Version Reviewed: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 4S
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The very concept of a card-based dungeon grinder where players fight and ultimately capture anime-styled monster girls as sidekicks, while winning their affection by giving them random found trinkets, is likely to split most readers into two groups. I’m going to assume those still reading this are at least vaguely intrigued based on that description, if only because they haven’t joined the other half who are scrambling for the exit as we speak.
Actually, calling the environments of Dungeon and Girls (which I will hereafter refer to as D&G in what I hope was a deliberate nod on the part of iQubi to Dungeons & Dragons) a dungeon is a bit of a misnomer. It’s not really a ‘dungeon’ so much as an ‘unbranching hallway stretching off into infinity.’ Though I suppose that’s less evocative and wouldn’t fit easily into a title. Still, the hallmarks of an old-school dungeon crawl are there: dank subterranean masonry, a first-person perspective, treasure chests, monsters that look like anime girls. Well, maybe that last one’s not so much old school.
Movement, combat, and pretty much everything else in D&G is handled with cards. There are four different varieties of cards: Attack, Counter, Charge, and Heal. Each one has a speed value (indicating how many ticks forward along the dungeon ‘map’ the player moves), and a larger value at the bottom showing how much effect the card has. Attack and Heal are self-explanatory. Counter functions as a defense card of sorts, taking reduced damage from the next enemy attack and retaliating with an attack of its own. Charge has the player forgo their turn in exchange for adding the card value to whatever their next turn action happens to be.
The mechanics are relatively simple to pick up and understand. There’s a degree of strategy involved in trying to use the correct movement distance cards in order to hit certain encounter locations, such as chests, while still reserving powerful cards for combat, but in the end the systems are pretty forgiving. It’s important to note that while sidekicks keep any levels and powers that they have accumulated over time, the player’s character resets to their default state after each dungeon run. However, it’s not as frustrating as it sounds.
With a few unlockable class options and a ton of monster companions to add to the entourage, there’s a fair bit of replay in D&G, provided that players don’t find the basic mechanic tedious or boring. I wish that the developers had done more to allow actual deck-building on the part of the players (the current booster mechanic feels half-baked and the upgrade system is a bit hazy as well), but Dungeon and Girls is an amusing enough time sink that will definitely appeal to a specific market. However, the rest of us might feel a little awkward playing it on the bus or in line at the bank.