Game Review #314: Devious Dungeon 2 (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Steven G.
Developer: Woblyware / Ratalaika Games
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Category: Action Platformer
Release Date: 05.17.2019
Price (At Time of Review): $7.99
Buy Devious Dungeon 2 from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
Continuing The Roguelite Formula
Devious Dungeon 2 is a roguelite action platformer much in the vein of recent dungeon diving games, such as Rogue Legacy or Spelunky. The game offers a similar formula to what those games bring to the table, but sadly overall the game falls quite short of the predecessors it so emulates. Although the game is fun and offers what has become a proven formula it just doesn’t impress or set itself apart from the pack in any meaningful ways.
Drag and Drop
We see the classic story being revived in this game, with the evil Summoner overseeing a glorious castle teaming with loot and monsters. You seek to enter the castle and destroy The Summoner to take his vast fortune from him, as troves of heroes have attempted before you. Choose between the Barbarian, Mage, or Rogue and prepare yourself. The small hamlet situated outside the castle has tons of charm, with characters so memorable that they spout the same lines repeatedly, don’t talk at all, or just offer you upgrades and new weapons. The lore here doesn’t run deep, and the cookie cutter story isn’t going to surprise you. Assault the castle and beat the bad guy.
Gameplay Above All Else
As you begin the game, you are placed in the town described above and proceed to jettison yourself into the guarded portal at the far end of the town. The gameplay consists of platforming with hack ‘n’ slash gameplay mechanics. The biggest things you are trying to accomplish here is to defeat all the enemies to get as much money as possible, find the key in each level, and progress to the next stage. The games offer a little bit of variety by offering quests to defeat certain numbers of enemies or destroy certain types of objects in order to gain extra money. Mini bosses spread throughout and bounties on stronger characters help, but basically be prepared for a slugfest of action and jumping in which you beat enemies repeatedly with your weapon of choice.
I will say however, that as you progress through the game the difficulty is upped through new monsters, not stronger versions of creatures that you’ve seen before. They have the same archetypes (archer, big soldier, etc.), but they offer new models and slight upgrades to their attacks where you have to re-learn each new monster’s attack waves to take as little damage as possible so that you can continue to progress through the dungeon. The Treasure, Quests, and Wanted list attempt to offer you “achievements” to spice things up but fail to really make things interesting. It just felt like another thing you had to do before you could progress to the next stage. The platforming is pretty much what you would expect, with only slight wonkiness to it. Response time when trying to dodge an attack or miss spike traps is where you really notice that that’s not how you are meant to play this one.
Rogue-Lite As Usual
As with most roguelites and roguelikes the point of the game is to get as far as possible while attaining as many resources as you can, and then to die so that you can upgrade your character to allow yourself a better shot the next time you enter the dungeon. This game is no different, offering the traditional RPG upgrades. You have three stats that you are upgrading with each level: Damage, Critical Hit, and Health. You choose one to upgrade each level, and then upgrade your armor, weapon, potion slot item, and held item with the money you are acquiring. The weapons offer some interesting abilities like freezing and poisoning properties, but mostly just have upgraded damage or differing weapon speeds. Upgrades come more quickly I found in this title as the loop is more user-friendly than a lot of roguelikes I have played. Usually grueling opening segments are the norm in roguelikes, so that you can really feel your character getting more powerful as you progress. A pro and a con to this title is that the game is quite easy from the get-go, allowing for people to really jump in and progress quickly, but the upgrades and progress don’t feel as rewarding.
Love Them Pixels
The game has great pixel art, and really nails the feel and aesthetic it is going for. The visuals are pleasing to the eye and really feel like you’re playing something from the SNES era. The character designs are well done, and especially when upgrading armor, you see quite a variety of models that are fun to switch between. Monster design is spectacular, and with the monster types you fight completely changing as you progress through the dungeon, you get to see way more interesting designs. The map is atrocious. With a game that asks you to look for hidden locations and a traversal of the whole area, the map could really use an upgrade. It uses a “fog of war” style to reveal where you have been, which is common, however the pixel graphics used in the design leave something to be desired. Places you have been don’t fill out great, which sometimes makes you wonder if you missed something. The music offers a classic midi-style soundtrack that you would find in most games of the time they are trying to emulate, but the hard cuts in the music loop, and serious lack in diversity doesn’t give the charm that older pixel-era games music tends to.
Devious Dungeon 2 offers up a game that some people will really enjoy. It uses a popular formula and doesn’t do anything to negatively affect itself, but the game doesn’t take any risks. No interesting story, or any story at all for that matter. Gameplay is exactly what you would think with the basics of two-button jumping and attacking at your repertoire, and the loop is extremely easy to master and progress through. Stats and upgrades are as common as they come. Nothing sets this game apart from the pack, and I fear that will ultimately result in the game getting lost in the shuffle.
Buy Devious Dungeon 2 from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Ratalaika Games