive into another perilous adventure and do it all again.
While some might bemoan the bizarre mechanics Dungeon Lore makes use of, I find them to be enjoyable. I can’t quite explain it but it’s nice to play a dungeon crawler that’s not entirely by the numbers. Another major source of my appreciation is the way in which players can fully customize their hero not only by tailoring his stats to their liking but by selecting from a sizable list of abilities that include devastating magic spells, ranged weapon specializations, and a few aspects of thievery.
The interface is a bit clunky and the initiative rolls in combat have a tendency to result in characters taking two consecutive turns in a row, but those are minor issues. The biggest problem I have with Dungeon Lore is that buying anything from the shop seems to trigger a crash bug that makes the game unplayable. So it’s either play the same couple of levels over and over again or never use the shop. But what bothers me most is that the game was released in such a state. Seriously, what the heck?
Assuming the extremely unfortunate crash bug is taken care of I could see Dungeon Lore being a decent fix for genre fans. It has its quirks but the actual gameplay and exploration can be enjoyable. It’s just a shame that the shop breaks everything.