I’m a sucker for roguelike games, or even those that have elements of them. If the gameplay feels deep enough, random generation can enhance it immensely, however Dungelot: Shattered Lands seems to stumble a bit when it comes to the overall balance of the game. For a title that was initially based on mobile devices, Dungelot: Shattered Lands feels surprisingly beefy, especially considering how easy it is to get into the game.
It takes an interesting spin on roguelikes, in which you reveal bits of each floor of a dungeon. You’ll come across all manners of creatures, but you aren’t forced to fight them like in other roguelikes. You can fight at your own pace, and in some cases, you can clear floors without having to deal with any creatures whatsoever. This is especially welcome at times, because Dungelot has quickly kicked my ass at times one would expect a game to be a little more lenient. Fortunately, Dungelot is very forgiving when it comes to player death, and with how frequent it occurs, this is quite welcome.
“Each enemy is surprisingly challenging, making fights a lot more calculated than you’d expect out of a title that has its roots in the mobile game industry.”
When you die (and you WILL die.), you get to keep any gold you acquired, and you can continue to accumulate it to help gain an edge over the dungeon that has you stuck. It can feel a little monotonous at times though, and there will be times you’ll want to hold off on spending at the shops within a dungeon in order to get a new item or new weapon that allows you to survive tougher encounters.
There are also a bevy of items that you can find that bolster your chances of survival, with some being sly references, such as vibrating wolf medallions. You’ll make use of multiple items, some that can be stacked, to help you conquer each floor, with each region culminating in a challenging boss battle which will definitely prove to be a wall to climb. The satisfaction from clearing acts is immense however, and definitely worth the slog.
I’m actually quite fond of the way that they approached the gameplay in this. Your typical roguelike is more of a dungeon-crawling experience, where in this, you can navigate at your own pace. It plays out like Minesweeper, in a way, and each click of a tile brings that same level of apprehension as it did when you inevitably clicked on a mine and sent that poor smiley face to kingdom come. It’s a fresh take on a genre that rarely innovates Encounters with even the most basic enemies can be quite intimidating, and careless clicking can quickly bring about an end to your run in a dungeon. There are a variety of buffs that enemies can have, as well as quirks that allow you to potentially settle in a more favourable nature.
The combat is definitely one of the high points of the game, in this case. It doesn’t force you into situations, but in some cases, some enemies may benefit from the environment. The appropriately named Rat King getting buffs for each tile of unrevealed dungeon he is touching, and other enemies also get to make use of their. Each enemy is surprisingly challenging, making fights a lot more calculated than you’d expect out of a title that has its roots in the mobile game industry. That’s not meant to be a knock against it in any way though, as Dungelot proves big things can come in smaller packages. It’s deceptively simple appearance belies a ton of content for a modest price, and if you’re in the mood for a game that is great for quick attempts or extended marathons, you’d do well to give this game a shot.
***A PC review code was provided by the publisher***
- Simple and charming graphics
- Progression offsets how punishing the game feels
- Plenty of replayability
- Difficulty seems to stem more from luck
- Progressing can feel a bit “grindy”