One More Dungeon (PS4, PS Vita) Review

One More Dungeon is the latest pixel-graphics Rogue-like game from developer Stately Snail and Publisher Ratalaika Games. Ratalaika Games are well known for their help in porting smaller indie titles from the PC to consoles – in this case buying the game will net you the Vita and the PS4 versions via cross-buy as well as having two platinums for you to earn. So, is One More Dungeon screaming ‘Rogue-like’ or ‘take a hike’…

One More Dungeon is a first-person game which contains procedurally generated levels which are presented in a pixel-art style, not too different to games such as Minecraft. You must work your way through eight levels which are occupied by monsters and items whilst armed with both a magical staff which fires out limited projectiles and a melee weapon for those close-combat fights. As you work your way through each floor, you must stay alive as you look for items, kill the enemies and find and destroy the boss whose death reveals the key to the next floor.

That’s about where we stand in terms of story.

The levels have their own style – which does look quite cool – on a smaller screen. On a TV they look too ‘blocky’.

In terms of mechanics, One More Dungeon is about as simple as can be. It plays like Doom, the classic version, and the enemies react as such. No hiding for cover or ganging up on you with a few of their mates – the enemies will instantly make a B-line for you if you enter their viewing radius and then it is up to you to either go in for close combat and hope you hit first or try and aim (with no assist) and shoot them with magic. It’s not hard to ensure that you land the first hit but you can see the devs paying homage to old-school fps games, so modern game mechanics are out of the window.

As with any decent roguelike game, the way to beat these isn’t how fast you do it or memorising the layout (as it’s procedural and changes every time) – it’s all down to the items you pick up and utilising them in the best way possible. You will find New weapons, refills for your staff, objects to help you along your way, and shrines. Shrines offer a permanent boost to your health and are always welcomed in games like these where the developers have made it very easy for you to die. Also, like similar games, you will find crates to smash open in order to find the aforementioned items and even shopkeepers who will let you spend all those coins you find throughout your adventure (at most you will find about 5-10 on a normal playthrough, so more often than not you will be window shopping rather than splashing out).

Sprites like the crystal and the floor bubbles always face you – it means the game doesn’t render them in 3D but also means you forget which way you are facing.

Whats the biggest draw for a roguelike game? You head into a level, do as well as you can and then, upon death, you have the chance to upgrade certain things and try again – each time becoming more powerful and stronger so you can last longer on your next playthrough. One More Dungeon is a bit unusual in this aspect as the weapons you unlock and take with you barely affect anything outside of the aesthetic on the screen and the abilities of the staffs are very poorly thought out. In terms of the staff, you may have one which does one point of damage and uses up one green piece of ammo but then find a weapon that does two pieces of damage – sounds good? It would be, but this new weapon now takes up two pieces of ammo – which kinda defeats the object in my opinion as it’s not a ‘better’ weapon, it’s just faster – or an ammo waster if enemies only require one hit to die.

In terms of upgrading your character after each run – you only have a few decent upgrades you can choose as a lot of the upgrades you can unlock actually makes your runs through the game much harder. It’s a bit like how you can pick up potions as you play the game yet some of them are poison and serve no purpose other than to injure yourself. I imagine it’s the developers trying to cater to the crowd who find the game too easy by giving them a chance to enable harder options but it just comes off as making you not want to upgrade your abilities.

As you can see, or maybe you can’t – enemies blend into the background and floor on certain levels, making your death a cheap one.

Graphically, we have another pixel-based indie title. Not much else I can other than that, if you like the style then you will think the game looks cool, otherwise, you may not be a fan – the debate about this seems to be more controversial than whether you like Marmite or not! The graphics do make the game a little harder in places though as it is sometimes a bit hard to see whats in the distance and all the items are sprite-based so they will always be facing you even if you spin around them – this makes getting around a little confusing.

Personally, I played through this on the PS4 and my colleague, Dan, played it on the Vita and I found a few things a little tricky to see but I’m not sure what it’s like on the Vita. You can tell a game like this was designed to be played on a smaller screen, having this art style on a 55″ TV makes everything seem a lot more blocky than you would expect. I’ve noticed this on a few titles, AAA to indie, where you can see the UI and assets were designed for a smaller system and most likely look and feel a lot better on the smaller screen as well.

The game is also focused on luck – you could jump into a game and be lucky, obtain great weapons and items and enough magic refills to shake your wand at – this will result in you feeling a sense of progression as you move from level to level getting stronger. Then you will have the runs where you find hardly anything, run out of potions and die after a few floors. It reminds me a little of the Binding of Isaac – in that game I have done a few runs where I have got all the way to the end because of one item I find at the beginning, but the majority of the time I’ll fail miserably because I find nothing useful.

Official Trailer:

Final Conclusion:
One More Dungeon is an interesting take on the roguelike genre as it offers it in a first-person perspective and via a pixel-art style. The game itself allows you to customise the game to your own playstyle and increase the difficulty accordingly but the core mechanics don’t pull you in and scream ‘replay me’ once you have achieved your platinum. You will probably get the most enjoyment out of this title if you like roguelike games and don’t mind restarting the game numerous times with little to show for it. You do get both the PS4 and PS Vita versions (and two platinums) in the same package, which is a pretty good deal for the price.

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A copy of the game was kindly provided for review purposes

One More Dungeon

£6.49
6

Final Score

6.0/10

The Good:

  • Double Platinum (Cross buy)
  • Can customise the difficulty aspects to make it more or less challenging
  • Takes a decent time to beat due to the RND of the game (about 7+ hours)

The Bad:

  • The art style makes certain things hard to see
  • Roguelike mechanics are a bit simple and not fleshed out enough
  • Lots of cheap deaths caused by the RND items

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