Review by horror_spooky
"Point and click and crawl"
Desktop Dungeons is a free-to-play point-and-click dungeon crawler for the PC. While it's not the most advanced game ever conceived, it is free, and it is good for short-bursts of entertainment. But is Desktop Dungeons the right game to take space up on your desktop?
Lame, forced jokes aside, Desktop Dungeons really is a fun distraction. While it certainly won't occupy your time like other dungeon crawlers or RPGs in general, it's hard to complain the price of admission is non-existent, except for a little space on your computer's harddrive. The gameplay itself is simplistic and entertaining, but it's definitely not perfect.
The game is a point-and-click dungeon crawler, meaning that the enemies never move, unlike most dungeon crawlers, and it is extremely simple. In each dungeon, you start off at level one, and by killing monsters, you level up. The strategy in the game comes from collecting health potions at opportune times and by picking fights that you know you can win. The game also discourages exploring the dungeon too much unless you need health, because finding new tiles to walk on replenishes health and magic.
And that about covers the entirety of the gameplay. All that is required of players is to click on enemies, preferably enemies that are a level lower or so. While there are minute details to keep in mind like the weaknesses of certain enemies and stuff like that, it never really factors much into the gameplay. Luck also plays a big role because there are definitely times that a dungeon will be generated that is nearly impossible to complete if just a mistake or two is made. There are also glyphs that cover the ground that can be collected to earn new attacks and the like, but they fail to add any more dimension to the gameplay.
Alters also cover the floors of the dungeons, and players can pledge allegiance to certain religions, and be rewarded for staying within the moral demands of these religions. This is an interesting mechanic, but it isn't fleshed out like it could have been. Truly, Desktop Dungeons is great because of how simple it is, but one of its biggest flaws is also its simplicity.
Before any dungeon exploring occurs, though, players get to choose from a variety of indistinguishable races, and then assign a class to them. What I liked about the game is that there is a lot to unlock to entice players to keep dungeon crawling over and over again, and that's where the real fun comes from. There are a bunch of different races that are not playable at the start of the game, plus there are a ton of different dungeon types to unlock and different races to unlock as well. While Desktop Dungeons isn't terribly complicated or deep enough to provide a truly engrossing experience, it makes up for it with this addicting gameplay structure that also ensures a decent amount of replayability.
Visually speaking, Desktop Dungeons is as simple as it gets. The game is about as advanced as an NES game, and while it runs smoothly, the design does live a bit to be desired. The art design isn't terribly imaginative or memorable, but it gets the job done. The sound design is okay, and while the music is certainly repetitive, it is fun to listen to. And to complete this paragraph about the game's presentation, it's worth noting that Desktop Dungeons really has no storyline to enjoy, which is a shame considering storylines are a very important component when it comes to RPGs of any sort.
Desktop Dungeons is worth the download. The game is completely free, and there's enough content to blow a few hours on. While the gameplay is sometimes way too simple for its own good and the overall game is fairly shallow, it still manages to be fun, especially when played in short bursts. Desktop Dungeons is a fine dungeon crawler that will satisfy a dungeon crawling itch ten minutes at a time.
Reviewer's Rating: 4.0 - Great
Originally Posted: 04/20/11
Game Release: Desktop Dungeons (US, 10/17/10)
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