Cast your mind back to the years of Windows 98. Remember the game, Minesweeper? Merge that game with a dungeon crawler game. Now imagine if they had got busy and had a kid… struggling? No worries, because Dungelot: Shattered Lands will show you exactly what it would look like.
In a graphically cute game, Dungelot: Shattered Lands puts you in the shoes of four different characters – with maybe more to follow – who are embarking on an adventure through eighteen rogue-like dungeons set in three different worlds. Upgrading your characters won’t be easy with bosses trying to stop you, zombie cows moo’ing at you, side quests to discover, and mini-games to complete.
There’s a lot to do, and the gameplay is executed very well. The dungeon crawler theme would have sufficed, but Red Winter took it to the next level by splicing in the mechanics of Minesweeper, creating a unique fantasy adventure experience like no other.
You start the game only able to play as a Paladin, a tiny bearded Paladin. Further characters are unlocked after certain tasks have been completed,
and achievements reached. Each of the playable characters/classes has their own advantages and disadvantages, understandably having different skill points – as expected this means you’ll need to employ different tactics on each run. Now, wrap your chest with armour, grab ya’ hammer, ‘coz it’s time to start exploring!
Upon entering the dungeons main door, you find your character within a room that consists of twenty-five blocks, each block contains coins, monsters, powers, holes, oreven nothing! Each time you click a block, it vanishes revealing the content underneath it. Every block will just vanish like a good block should do, except the ones with a monsters influence. When a monster appears, they can shut off access to surrounding blocks, meaning you need to battle them, by also clicking them, to the death. However you don’t need to kill all of the monsters to complete a level, you just need to get the key and you’re sorted!
Each time you click on a block or monster, it counts as a move, and your character gets hungry, their armour becomes worn from battle, their weapon takes damage, they say cute one-liners. This combined with the fact that they have limited item slots, their powers need charging, some levels are dark and require you find the route using the least moves possible, and just BOOM! There’s loads going on, andthis is normally a gripe I have with games when they have too much going on that I can’t keep up with it all. Dungelot however has loads going on, but I can still focus on what I’m doing, even when I’m doing a speed run.
It’s simple Minesweeper inspired gameplay teamed with the randomly generated action packed adventurous theme of a dungeon crawler works perfectly. Nothing feels
too slow nor too fast, and it’s challenging.
As opposed to your normal dungeon layout, you find yourself venturing to other rooms, some contain mini games, such as a random bloke with three chests offering you the chance to win the contents if you choose carefully, either that or there’s a room with a sword set in stone, allowing you to salvage gold from it and gain some form
of power, but I fail all the time at that. There’s also a room that’s basically Big-Stone-Head-Simon-Says, which I also kept failing at. I’m not very good at the mini games actually.
There was a moment where I was asked if I wanted to save a kitten. The answer was yes. It’s always yes.
It does have a few elements of which are buggy, for example, sometimes menus can open on top of menus, especially if you’re doing a fast run through. The common bug I found though, would be if there was an item or enemy on one block and you wanted to click the block behind without touching the foreground block, you’d end up accidentally clicking it anyway because it would be in the way. A highlight feature, which indicated which block you were about to interact with would probably be handy here.
Dungelot drifts seamlessly between this clicking gameplay and a textual choose-your-own story, where one moment you are clicking blocks, then upon progression, you find yourself entering a room and being introduced with a textual information box, for example, giving you a choice to aid the strangers you come across in a room or choosing to explore a room or cave for possible supplies.
Some rooms have enchantments within them: some send an ancient guardian to protect you, some increase the enemies hit points, some increase the gold value. There’s so many variables, and so much content, that it’s hard to put the game down, as you’re paying such a level of attention – it’s hard to put down because it makes you want to keep trying again and again. Help me! Actually don’t, I don’t want to stop playing!
It’s a fantastic little game for the asking price and leaves you open to hours of fun, maybe even days! It’s visually pleasing and the gameplay is refined enough that it’s simple to play, but challenging to progress. The statistics and records encourage you to pick it up and try it again to beat your old run through, so go on and pick it up, you won’t regret it.