Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Video Game Demo Review #3 - Indie Games Winter Uprising #1: Epic Dungeon

The first game of the Winter Uprising for the Xbox 360 is "Epic Dungeon" by Video Game Indie Developer "Eyehook" (Makers of "ColorBox")

A callback to the Dungeon Crawlers of old, does "Epic Dungeon" hold up to modern standards?

Trailers & Review after the jump

"Epic Dungeon" is a Dungeon Crawler (abbreviated: DC) type game. It's available for download on the Xbox 360 in the Indie Games section and is only $1 (80MSP). You play as one of 4 classes, each with their own unique starting ability. You try to go through 50 Randomly Generated Floors (That means it's a different map each time you play) of the Dungeon, wiping out monsters, gaining and looting Gold, Potions, & other items. There is also a feature of raiding the graves of your past attempts, allowing your previous death in the game to help your current quest.

The Classes are a "Berserker" who uses his immense strength to plow through baddies and use a "Frenzy" Ability which makes the berserker to make a wild swing, attacking all those around him. A "Shaman" who uses his magical "Freeze" ability to stop the monsters close to him in place frozen. A "Gambler" who tries his best through luck and can "Poison" the monsters to whidle their life as the Gambler can move on to the next section. Finally there's the "Tinkerer" who uses a Mechanical "Orb" that can act on it's own in battle with electric shocks.

To attack enemies, you do it in the old classic "Ys" style of running into the monsters, this automatically makes your classed warrior attack (Leaving you with less stressed thumbs, as this is not a button masher). You gain Experience Points (abrv: EXP) by beating monsters and when you get enough EXP you gain a "level" and can customize how much you get stronger, faster, and luckier. You can also earn an Ability Point that will allow you to power up your innate ability, gain better Regeneration Healing, or get a different ability from another class. For example, a Beserker with a Freeze ability or a Gambler with an Orb ability.

So as you can see there is a lot of customization.

The game will automatically save, every time you reach a different floor. Meaning you can play for a bit, turn the 360 off, and come back where you left off. You can also see how you've faired in your past battles with a built-in High Score system that ranks you on the level of your character and what floor you died on (Or if you're lucky, get out of the dungeon after the 50th floor).

"Epic Dungeon" is your classic gaming DCs among the likes of the old PC, Atari 2600, Intellivision, etc. Dungeons & Dragons type DCs. But he one thing that this has an advantage of compared to it's predecessors is the more advanced system that the game is made on.

It's startling when you play this game and then go back to a game like "Tower of Doom" on the Intellivision. You can see the inspiration, but because of "Epic Dungeon" being made on the 360, it can do more and play better and frankly is a better game because of the simplified controls. Even if "Tower of Doom" has better atmosphere.

So how does it compare to today's games? Well, it's a fun quick romp, especially at the price ($1). If you like old school DCs, RPGs with no Random Battles & Customs out the Ying-Yan, and/or Dungeons & Dragons, this is the game for you. If you don't like the previous mentions, it's worth it to try out the Free Demo and see how you feel.

Only issues I had with the game is that it would work better as a Portable download for iStore, Nintendo DSiWare, PSP Mini, or for the Windows 7 Phone. There's also no Online Leaderboards (Weekly or All Time) to encourage top quality play. And while 4 works in the classic DC sense like "Gauntlet" and the 4 buttons available for the 4 abilities, but I'd have like to have seen unlockable classes that use one of the 4 abilities. Achievements, as silly as they are, would have been great too.

But otherwise, this game is great, and is worth a look. Big ups to Mike Muir of "Eyehook" as he made this game completely by himself (Programming, Design, Music, everything). Download the Free Trial or the Full Game for $1 (80MSP) here.

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