November 16th, 2012 | By Alex Wilkinson
Dungeon crawlers really do seem to be one of the big genres this year. It really is not that surprising considering this year has so far seen Goliaths of the genre Blizzard releasing Diablo III and Runic Games releasing the indie Dungeon crawling saviour Torchlight II, does the market still have room for more?
Jigxor feel that this market is still growing and with their turn based take on the genre really do offer something a little different. Dungeon Dashers is the name of the game and from what I have played so far of the current build its great fun and full of light hearted frolics that will suit all your adventuring needs.
Created in a fantastic – and all the more common – pixel art style Dungeon Dashers really looks like a blast from the past, yet contains all the functionality of what you would expect from a modern day game.
The game throws you into a dungeon after a brief introduction of four very different – and in some cases questionable – characters, all who have been drawn together. It’s up to you to take control of these four unlikely heroes and get them working together to battle their way through the dungeon and beat all the puzzles thrown at you.
The four characters at your disposal are in many ways the archetypes for the fantasy genre. You have an Assassin, Knight, Ranger and Wizard. Each of which have very different feel and range of abilities that really create a lot of character diversity.
I do feel the verity of characters is great, as each of the four have their own very distinctive style. What interests and concerns me about this is the multiplayer side. As the idea is to allow up to four people playing together. It’s of course a great idea to implement multiplayer in a game like this. However the very diverse roles they each have could be a barrier for what everyone wants to play and roles they can fulfill in any battle.
The main selling point to me that does set Dungeon Dashers apart from other dungeon crawlers is the turn based nature of the game, which has been implemented in a fantastic style in which movement points only apply when in you are in combat. This is an important part of the game that does help a great deal in not slowing down your progression through the dungeon, well this and the various teleporters. The teleporters allow single player gameplay to flow well and not to drag in repetitious actions like moving all characters to the exit. These implemented mechanics really do allow you to get to the fun parts quickly and for this I can commend Jigxor for.
The turn based system clearly has been thought about a great deal. No doubt after a great deal of trial and error and experimentation this system was born. The system just works well with each character offering a different amount of action points per turn. This is incidentally where a lot of the strategy also comes into play. As each character has different ability points per round and a verity of skills all using different amount, so you really do have to think about best ways to clear the rooms. Is that fireball always worth the seven points? Or would using the Assassin benefit the situation. Dungeon Dashers has a lot of depth and can get very complex because it is turn based so you always have time.
After playing through the build I do feel Dungeon Dashers is in many ways more akin to games like Dungeons Of Dredmor than strict Dungeon crawlers but you can see the influence from both areas. The quirky pixel art and running comedy really do make you feel like this game could have been one of Gaslamp Games. This is not to say Dungeon Dashers is trying to copy Dungeons Of Deadmor. Although it does take some of its influence from it and moulds the ideas around some of the more traditional dungeon crawler games.
Dungeon Dashers of course will have a full loot system to keep you adventuring as really, what is the point of running around dungeons if you don’t want to pick up all manner of random junk. At present no loot has been put into place but it’s promised for the future and is of course something vital in any game like this. To run along side this expect a full crafting system also allowing you to rip scales off dragons, hair off orcs, and hearts out of witches to than combine into a nice colourful hat.
Jigxor do like to vary the gameplay a little and you will not just be swinging your sword none stop – as we all know this gets tiring. Dungeon Dashers likes to break up the action every now and then with problem solving segments, which prove a fun respite from the goblin hordes – other hordes exist. Theses segments are achieved by giving each member their own special ability. For example take the Assassin. His ability that makes him so useful is the ability to deceive over small gaps or one tile obstacles. With this ability you can reach many areas unavailable to those who have not mastered the shadows and helps when hunting loot down. Each character has something a little different and they all contribute in different way really making this a team game.
Although still in the early stages of development and with a long road ahead Jigxor have really started to put together a great game here. I love the direction it seems to be taking and do greatly look forward to hearing more about the game as it developers. You can pre-purchase Dungeon Dashers from the official site here for $10 each or four at $27.
If you like the looks of Dungeon Dashers so far imagine what it will be like when it’s done. Be sure to vote for it on Steam Greenlight here to help the developer out.