On paper, One More Dungeon screams for attention. In practice, however, it’s sadly not quite as compelling as it leads you to believe. The game is a first person shooter roguelike with procedurally generated levels in which players take on the role of a nameless protagonist and must move through randomized dungeons as they gradually climb in complexity and difficulty. It sounds much like the premise of any dungeon crawler released this gen, but in truth, it’s just not as well rounded nor as engaging as I was hoping it to be. Fun in short bursts, yes, but it does struggle to maintain its grip.
The aim of the game is relatively simple and straightforward. You’re dropped into your first of several dungeons, all of which are randomized, and you’re tasked with clearing out the monsters, one ugly mug at a time. If you manage to find the boss and defeat it, you’ll be able to move onto the next dungeon. Players are armed with two weapons to begin with; a melee weapon and a (finite ammo) magical staff, both of which are used for defeating the onslaught of enemies that will be lusting for your blood like Blade on a rat-diet. Still, the game’s simplistic foundation encouraged me to push on.
Unfortunately, this is where I began identifying One More Dungeon’s most glaring issues. Let’s start with the controls, shall we? Whilst the controls are indeed easy to pick up and understand, they’re also very much imprecise. I found that oftentimes I would miss my mark simply because of either over-sensitivity or the game’s lack of precision allowance. This meant that to successfully line-up a shot, I would need to move further back to create more distance between me and the opposition, in an attempt to hopefully avoid shooting over their curious noggins. This, is where another problem appears.
The enemies are far too forgiving when it comes to their line of sight. Either they all need to book a Specsavers appointment, or the player’s character is a stick of pepperoni. I lost count at how many times I would practically need to dance in the enemy’s view to trigger any acknowledgement. This doesn’t appear to be an isolated problem, as I endured this in almost every dungeon that I found myself in. I don’t want to over-exaggerate here because in fairness, the enemies do put up a fight when they see you, but it would have nice to not have to get so close to them to register my presence.
The enemy variation is on point, throwing traditional beasts your way at a regular pace; spiders, zombies, bats and so forth – most of which will gun for you once they recognize you’re there. Throw in the fact that the game can oftentimes feel clunky and we have a recipe for frustration. Throughout the course of each run, you’ll come across some new items that will aid you on your way forward. Items such as new weaponry, increased health and added abilities. These collectively make you more capable, resistant and powerful, which does well to hold up the game’s initial allure.
There’s also shops to buy from, crates to bash open and chests to unlock, making exploration a forefront importance. That, for the most part, is what kept me going. The constant push to see what was coming next as my character’s output and skill-sets slowly developed was, admittedly, quite intriguing and empowering. This was further bolstered by the game’s many hidden secrets. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not enough to outweigh what One More Dungeon gets wrong, but it does alleviate the game’s issues to a minor degree. It’s fair to describe this game as a passable, not great.
If you bite the proverbial dust, all of your progress will follow you to your doom. This is a forgivable design choice when we take into account that One More Dungeon is a game that you can (and should) enjoy in short bursts. Each new adventure brings a slightly different challenge due to its randomized nature, so losing all of your shit is somewhat easy to overlook. The weapons don’t really offer much of an advantage over one another unless you’re truly lucky, but again, this is all at the mercy of the game’s behavior, so much of this falls to chance and level generation anyway.
I did enjoy the mutators. These alter the way that the game plays out across a range of interesting factors; more health, less enemy health, decreased sight and other exciting tidbits. It’s hardly a revolutionary design choice, but it does add some depth nevertheless. Much to my expectation, the audio is quite generic and lacks any punch, consistently relying on repetitive cues rather than anything to relay that creepy dungeon-like vibe. Visually, however, I quite liked the game’s Minecraft/Doom-esque presentation. There’s a slight lack of detail for sure, but it does well with its diverse visual design to ensure that you feel alone and in the dark.
The bottom line in all of this is that One More Dungeon will certainly appeal to those of you that love the genre, and I dare say that it will please you if that’s the case. Though, if you’re on the market for something with more depth, you may want to shift your focus elsewhere. I will certainly commend the game for its cost though, weighing in at the affordable price of just £7.99/$7.99. It does cost significantly less if you fancy buying this on the PC via Steam, half price as a matter of fact, but even if you, like me, are tethered to the console, the price-tag is not to be scoffed at.
One More Dungeon is a basic game that doesn’t even try to evolve its quite frankly dated concept. There are far better roguelike dungeon crawlers available on the market for a similar price, removing much of the appeal that this game clearly doesn’t have to spare. Despite that, if you enjoy simplicity and can forgive the game of its issues and shortcomings, there’s some fleeting fun to be had here.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.