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By Martin Toney


legend of dungeon 5Legend of Dungeon is one of those rare titles that only shows up every so often. And I’m glad that’s the case.

Brought to us by the Husband and Wife game studio Robot Loves Kitty, Legend of Dungeon is a fantastic example of the randomly generated dungeon crawler done right. Far too often does a game advertise itself as being unique and special in its own way, more often than not you get another clone or rehash of an older title. But that’s not the case here.

Right of the bat, the first thing I noticed was the art style of the game. The pixel art theme has been done to death, but every so often you find a real gem amongst all those little pixels and this is certainly one of them. Legend of Dungeon is nothing short of beautiful, from the raging light show that emits from your avatar upon leveling up, to great lighting which makes everything seem a little too sinister when you reach the darker stages. As a creator of pixel art, I truly came to appreciate the creativity that helps bring originality to this game.

legend of dungeon 6How many times have you picked up a power-up in a game just to be rewarded with flashy lights and special rewards? More times than you can count no doubt. But in the dungeon where charm is everywhere, that’s not how we do things. I received the “Nimble Coffee Mug of Protection” which fuelled my skeleton masked hero with enough caffeine to zip around the dungeon at ferocious speeds. There’s no need for flashy effects because we all already know that coffee helps pick you up when you’re feeling sluggish, so why bother fill the screen with insane gimmicky lighting? But what was particularly interesting about how this little mug is that it alone fundamentally changed the gameplay dynamic. Holding the mug left me with no weapon in my hands, thus leaving me defenseless. I could however balance the mug on my head, to free up my hands for a weapon, but this would mean sacrificing the safety of my Plasma Ball helmet (which also, rather hilariously doubled as a light source). So it came to a choice between three equally important skills; speed, protection and damage. The dungeon is littered with little pieces of intrigue like this, so experimentation is key to find a set-up that suits you well.

It can get pretty dark in the deeper parts of the world.

It can get pretty dark in the deeper parts of the world.

Items and potions litter the crates and crannies and are a delight to interact with. Be it a potion that fills your health and make you vomit pixels or a flagon of beer that will see your character totter about incoherently there’s always something fun to toy about with to break the tension of exploration. Using items can also be helpful if you’re clever about it. I was lucky enough to find a can of spray paint which I used to tag the doorways I had already been through. Needless to say this helped with the more maze like areas with doors that lead you all over the place.

After travelling a few layers deeper into the dungeon I started to uncover some little secrets that were genuinely unexpected and very useful indeed. But not all good things are in essence, “a good thing”. Whilst sipping some tea I accidental set my avatar walking against a wall. Expecting him to stop there I had no real concerns for his safety, that is until the wall panel slides back revealing a hidden doorway! This lead straight to the entrance to the next layer, but that would mean bypassing enemies and other lootable materials. Risk Vs Reward, another great little feature that will get you thinking.

You’re going to come across all manner of horrible beasties the longer you survive and the deeper you go, some enemies will surprise you as well. I kid you not, I spent around an hour walking past one certain type of enemy over and over again until all of a sudden it leaped to life. I’m giving no spoilers though, the shock alone is worth it. All you need to know is that you should treat every enemy as a credible threat to your life, don’t forget that when you die you go back to the start!

More than once I got a bit cocky only to be sent back to that familiar tavern beginning.

Leveling up rewards you with a little lightshow to help celebrate your survival.

Leveling up rewards you with a little lightshow to help celebrate your survival.

The music! Oh lord the music. It’s melodic and enthralling when you scour the levels of the dungeon, but once a threat arrives the music will escalate accordingly into heavy electronic riffs that I can only really describe as being dense. They just seem to fill the game world with a tone that I’ve rarely seen matched in gaming, let alone an indie game.

Legend of Dungeon does so much right, that it’s hard to acknowledge the wrong. Controls can sometimes be a little wonky, but this is only because of the somewhat unusual layout which will leave you dropping equipment and equipping the wrong item when things get a little hectic. A check point system (which would undeniably compromise one of the games core mechanics) would certainly be welcome, pleasing both parties by having it an optional feature. I personally think that Legend of Dungeon would benefit greatly from a creation kit. Players could create some very interesting and challenging dungeons with the assets seen in the game, but that’s just me.

With all that being said, it is important to remember that the randomly generated nature of the game makes each and every play-through different. I honestly cannot recommend this game enough, it’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed an indie game quite this much. And that’s really saying something. So make sure you get yourself a copy of Legend of Dungeon, grab some friends and delve into the depths for yourself.


Game Info

Game : Legend of Dungeon

Developer : Robot Loves Kitty

Platforms :  Mac / Win / Linux

About the Author

Martin Toney

Martin Toney is a career journalist inside and outside the video game industry, he has worked with Newspapers, Magazines, Radio stations and a great deal of online publications. He lives on the North Coast of Ireland where he is lucky enough to see parts of Game of Thrones getting made. Apparently it feels nice to live on “The Kings Road to Winterfell.”

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