Mi-Clos Studios have got me for two from two so far (Out There and Out There Chronicles) so I thought I’d try out their third game, Dungeon Rushers, this time created in conjunction with Goblinz Studio.
This time, Mi-Clos Studios answer the age-old question: “What would Darkest Dungeon be like if you removed the permadeath and ramped down the difficulty?”. The answer, of course, is “very dull”.
Dungeon Rushers is a tongue-in-cheek turn-based Dungeon Crawler with two big problems:
- it’s very repetitive; and
- it’s not very funny.
“But Mr Backlog!” I hear you say. “Most games are not funny, why does it matter here?”
The answer, gentle reader, is that most games aren’t TRYING to be funny. Playing this game is like sitting next to someone who thinks the height of humour is to repeat the “Knights who say ni” sketch for the hundredth time. Sooner or later, you just want to punch him.
The plot is simple. You play Elian, who decides to loot dungeons for money because daily grind boring day job blah blah anachronistic references ha ha very funny.
In the first dungeon you are joined by a dwarf who is also an accountant because anachronistic references ha ha very funny.
You travel from dungeon to dungeon, where you are joined by such hilarious adventurers as a minstrel who speaks in faux-old English and a mummy who says “dude” a lot. Gradually you learn that the dungeons have all been bought up by a Dungeon Company who want to own all of the dungeons because, you guessed it, anachronistic references ha ha very funny.
Let’s compare this to, say, 2004’s Bard’s Tale, which had pretty much the same idea. Except they famously did things like this:
(Images from @alejansolo)
Dungeon Rushers has a Mummy who says “dude” a lot.
Alright so the humour falls flat. So how’s the gameplay?
The gameplay of Dungeon Rushers is an interesting failure. On paper it should have worked.
There’s an overworld map screen (top image) which links to the dungeons (middle image) which in turn links to the combat screens (bottom image). Combat is a turn-based affair, with a fair degree of customization. Your party is made up of 5 characters selected from a total group of 8, there’s a range of available equipment complete with a crafting system, and each character has unique skills and advancement tree.
And lest we forget – there’s even a multiplayer options! Design your own dungeon and fight through dungeons made by others.
There’s so many options and tactical possibilities that the game should be rich with tactical possibilities.
So why isn’t it???
I felt a little bit like playing No Man’s Sky. A world of endless possibilities and I don’t care about any of it. I’ve thought long and hard about it and I think the problem is pretty simple – it’s the monsters.
Yes there’s lots of different monsters, mummies, spellcasters, goblins, druids, etc. But the same tactics work on all of them. So once you work out some effective tactics, you’re never pushed to change them. Take the party members for example – there’s 8 to choose from, you pick 5. But once you’ve got a team that works, why would you ever change it? They try to mix it up, by giving you 3 optional goals that vary with each dungeon, such as “kill all monsters” or “only use 5 potions”. It’s a good idea but it doesn’t deal with the central problem – once you can beat the game, you can completely beat the game.
It’s a shame because so much effort has gone into this game; there’s so many options but ultimately they’re mostly pointless.
In two words? Not recommended. I suppose a child who was into RPGs might like it, but I certainly didn’t find it engaging.
Creator & Designer: Johann Verbroucht
Time played: Approx 12 hours
Recommended if: You want a mindless turn-based dungeon crawl on your phone.
Not recommended if: You want an engagging turn-based dungeon crawl on your phone.