Super Dungeon Tactics Review
Super Dungeon Tactics attempts to shake up the tactics genre with an unwanted idea: random buffs/debuffs each round. I was curious and went in with an open mind, but the final verdict is definitely that of disappointment and frustration. Tactics lovers beware: in this genre, random is rarely fun.
If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, it consists of moving heroes around on a grid during their turn and attacking if able. Sometimes all the heroes attack and then all the monsters attack, but in this case, turns are split up. Once combat is over due to killing all of the enemies or finishing the objective, you’ll get some story dialogue. In Super Dungeon Tactics, you can then retreat to your Guild Hall where you set up the next mission.
It’s straightforward, and unfortunately, there isn’t much more to it than that. While there are boasts of RPG elements, it’s pretty light. Each hero can equip an item in each of four slots. They also level up as you go from combat to combat, but levels seem somewhat negligible and rather anti-climactic. There are several classes which is nice, but with the systems being so shallow it hardly seems to matter. Each class does feel unique but not until you unlock the active and passive abilities.
Now, the buffs and debuffs. It’s an interesting system but ultimately it fails at providing anything fun. At the start of each round, virtual dice or coins are rolled/flipped and you can then assign the symbols to each of your heroes. You’ll either be giving them a buff, debuff, or heal depending on your roll. It’s simply tedious and a waste of time. The developers, Underbite Games, have added an auto-assign button to save you time. However, it’s terrible. The few times I tried it, my team would be assigned debuffs before using everything else. You can change which dice/coins show up based on your equipment, but that only goes so far. Super Dungeon Tactics would have benefited greatly from scrapping this entire system and instead adding more depth to the items or hero levels.
“A huge gripe that seems to be not only present but consistent is multiple fights in a row without healing.”
The world is pretty bare. The Guild Hall is a good idea, but it’s bland. Unlike say X-COM where you have your base to manage between missions, or Final Fantasy Tactics with its world map and towns, in Super Dungeon Tactics you just check to see if you found new equipment and then set out again. That’s about as much customization as you can do to your heroes, which is disappointing. Once you’re ready to leave, simply hit the quest list, assemble your party, and away you go.
A huge gripe that seems to be not only present but consistent is multiple fights in a row without healing. When used sparingly, this can be a good way to put some stress on the player. This is not so in SDT… I was constantly restarting entire quests after learning that no, this isn’t the only fight, you need to get through four areas with a single health pool. I would often reach the final battle with almost no life and try to win a now nearly impossible scenario just because I didn’t want to replay the last three fights. This is made even worse by the random buff/debuff system, which can seriously hamper you at times when you’ve already got your back against the wall.
To top it all off, the art and story aren’t anything special. The object and terrain art looks alright, but a lot of people will dislike the style they went for with the heroes. Art assets often get in the way during combat and hide creatures or heroes, even if you try to select something through a tree or wall. The lack of transparency is simply annoying.
Dialogue and the story itself is drab and filled with annoying lines that will likely make you hate most of the characters. It’s trying to be tongue-in-cheek but instead, comes off as whiny. The story is hardly there and not really important; most will be better off by just skipping cutscenes and diving into the combat. You won’t be missing much.
“You can do just about everything one-handed, and it’s all rather simple and intuitive.”
The one thing that Underbite did a fantastic job on is the camera and general controls. You can do just about everything one-handed, and it’s all rather simple and intuitive. The camera is responsive and while objects do hide creatures/heroes, it’s very easy to manipulate the way you’re viewing the battlefield.
At around twenty dollars, Super Dungeon Tactics isn’t going to break the bank for most. Really, though, you’re much better off either grabbing one of the X-COM games or almost any other tactics title for PC. With Super Dungeon Tactics, you’re probably just going to get super frustrated instead of having fun.
***A PC code was provided by the publisher***
- Controls are intuitive
- Combat is simple and effective
- Art fits the world
- Terrible UI
- Story is bland
- Cringe-worthy dialogue