Many RPG-focused games share that of a similar premise; one that tells the tale of uprising and the age old battle of good versus evil. Dungeon Rushers, a comedic tactical RPG is no different. Elian, a young chap that aspires to be more than just a lackey, sets out on an adventure of his own carving, one that revolves around dungeon looting; any given RPG’s most alluring aspect. It’s fair to assume that Dungeon Rushers’ foundation attempts to tap into the genre’s strong points, but does it do so in such a way that the, quite frankly, lengthy experience manages to maintain its initial pull? Thankfully, the answer is yes.
Elian will meet a pool of colorful characters on his journey, many of which prove to be distinct and diverse enough to carry the adventure forward. It’s worth noting that Dungeon Rushers doesn’t take itself very seriously at all, but it does go on to rest its laurels on its well set gameplay. With that in mind, the story itself isn’t all that interesting, though the writing does make up for it to some degree, trading grip for something more quaint and fanciful. This choice in design works well in the game’s favor, injecting humor and charisma intermittently throughout. I have to say, I grew fond of its quips and pacing.
The gameplay is broken up into a handful of different aspects; item management, dungeon exploration and battles. Dungeon exploration is the easiest form of play within, being that players will navigate a character-token through a selection of dungeons from a top-down perspective. Each move represents a single square (if you like), with the map gradually opening up as you proceed. Character abilities can take an edge off the random nature of play via showing two squares at once or uncovering nearby activities, but for the most part, this section of the game is very much focused on that risk versus reward style of play.
I have to admit that this formula constantly had me questioning my every move, wondering whether or not the next move into the unknown would bear fruit, or danger. It’s a very particular mechanic that may not appeal to everyone, but if you’re anything like me and you enjoy a decent RPG, Dungeon Rushers scratches that itch. Activity squares mostly serve up either treasure, health smacking traps, or enemies. Regardless as to what you land on, the game tends to give you the tools to overcome it if you’ve been playing with a layer of strategy. Enemy encounters, on the other hand, withdraws the battle aspects of the game.
Battles offer up a turn-based affair that isn’t at all dissimilar to any given classic RPG. Each member of your party will take turns either attacking, using an item or utilizing a special attack. The kicker here is that both you and your enemy take up two rows on the fields of play. Long distance attacks will only do the trick if you’re trying to damage an enemy that’s situated directly behind another foe, but once the enemy in front has been killed off, the enemy behind it is then wide open to all forms of attack. The difficulty of these battles tends to fluctuate, which typically amounts to grinding and returning.
It’s easy to overlook given the nature of the game, but more structure and care and attention to detail for the battle system, would have loosened up the repetition. The same can be said about the chance ratio, being that there’s rarely a way to avoid being attacked. This ultimately means that Dungeon Rushers, or the battle system at least, is more about endurance than anything else. Useful items will aid you on your way, such as potions or healing pools, but other than that you’re pretty much at the mercy of who can take/serve the most damage consecutively. Still, it worked well enough to keep me engaged.
The biggest problem with Dungeon Rushers falls to how repetitive it can be. I’ve already pointed out that the combat can become repetitive, but the overall arch also sadly follows suit. Once you’ve hit that proverbial brick wall that sees you going back to grinding older dungeons, it’s far too hard to overlook. Everything just feels same-level, regardless as to where you are. Gameplay consists of moving through a dungeon in any given four directional space, locating activities/loot and taking on a battle. When you take the game’s healthy length into account, this eventually becomes a problem that’s hard to forgive.
Working on your party, leveling up and upgrading, crafting equipment and taking on the game’s many enemies is certainly engaging at first, but after several hours, it falls to boredom-ville. That’s not to mention a collection of crashes I had to endure. I thought it may have been due to Xbox Live’s recent downtime, but since that resolved, the problem continued to persist. Thankfully this doesn’t happen very often, but often enough for me to make a note of it. Still, when all is said and done, it’s hard to knock this game and its content when we take a look at the generous price tag that comes tied to it.
Adding further to the replay value, players can unlock the “Heroic” mode for each dungeon once the requirements for each have been met. These are pretty much the same as the normal dungeons, but comes with more dangers, hazards and enemies, in return for a better income. These are well worth a play through simply to earn more stats and resources, thus making you better equipped for the tougher variations of the standard dungeons later in – which gradually climb in both complexity and difficulty. It’s one of those games that’s easy to pick up and initially hard to put down.
Whether or not the longevity can captivate you enough before it outstays its welcome, depends entirely on how much depth you demand from your games. Dungeon Rushers throws up some interesting and well detailed locations to explore, bolstered by some decent animations and effects. The soundtrack is also up there, pitching forward that fantasy-esque theme. It’s definitely a game that fans of the genre will enjoy, more so if you can overlook its technical flaws and its eventual monotonic gameplay. It’s worth recommending, in any case.
Dungeon Rushers doesn’t do much to break the mold, but it certainly does enough to justify its generous price tag and a recommendation. Though with that said, if it’s gameplay depth that you seek, look elsewhere. The game does indeed become repetitive before its conclusion and there’s a few technical issues within, however, if you can overlook that, there’s heaps of challenging and endearing content to get through.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.