Dungeon Raid, a Match-3/RPG hybrid from Fireflame Games, is available for purchase from the app store. A polished offering with simple gameplay, deep strategic elements, and tons of upgrades and abilities to acquire, Dungeon Raid will devour chunks of your life whole.
Dungeon Raid Pros:
- Easy-to-learn game mechanics
- Simple graphical style
- Responsive touch-based controls
- Deep strategic gameplay
- Tons of skills, abilities, upgrades, classes, items, and monsters
- GameCenter and OpenFeint integration for global leaderboards and dozens of achievements
Dungeon Raid Cons:
- No in-game music
Dungeon Raid contains 4 difficulty levels, allowing novices to enjoy Easy or Normal, which seasoned gamers can try their hands at Hard or Harder. There are also 10 unlockable character classes which carry special abilities and change up the gameplay by giving certain advantages and disadvantages depending on your choice. Once selected, you jump right into the game, which presents you with a 6x6 grid of icons, such as coins, shields, health potions, swords, and skulls, which are your enemies. Each turn requires you to select one of the items and trace a contiguous path through at least 3 of the same items to collect them. The more items you match, the more likely you are to earn bonuses. The matched items will be removed from the board, items remaining above the newly-created gaps will fall to fill in the space, and new items will fill in the upper screen portion to create another full 6x6 grid.
Coins will fill your gold box, allowing you to make purchases from over 400 goods in the Item Shop. Health potions will replenish any lost health. Shields will build your defenses, acting as the first line against any attack. When attack strength exceeds your shields, your health takes a hit. Each skull on-screen is rated for defense, attack strength, and health. After you complete your turn, all skulls combine to attack you with the strength represented by the sum of their attack powers. Combining swords with skulls will eliminate the threat posed by the collected skulls. There are 30 special enemies to deal with as well, each with a unique ability that must be factored into your decision-making process. Gameplay becomes a balance of positioning items in configurations that make them easy to collect, while quickly removing the threat of skulls when possible, snagging coins to purchase new abilities, and healing and protecting yourself as needed. You continue to play until you run out of health.
The screen bottom contains a graphical representation of your collected gold and remaining health, as well as your base damage value, weapon damage value, and armor value. Your experience bar fills as you destroy skulls, allowing you to level up and gain additional skills each time it is filled. Any shields collected while your defense armor is full will go toward filling your upgrade bar. Once filled, you’re given the ability to upgrade some of your items. Four skills can be held above the gaming area, easily activated at any time. Your score and stats are easily accessible from the Stats button. There are 40 abilities and 20 upgrades to apply as you develop your strategy and try to get further into the game. There is a lot going on and a ton to keep straight. This is definitely a thinking man’s game.
The graphics are simple, yet oddly effective. Each item uses a distinct icon that is easily differentiated from the others. The icons are large enough that there is no danger of selecting the wrong one. There is no soundtrack, but there are sound effects. You can also play music from your own library if you’d like something to listen to while you compete. Controls utilize dragging to match/select tiles and taps to select skills. Dragging creates lines covering the selected items, allowing you to see what you’ve done and adjust accordingly before releasing your finger and making the selection.
Replay value is awesome, with so much strategy to work out and tons of upgrades/purchases/skills to use. GameCenter and OpenFeint are both used for global leaderboards and a hefty achievement system. It’s an impressive game and one of the more engaging experiences we’ve had in a while. Dungeon Raid has already received some significant updates, with more to come, including new game modes. For $2.99, Dungeon Raid is an outstanding value and a brilliant 5-Dimple challenge.
Dungeon Raid Review,