bit Dungeon Review

bit Dungeon Review

Jun 4, 2013

I wanted to love bit Dungeon. A fast paced, 16-bit, rogue-like RPG, what’s not to like? Well, not much initially. The game dropped me straight into a randomized dungeon and I had to progress through it, clearing rooms of enemies and finding new loot until I reached the boss. After defeating him I went on to a new dungeon, with different enemies and better loot and it went on like that.

The graphics are great (if you’re not sick to death of 16-bit style games), the music and sound effects are suitably retro and there’s a good amount of variety in the enemies and the dungeons.

The controls are slick too, simply tap somewhere to move there or tap on an enemy to attack them, that’s about it. It’s really addictive in the early stages and it features perma-death (in other words, dying means starting the whole game again) so defeating a boss feels like a real achievement.

But bit Dungeon isn’t without its flaws. When I said that it dropped me straight into a dungeon I really meant it, there’s no story, beyond a vague mention on the Google Play page that the main character is trying to save his wife. The description on Google Play is also the only place where there’s any explanation of how to play. I missed that when I first started and was left guessing.
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There’s no character creation or choice of class either. The main character is always a warrior and while leveling up presents players with a choice of attributes to improve, the only options are ‘attack’, ‘critical’ or ‘health’, so there’s not really any scope to specialize in a different area, making subsequent playthroughs feel similar.

There is magic in the game, but only one spell can be had at once and the game seems to randomly choose a new one at the beginning of each dungeon, so it’s not possible to really play as a mage.

The game becomes quite repetitive too, with only one character to control and only two attacks (hitting things with a weapon or firing a spell) there’s not much tactical depth and while the dungeons look good they’re all laid out in roughly the same way- a 3×3 grid of rooms with randomly positioned doors linking them up. Every single room has enemies in it and they need to be defeated to advance. It goes on like that until the player dies or gives up.

Even the draw of shinier and better loot begins to dull after a while, particularly since the game doesn’t let me horde it to sell on later. It’s only possible to carry things that are equipped, so for example getting a new sword meant ditching that trusty axe that saved my skin more than once.

It’s not a bad game and for a while it’s really good fun, but with no real sense of change or progress the fun slowly slips away. Perhaps there’s a final boss and an ending where the silent protagonist is reunited with his wife, but if there is I haven’t found it, death always finds me first.

Friday Free App Rundown February 15 – Saturday Morning Cartoon Games

Friday Free App Rundown February 15 – Saturday Morning Cartoon Games

Feb 15, 2013

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to wake up on Saturday mornings to watch cartoons. There was an awesome lineup back then. In this week’s Free App Rundown we are going to talk about games based on Saturday morning cartoons. While there are paid games out there like The Dark Knight Rises and The Amazing Spider-Man, the games in this list are free. Let’s take a look.

Batman Dash

In this 2D side scroller, it’s up to Batman to save the city. Jump and collect coins to buy upgrades at the store. Attacking a few enemies with some swift action packed moves is what makes Batman who he is. This 16-bit style game is great for spending a little time away from games that are all about the graphics. Head back to the simpler days when there was only a jump and an action button to use.

Download Batman Dash

Smurfs’ Village

The Smurfs are some of those mythical creatures who are only 2 apples high who have a single word that means just about anything depending on the context it’s used. In Smurfs’ Village, the goal is to build a Smurf village. Start from scratch and make it the best village ever. Play parts of the game as some of the more popular Smurfs, Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Lazy Smurf and more.

Download Smurfs’ Village

Garfield’s Defense 2

Garfield seems like he is always in some kind of mess. When the aliens come to earth and try to take the yummy food, our favorite orange cat and friends are there to stop them. Play as Garfield, Odie or Nermal and get into this global food fight. Using food as a weapon, there are a lot of aliens to lick. Get to it.

Download Garfield’s Defense 2

Transformers Memory Game 3

The Transformers are one of those cartoons that made a successful transition to the big screen. Because of that they are everywhere. This memory game has all of the popular original Transformers as cards. Match them to win. While some people scoff at simple memory games, they really do help improve basic memory.

Download Transformers Memory Game 3

bugs bunny shooting

Remember when hunting games were simple and didn’t have all the realistic aspects like calculating for wind and using high-powered scopes to pick off a target thousands of yards away? Bugs bunny shooting is like a time machine taking us back to the simpler times if hunting and shooting games. It’s like the Bugs Bunny equivalent to Duck Hunt.

Download bugs bunny shooting

Cthulhu Saves The World Review

Cthulhu Saves The World Review

Jun 28, 2012

Oh no, Cthulhu has awoken, risen from the depths of R’yleh to enslave mankind! But alas, he has lost his powers to a mysterious curse! However will he get them back so he can summon R’yleh to the surface and destroy the realm of man? By becoming a true hero. How does Cthulhu figure this out? Why, he overheard the narrator saying it, of course.

Welcome to Cthulhu Saves The World, a loving tribute and parody of everything turn-based 16-bit RPGs are. This is a port of the Xbox Live Indie Games title, redone in Unity for mobile platforms. Players take control of the ultimate Lovecraftian horror himself, Cthulhu. Along the way, he gains party members like the plucky and somewhat crazy Umi, and Sharpe, who is a sword.

The game just has so much fun with its concept, with silly enemies, and self-aware dialogue from the unlikely protagonist. It’s absolutely hilarious, and the parts that mock classic RPGs will amuse anyone that was playing games in the 90’s. However, it’s also a fairly brutal RPG itself, with plenty of dungeon crawling and enemy encounters to go through, an overworld to explore, and towns to visit. It’s an entertaining RPG at its core, it’s just deep-fried in parody, and wrapped in bacon.

The port job to mobile systems is a bit rough around the edges, deciding to just use swipe controls to move Cthulhu around the map, and virtual buttons around the screen corners to perform actions. The swipe controls are okay, and some of the graphics show occasional scaling and tearing, but none of it is enough to hinder enjoyment of the game.

The game does mock 16-bit RPG tropes, but it also revels in them, meaning that players should prepare to grind levels to make sure they’re not getting killed on a regular basis. The problem with the combat system is that regular enemies become far more fearsome than boss battles do, because MP restoration happens in small increments after battles. So, while using spells might be the easy way to victory, they can’t be used all that regularly against regular enemies because there needs to be some MP in reserve for the next set of enemies. Boss fights were actually easier than normal encounters because I could just unleash the pain of all my awesome abilities with no restrictions.

Cthulhu Saves The World is a must-play for any RPG fans and fans of 16-bit games, who will get a kick out of its crazy story, humorous writing, loving parody of the genre, and even its challenge. I never got around to playing this when it was released on the Xbox 360, and I’m glad I got the opportunity now.