Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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Just in case you aren’t familiar with Q-Cumber Factory’s (a.k.a Rogue Ninja) other work, you should take a look at Ninja Striker!, Rogue Ninja, and Ninja Smasher!. Especially Ninja Smasher. Aside from the cutesy pixel art style, the main thing tying them all together is a mostly simplistic approach to an established genre, and fun. Alchemic Dungeons certainly has all those things.
Alchemic Dungeons gives you a choice of three heroes, then lets you go on your merry way in a procedurally-generated, multi-level dungeon as you try to kill monsters and generally survive. In other words, it’s a roguelike. But it’s a roguelike with that distinct Q-Cumber Factory touch.
What I mean is that it’s been fairly well streamlined so that it’s a bit more accessible than similar titles in the genre while also getting a few new tricks of its own. There’s no mysterious gear to find or unlabeled potions to chug (not that I’ve found, anyway). In fact, it doesn’t seem like you’ll find many potions at all - and in my time spent playing I’ve yet to find a single equipment drop. Finding stuff is still very important, but the focus here is on basic items that can be combined and crafted into something better.
This is why I’ve been so thoroughly wrapped up in Alchemic Dungeons; pretty much everything can be combined with something else, and that combination can then be mixed with another thing, until before you know it you’ve turned your wooden shield into something a fair bit more sturdy with a badass magical enchantment. Then you’re setting monsters on fire with each sword strike and gaining health back whenever you’re hit in combat. It’s really cool, and I think it’s a great addition to the roguelike formula.
Despite the streamlining it does feel a little clunky in places - namely in the menus. Navigation is a little awkward when going from a general list to the crafting and enchanting sections, and not being able to use multiple consumables at the same time is a little irritating - especially when it comes to eating, which usually involves opening the menu to select a food item, eating it, then opening the menu again to eat another food item, and so on. I’m not really a fan of having to scroll through the entire list of items when trying to craft, either. I feel like simply not showing incompatible items (or at least reorganizing the list so that the stuff you can use is all towards the top) would help a whole lot.
Fiddly menus aside, Alchemic Dungeons is a neat little roguelike-lite (or whatever you want to call it). Seriously though, once you’re done checking this one out go back and get Ninja Smasher!.