Epic Dungeon, developed by eyehook, released recently as part of the Winter Uprising for Xbox LIVE Indie Games. Does the game stand true to its name, and does it deserve to be labeled as a high quality indie title? Let’s just find out!

HERE’S WHAT’S GREAT ABOUT IT….

FIFTY LEVELS OF GREATNESS!

Epic Dungeon isn’t quite like anything else on the Indie marketplace – it’s a dungeon crawler with a unique one dimension top down video with hordes of enemies, traps, and loot to discover. You begin on floor one, and you must navigate through the level to find a ladder which will bring you to floor two and so on.  Enemies occupy the floors in groups, and they respawn in smaller numbers so you can gain continuous experience and gold if you hang out for awhile. The levels are relatively small but they are covered by a ‘fog of war’ type feature and you need to explore them to fully reveal everything.  Besides enemies you’ll find spike, poison, and spear traps to name but a few of the obstacles in your way. At times you may encounter a ? icon which confronts you with a situation, and a choice of options. These options may just reward you with an item or stat upgrade, or they have something grave in store for you.  It’s up to you and the choice you make may just be your last.

BATTLES & UPGRADES

The battles caught me by surprise when I first started out because there’s no actual attack button for the standard attack. When enemies are near, all you have to do is hold the analogue stick in the direction of the enemy and you attack them. With each enemy killed you earn experience and quite often you’ll level up. There are two levels you can gain – stats and abilities. Each of the four classes feature the same upgrade abilities which include health regeneration, flurry attack, poison, ice, and orb. You can customize points to these abilities any way you want. With each level, you gain three stat points to increase damage dealt, defense, dexterity, and luck – and you’ll gain these levels rather quickly in comparison to the ability levels which take a lot more experience. Each level gained for abilities will net you one point so use it carefully.

ITEMS & INVENTORY

The inventory system is basic but well laid out. You can easily sort your items by the press of a button, and you can sell junk off easily too. Some items are ‘secret’ and you have use an ‘Identify Scroll’ to find out what it is, or you can identify all secret items in a shop for 45GP. Armor and weapons clearly state their change to your current stats and if it’s an increase or decrease, and weaker armor and weapons are classified as junk.  You’ve got thirty-two item slots so you likely shouldn’t run of space at any time. With dozens of items available throughout the game, you’re sure to find some interesting effects to put on yourself, and your weapons and armor.

I CAN HEAR THE ORGAN…

During the game you’ll be treated to an organ style background theme, and while it’s a short loop of music, it doesn’t really seem to get old. It’s a memorable tune, maybe even worthy of being called a similar quality to some Castlevania tunes of the past. Sound effects are present for battles and item usage and they all right and seem to fit with the style of the game.

AND THE NOT SO GREAT….

I DIED, WHAT NOW?

You’ve made it to floor twenty-one in Epic Dungeon but you died? Too bad, so sad. Start over. Yes, that’s what I said. Start over. Take it as you will, maybe you hate this, maybe you don’t mind, but I doubt you’ll like this feature. It adds to the challenge of the game, and you’ll progress slower and more carefully through later floors in the game. If you need to, you can always move back to earlier floors in a dungeon and fight weaker enemies or visit a shop for health potions.  At first, I hated this fact of starting over, but not it just makes me work that much harder to delve deeper and deeper into this Epic Dungeon.

LET’S WRAP UP

I’ve spent about three hours with the game over the past week, and I keep wanting to come back to it. That’s a good sign. Epic Dungeon is a very retro-ific experience and it’s well worth it’s 80 :MSPoints: price tag. In fact, I even turned down a review code to purchase the game with points. It’s a game meant to be played in semi-short bursts the game allows you to save and quit on any floor and come back another time.  A decent soundtrack, lots of floors to explore, and an overall fun experience make it a very welcome addition to your collection.

For more information on the Xbox LIVE Indie Winter Uprising, click here.

Rating
Description
9.0Gameplay
Fun and simple combat, lots of levels and variation with them.
9.0Graphics
Pulls off the retro style extremely well and everything is well designed.
8.5Sound
A nice sounding organ-style theme and classic style sound effects.
9.0Final Score