Quest of Dungeons Review
Developer: David Amador (Upfall Studios)
Publisher: David Amador (Upfall Studios)
Genre: Adventure, Indie, RPG
Platform: Xbox One, PC
The retro revival shows no signs of slowing down any time soon, though there are more sub-par games hiding behind a pixelated veil than there are genuinely decent ones. I’ve played countless retro games that offered nothing more than a shallow experience accompanied by nostalgic design, to the point where I had given up hope for a decent retro-inspired rogue-like RPG.
Thankfully, my prayers were finally answered by Upfall Studios, a one-man game studio with more talent than a great deal of other indie developers comprised of multiple people. Upfall’s debut title, ‘Quest of Dungeons’ is out now for PC and Xbox One, so what makes it such an addicting RPG?
An evil Dark Lord has risen to power, stealing all the light from the land. Four warriors must unite in order to defeat the Dark Lord and reclaim the light – except, they don’t. Ditched by your three comrades, you alone will venture into the dark and challenge the Dark Lord. Thankfully, that means all the loot is yours for the taking!
Gameplay is turn-based, meaning that for every action you take, the enemies and monsters inhabiting the dungeons also take an action. This might sound like the gameplay is slow because of this, but it’s anything but. You’re able to explore the dungeons at your own pace, taking great care to avoid any traps and monsters – or you can sprint through the entire thing like the sword-wielding maniac that you are. I found a balance between the two was perfect for me, taking my time to make calculated decisions during combat, but hurrying through previously cleared rooms.
Just like other RPGs, defeating enemies rewards your character with experience, which will increase your stats and allow you to withstand and deal more punishment. It also replenishes your health and mana, which is crucial to survival in some of the harder dungeon floors.
Along your adventure you will also acquire new skills and equipment. Equipment is exactly what one would expect: new weapons, shields, armour and accessories that increase your odds of surviving the harrowing dungeons. Skills can be swapped in and out of your skill tab, and are handy for a number of different situations. Some skills enable the player to equip different types of weapons, while others allow for new attacks or effects while attacking.
One aspect of QoD I particularly enjoy is the challenge of the game. There are multiple difficulty levels, though each one is bound to test a player’s resolve in its own way. Playing the game on easy allows for a more casual experience, where the player will see just how long they can survive in a dungeon, whereas higher difficulties require strategy and careful thought before committing to certain actions. On easy, you might throw away or sell that old piece of cheese, whereas on a harder difficulty, eating it might just be the thing that saves your life. Harder difficulties also give the turn-based gameplay more meaning as a single move can have drastic consequences.
Upfall Studios have crafted an accessible game with an great atmosphere. One wouldn’t think so just glancing at screenshots of the game, but Quest of Dungeons proves to be quite an immersive experience. Feeling a little like Diablo if it were made in the 8-bit era, although with the benefits of modern game design such as smoother animations and high quality sound effects.
In terms of shortcomings, Quest of Dungeons does have a few, but none that would be considered deal-breakers. For one thing, equipping new items does not effect your character appearance. While this isn’t needed, it would have been nice to feel rewarded for your bravery or ability to survive for a decent amount of time in a dungeon. While you deal and resist more damage, having a flaming sword that is actually ablaze would have been great.
There is also a lack of sound effects. Once again, this isn’t a major fault, but multiple sound effects to help differentiate the various enemy types would have been optimal.
Upfall Studios have created a highly addicting game in Quest of Dungeons, which is bound to appeal to retro gamers, as well as RPG and indie game lovers. QoD offers a fantastic amount of value for money, as the procedurally-generated dungeons and highly-polished gameplay offers near endless hours of enjoyment for such an agreeable price. Here’s hoping a sequel or additional content is on the way!