App Reviewed on: iPad Pro
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Slay the Spire is still a popular inspiration for mobile games, it seems. After Royal Booty Quest, Pirates Outlaws, and probably many others, Dungeon Tales: RPG Card Game has come along to also nakedly borrow from the popular card-based, roguelite dungeon-crawler that has found success on Steam. Much like its other imitators, Dungeon Tales isn’t amazing, but it once again proves there is something compelling about this gameplay formula on mobile.
Defeat the dungeon
Dungeon Tales has no specific narrative setup for itself. You just choose a class, enter a dungeon, and try to progress as far as possible without dying. Just like Slay the Spire, progressing in the game involves winning enounters that use a card-based combat system.
Every round of combat, your character has a limited amount of stamina to spend on cards, as well as a limited hand size. The key to Dungeon Tales is using early combat encounters to try and optimize your deck so that later, more difficult battles give you the exact tools you need to win when you need them. To break up this combat, each dungeon also features other points of interest to encounter like bonfires to rest, random events that can grant bonuses, or even chests full of loot.
Each time you start a game of Dungeon Tales, you have a very basic deck of cards, but as you get further into a run you get the opportunity to customize your deck by adding and removing cards. You get new cards almost every time you win a battle, and you can remove cards from your deck if you ever stop at bonfire.
The main draw of Dungeon Tales and games like it is the potential to craft a deck that feels unique and effective against all of your enemies. This game features a good amount of card variety to allow for multiple kinds of deck builds, but some of its card-gathering can feel so random that it’s hard to make the exact kind of deck you want.
The random factor of Dungeon Tales can be frustrating, but it also seems intentional. This is a game that wants you to play it a lot, and perhaps teach you how to make the most of situations, even when they aren’t ideal. Unfortunately though, Dungeon Tales doesn’t quite feel packed with everything it needs to make you want to keep diving into it as much as it wants you to.
The big problem on this front is the fact that Dungeon Tales currently only has one class you can play as. The game clearly communicates that it intends to add more classes to the game, but right now you’re stuck playing as a warrior on every run. This is also a free-to-play game that is supported by pop-up ads, which can definitely take the momentum out of play sessions (note: you can pay $ 2.99 removes ads from the game).
The bottom line
Dungeon Tales is a decent clone of Slay the Spire, but there’s nothing about it that makes it any more compelling than any of the other clones out there. Heck, the fact that it only has one class actually makes it worse at competing with other games in this crowded space. If it had some other edge, like the ability to play in portrait mode, I could see Dungeon Tales finding a way to stand out on mobile, but alas, it doesn’t.