Devious Dungeon (iOS) Review

DeviousDungeon007
The makers of League Of Evil return with Devious Dungeon, a fantasy-themed randomised dungeon crawler that’s decent — but not great.

Devious Dungeon: On the plus side

I’ve been a big fan of Ravenous Games’ excellent League Of Evil games for a long time now, though their rock hard difficulty level means that they’re best suited to a particularly masochistic kind of gamer.
Part of what makes the League of Evil games so particularly good is the control scheme, which is tight and responsive. That’s not something that every touchscreen game can boast, so it’s hardly surprising that Ravenous Games has used the scheme for other games. They’ve previously made a couple of Random Heroes games, and their latest effort is an RPG platformer with some Rogue-like elements. This then, is Devious Dungeon.
http://youtu.be/VrTn5S4jefI
The controls remain slick, and in many ways playing Devious Dungeon is very similar to the League Of Evil games, because you consistently use melee weapons to take down a variety of pixel-based fantasy creatures as you delve deeper and deeper into the dungeon. Which is devious, by the way, because clearing each level involves finding a key and opening the level portal. That’s as tricky as the puzzled get. Perhaps they’re working off a different definition of devious to mine.

At last, the mystery of what happened to Scott Steiner is explained.
At last, the mystery of what happened to Scott Steiner is explained.

Still, if you’re a fan of platform hack and slash in the style of, say, Rygar or the Wonderboy games, you’re getting a lot of that kind of action here, over and over again.
Hack. Jump. Hack. Jump Jump Jump. Repeat.
Hack. Jump. Hack. Jump Jump Jump.
Repeat.

You upgrade your hero by levelling up and buying new weaponry. Every enemy — and plenty of inexplicably placed jars, pots, candelabras and chests — drops loot for you to pick up to spend. It’s also possible to buy coins with real money, raising the dread spectre of IAP, but here things are handled with a deft and light touch. You can spend money, but you’re never forced to by a brick wall of difficulty, and the grind to generate cash isn’t particularly onerous or limited by a timer.

Devious Dungeon: On the minus side

Randomly generated platform dungeons might sound like a recipe for lots of variety, but that’s a little bit more hype than reality.
The issue is quite simple. If you went full random for any kind of game generation, the odds that you’d end up with something unplayable, either due to difficulty or a simple inability to reach goal points are quite high. As such, while Devious Dungeon boasts of random levels, the reality is that what you actually end up playing are pre-generated parts of levels slotted together. They’re random, but essentially quite repetitive.

So it turns out that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. But if you bash him enough, he weeps coins. I'm not sure I'm comfortable bullying beholders for loot.
So it turns out that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. But if you bash him enough, he weeps coins.
I’m not sure I’m comfortable bullying beholders for loot.

‚Ä®Repetition is at the core of Devious Dungeon’s ongoing playability issue. You upgrade armour, weapons and various stat-boosting trinkets as you go, but once you’ve played a few minutes of the game, you’ve played it the way you’re going to play it from then on out. It is repetitive, so you’d better be a fan of grinding if you’re going to get terribly far.

Devious Dungeon: Pricing

Devious Dungeon costs 99c, with IAP options for a coin doubler ($3.99), and coin packs starting at 99c for 500 coins all the way up to $49.99 for 62,500 coins. Given the specific nature of that sum, I’m going to guess that’s the total price of every upgrade in the game — or in other words, I didn’t bother with any of the IAP.

Devious Dungeon: Fat Duck Verdict

I am, as previously noted, a big fan of the League Of Evil games, because they’re challenging and inspiring bite-sized platform games.

He's much bigger than the other Orcs. It must be murder finding pants in his size.
He’s much bigger than the other Orcs. It must be murder finding pants in his size.

Devious Dungeon should fit into that bracket, but it doesn’t quite make it. It can be hard in sections, but not in ways that challenge you to improve. Instead, it’s all about the grind, and unless there are interesting skill trees to jump or new things to discover, at some point, grind just starts to wear you down.
At the 99c price point it’s a perfectly fair game, and I do approve of the fact that the IAP is so totally optional, but at the same time, while I still return to the League Of Evil series to try to get just one more star, I don’t think that six months from now I’ll be dashing back to delve into Devious Dungeons.

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