Dungeonland Review:You Must Be This High to Enter
By Mohammad Abubakr, OnRPG Journalist
After being constantly defeated by the heroes while attempting World Domination, the Evil Lord Dungeon Master, with a loan from the Evil Overlord Foundation, has built a theme park to tempt adventurers into exploration and the chance to fight the most powerful monsters and bosses. Developed by Critical Studio and published by Paradox Interactive, the same publishers behind Magicka, Dungeonland provides lots of co-operative gaming fun! For only $10 ($7.50 if bought with the four pack), Dungeonland is a must play.
While the game can be played solo with bots or online with other players, this game really shines when playing with friends. It is really difficult to type and co-ordinate in the midst of battle, making voice communication a must. I enjoyed playing this game tremendously the past two weeks. At first my friends and I were not sure it would be worth the time and money, but we were wrong. The time spent playing Dungeonland was a blast!
The game allows players to play on 4 maps with two different game modes. These maps are randomly generated which is great as it can get boring running through the same dungeon over and over again. The first mode, Adventure Mode, allows up to 3 players to work together hoping to survive until the end of the theme park and defeat the boss. Along the way, many types of enemies will spawn from dungeon spawners. Until these spawners have been taken care of, the waves of enemies will continue.
These ducks add a whole new level to spin to win.
The second game mode, Dungeon Maestro, allows up to four players in one game. Three players work together to traverse the dungeon theme park and defeat the boss while the fourth player acts as the Dungeon Master. This player uses a card system to summon monsters, spawners, traps, and cast spells. Cards are drawn automatically after a set time and mana generated over time is spent to play each card.
I was very displeased when I found out that only one of the four maps is playable in the Dungeon Maestro mode. The other three, or two as one is identical to the Dungeon Maestro mode, are only playable by three players with an AI Dungeon Master. Hopefully future updates will offer more maps in the Dungeon Maestro mode. It's no fun making one friend sit it out.
Players are given the choice of three classes; the Rogue, the Warrior, and the Mage. Each of these classes are very customizable and further break down into three roles with each role offering different skills, weapons and play styles. Each class gets a weapon and a potion skill. The weapon skill can be spammed as often as its cooldown timer allows while the potion skill depletes one potion.
Evil Laughs Per Minute - Best stat ever!
The rogue is seen as the DPS class in Dungeonland. It can be played as an Assassin, Archer, or Gunner. This class dies very fast but if played correctly can quickly wipe out powerful enemies. Its default secondary attack is a backstab dealing very high damage if enemies are hit from the back.
The warrior is the tank out of the three classes but can still deal considerable damage. It can be played as a Vanguard, Lancer, or Defender. With the use of its secondary attack, the block, the warrior can easily jump into the midst of battle without having to worry about dying. Coupled with skills taking aggro of monsters, the warrior allows other players to focus on dealing damage and not play cat and mouse.
Finally, the mage is the support class but can also be played offensively. It can be played with either the Fire, Ice, or Electric elements. The secondary attack skill, ray of awesome, connects with one other player making them invulnerable for the duration of the cast. It does not appear to have a range limit, or has a very large one, as I have been able to cast it by simply aiming in the general direction of the player, even if they are not visible.
So many cards to choose from!
The classes work together and can result in very nice skill combos if done correctly. For example, if a fire wall is setup by the fire mage, the archer can fire through it resulting in fire arrows!
The game is very hard to clear and is almost impossible without class perks and skills. Your party will continue to get wiped but it will not be for naught. As you continue to kill monsters coins will be dropped, shared amongst your entire party. If one player loots a coin, each player will get one coin; it is not split or individual.
After sufficient coins have been accumulated, players can access the Item Shop to purchase items such as perks, skins, weapons and classes. Of the three classes mentioned above, only the first three types are available by default; Assassin, Vanguard and Fire Mage. The weapons and skins (armor and hats) are all cosmetic meaning that new players should focus on purchasing new perks. Two perks can be equipped at a time, one offensive and one defensive. Due to various classes and play styles, the possibilities are endless. I was really surprised to see so many customizable options in a $10 game.
The Dungeon Master has not been left out. New cards and perks can also be purchased leading to unique games depending on the Dungeon Master. I have noticed that the Dungeon Master gains money a lot faster than the fighting players. When playing the game for the first time, it is very hard for the players to clear the dungeon. This essentially leads to multiple wins for the dungeon master making him quite wealthy. This snowballs on as the Dungeon Master purchases more powerful cards in a never ending cycle of pain and punishment for the heroes. I had to hold back and set the game's difficulty to very easy to even give my friends a chance...
The difficulties jump around a lot with very easy being 90% damage reduction, easy being 50% and normal being 0%. There should be a midpoint between very easy and easy as a 90% reduction means the Dungeon Master has no chance while even easy makes it very hard for new heroes.
The evil laugh button is great!
I have not had a chance to test the online multiplayer due to existing connection issues. It seems to be impossible to connect to other games. I have deduced that this is caused by port issues and the server browser not updating games that are full. It does seem to work at times as at one point when I forgot to set my game to private, random players began to join. I had my ports open and everything setup which might be the reason for successful connections. Even then, multiple restarts of the game were required after long plays due to friends having trouble connecting. It is quite disappointing to see these server issues being present as it should have been sorted out prior to release. Therefore, I only recommend the game at this point if you have a group to play with. The online multiplayer is not very reliable.
A feature I was very happy to see in a co-op PC game was local multiplayer. If only this was included in all co-op PC games. I have tested out local multiplayer using two controllers and one keyboard and it works great. Unfortunately, only adventure mode is available meaning that only three players can play and no one can be the Dungeon Master.
My computer is setup with dual monitors. These monitors are used alongside AMD Eyefinity to allow for split screen across both monitors. However, the local multiplayer version of Dungeonland shares the entire screen for all three players. This leads to very annoying situations when players are split up. Still, the local multiplayer is a feature I am very happy to see.
In conclusion, the core game play is very fun. If the server issues can be glossed over and you have friends willing to play, the game is a definite must play. I was surprised to see it not be on the top seller list on Steam as it is very comparable to the level of fun Magicka brings. In the future I am hoping for more maps and resolved server issues, get on it Critical Studio!