I quite enjoyed Devious Dungeon, and despite its bland combat and its uninspired boss encounters, the core loop was rather fun. Now, merely a few months later, Ratalaika have brought us its sequel, Devious Dungeon 2. Whilst the crux of play remains largely the same, there’s some defining features here that elevate it above its predecessor. It’s hardly going to be taking home any awards, mind, but its nice to witness a sequel that at least attempts to build on what worked beforehand, without straying too far from its distinct character.
There’s not much in the way of a story present, in fact, you can disregard the plot entirely and you wouldn’t be missing out on anything. The game plays as an action platformer that sits on the backdrop of a medieval theme. Much like the first game, there’s an ever shifting castle full of deadly traps and nefarious monsters, all of which is domain of The Summoner, who does not take too kindly to uninvited guests. Seeking treasure, wealth, and stature, you’ll guide one of three distinct playable class-specific characters through its structure.
Of the three characters; you can select from a Barbarian, a Mage, and a Rogue. Each character sports slightly varying stats and comes with a unique special ability. Fancy some damage reduction? The Barbarian will be your go-to guy. Perhaps you favor the ability to double jump? The Rogue will see you through. Outside of the aforementioned perks, the gameplay doesn’t alter all that much regardless as to who you side with. Once you’ve selected your class, you’ll be thrown straight into the thick of it via spawning at the hub.
The game’s hub serves itself as a small and confined village, a place in which you can lightly chat to the locals or buy some wares from the vendor before heading straight to the castle through a nearby portal. The wares that you can buy range weapons, armor, potions, and trinkets. You’ll buy these with gold that you acquire from each run in the castle, to which even if you fail, you’ll keep what you’ve picked up. Essentially, this ensures that even if you’re getting your ass handed to you, you’re still reaping some benefits nonetheless.
Regardless as to what you’re buying, the price of each gear piece or item will increase through each and every purchase, and you’re only afforded access to successive wares once you’ve purchased what came before them. Think of the shop system as a ladder of wares; you’ll start at the bottom, and gradually unlock new wares to buy as you climb through the offerings. There’s a nice bit of variation on show here, with heaps and heaps of unique things up for grabs – this much is true for pretty much everything you can acquire.
These wares are relatively cheap to begin with, and typically cost no more than a few hundred gold. However, the price soon and vastly increases once progression is made. There’s a grind to be mindful of because of this, but in fairness to the game, it remains fun enough throughout that it’s almost alleviated. The wares are all self explanatory for the most part and come with concise information panels, allowing you to remain informed as to what each new acquisition offers up; most bulking up some of your stats in one form or another.
You’ll start out your adventure quite feeble, unable to sustain nor produce much damage. The more you play and the more you invest in the shop, the greater a warrior you become. Once you enter the portal, you’re presented with a pyramid of levels that depict the structure of the aforementioned castle. You’ll start in the mining area, and will need to work through the barracks, the dungeons, the great halls, and so forth, right the way through to the final area. The game’s distinct locations help to keep things feeling fresh.
Each area within is broken down into five sections of levels, with each section housing three levels a piece. Should you make it through each of the three levels, you’ll be free to start at that point from the portal should you die. This can be a lot easier said than done, because in truth, Devious Dungeon 2 is pretty hard when it wants to be. Furthermore, each level is randomized, meaning that you cant truly memorize either the layout of any given level, nor the placement of the several variations of enemies that inhabit each and every level.
Much like the first game, the only way to beat a level is by moving through the level’s portal. To do this, you’ll first need to find the portal’s key. Both the portal and the portal’s key are randomly placed too, but a decent map-system keeps track of where each of these are located once you’ve come into their vicinity. Whatever the case, that’s all you need to do; grab the key and escape before being shoehorned to the next section. Once you work through each section, you’ll eventually reach a boss encounter that’s specific to that area.
Sadly, despite their varying attack and movements patterns, these are just as bland as they were in the first game. Most of these encounters tend to consist of little more than button mashing and evasion, and on top of that, it’s relatively easy to circumvent much of the difficulty through a mixture of jumping and attacking. I’ll credit the game, mind, they’re slightly more involved than the bosses found in the predecessor, but nowhere near as improved as they could have been. Once you’ve bested a boss, that’s it for that area.
You’ll then move on to the next location and will need to work through those sections before beating that section’s boss, and rinse and repeat. Whilst getting there is tough, the game’s checkpoint system, together with the ability to constantly boost up your capability, removes much of the frustration that game’s of this type tend to relay. in regards to enemy variation, Devious Dungeon 2 gets a thumbs up. There’s a sizable amount of varying enemies to take on, all of which house their own distinct behavioral and attack patterns.
Levels take all but a few minutes to run through, but each are filled with foes and packed with environmental hazards. On top of that, each new area tends to climb in difficulty, with enemies that become gradually more resilient to your attacks throughout. It pays off to visit the shop as often as you can to keep on top of your stats. Though, there are other ways to increase your capabilities. The more enemies you kill, the more XP you’ll earn. This XP goes towards leveling up your character, to which you’ll be given one point per new level.
You’ll spend this point increasing either your damage output, your health, or you chance to land a critical attack. It pays off to kill anything that stands in your way, as much like the gold that you’ll amass on your travels, you do get to keep any XP you’ve earned upon death. Once again, this essentially means that even if you hit a difficulty barrier, you’re still making progress in one way or another. Of course, there are other things that you can do during your time running through each of the game’s several levels; side bosses and treasures.
Each level houses at least one secret area to discover. These tend to consist of pathways that are hidden behind walls, pathways that will lead you to treasure and/or tomes. Tomes will grant you a bulk of XP once picked up, whereas treasure will reward you with a generous amount of gold. There’s some collectible treasures to pick up too, all of which is charted in the menus. In regards to the side bosses, these are also charted in the menus. Side bosses tend to patrol each level and present a greater challenge than standard enemies.
In return for besting them, you’ll be given a lump sum of XP and some gold for your troubles. The quest system returns from the first game too. Throughout the course of the game, you’ll be given an endless list of assignments to take on, with a fixed amount of gold rewarded for each quest completed. The quests are usually straightforward; kill this many enemies, destroy this many statues, and so on and so forth. They’re completely optional, but due to nature of the game, you’ll find yourselves fulfilling many of them regardless.
The game’s handling is very easy to pick up on. Movement is tethered to the left thumbstick and the D-Pad, with the ability to attack via the B and X buttons, and a jump function via the A button. You can pull up the map through tapping the Y button. The game responds to all of your commands instantly, and remains fairly fluid for the most part. It’s a good job then, because most levels within tend to require quiet a bit of platforming; small platforms suspended above spikes, narrow passageways surrounded by dangers, and the works.
It pays off to explore your surroundings as best you can, and destroy anything that comes in your way. This includes breakable objects, being that you’ll usually find health tonics and gold through being vigilant. That, ladies and gents, is the sum of the game’s depth. There’s roughly four – six hours worth of content to work through here, depending on whether or not you’re chasing max completion. If you’re a fan of the concept, or, you enjoyed the first game, you’re bound to enjoy Devious Dungeon 2. It can get repetitive, but not overly so.
The visual and audio design remains fairly hit and miss. The former sits very much inline with the predecessor, offering up environments that vary quite nicely, but lack much detail and visual depth. The game’s audio is quite generic for the most part, serving up audio cues and a soundtrack that does very little to excite. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but if you were expecting stark improvements in comparison to Devious Dungeon, you’re going to be disappointed. This comes across as more of an elaborate extension than anything else.
Much like its predecessor, Devious Dungeon 2 provides a simple yet entertaining rogue-lite adventure that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Sadly, a few poor design choices from the first game have carried over, but in the face of its improvements, these niggling flaws are fairly easy to overlook. In summary, if you enjoyed what came before, you’re bound to find some value here.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.