Legend of Dungeon is an intense dungeon hack n’ slash rougelike that harkens back to the olden days of the dungeon crawl. It’s akin to Eye of the Beholder, Dungeon Master, and the more recent, The Legend of Grimrock mashed together with classic beat-em-ups like TMNT: The Arcade Game and Double Dragon.
Except LoD is so purely focused on hacking, slashing, and leveling up that it completely bypasses any attempt at story, which is actually incredibly refreshing. There is no need to sit through any complicated intro sequence with voice over talking about the generic fantasy world at your fingertips. It starts you off as a randomly designed character (though you’re able to choose gender, which only adds pixels in certain areas of your blocky avatar) and are plopped right into a whimsical, pixilated medieval tavern complete with burning torches and indiscriminate characters. Upon exit of the tavern you jump right into the meat and into the labyrinthine dungeon of the game’s namesake.
Pieces of stat-raising clothing are also found in the dungeon. For example, a coffee cup placed on your character’s head triples that character’s speed. Because why not?!
But it’s not all about the looks. The game itself is a hack n’ slasher, focusing on ascending the many, many (re: MANY) levels of the dungeon to battle monsters and acquire loot. And that’s it. There isn’t anything flowery or excess in Legend of Dungeon – it’s as pure as gaming gets. You use melee and ranged weapons (all discoverable in the dungeon) to fight monsters, gain experience, and acquire more loot. Pieces of stat-raising clothing are also found in the dungeon. For example, a coffee cup placed on your character’s head triples that character’s speed. Because why not?! Running literal circles around the vampires, mummies, zombies, bats, and tons of other enemies in the dungeon is silly, stupid fun. But it’s not all as easy as running up to a monster and bashing in its skull.
Each enemy requires a different strategy and timing in order to defeat it. Careful observation and planning will help you go far into the dungeon, otherwise the game’s permadeath will have the character you worked so hard on be instantly (and permanently) vaporized. The randomized dungeon is merciless. Speaking of randomness, the entire game’s bread-and-butter is based on randomization. The dungeons are random, enemies are random, and equipment is random. So the first time I waltzed into the dungeon, valiantly clinging to my little sword as I danced all the way to level four when an evil wizard abruptly squashed me.
In one hit.
Later I was super careful, able to climb to level eight. I was doing good, running from monsters when I had to when I opened a secret passage that lead to the next level and was promptly disintegrated by a group of evil wizards.
So the randomness makes it feel unnecessarily hard, but you just have to realize the game isn’t terribly forgiving and just be really careful. Or have a friend to back you up. Yes, LoD has a great multiplayer system that allows up to four pixel-y friends to join you on your quest for glory. Multiplayer actually axes the permadeth system and turns your eviscerated hero into a ghost that can totally come back with the help of your friend.
As for the technical aspects of Legend of Dungeon, they’re all as simple and streamlined as the gameplay itself. I used a PlayStation 3 controller and was able to map every button easily. Moving and using items is smooth and the setup is easy. It’s very much the pure definition of “easy to pick up, hard to master.”
Amidst the chaos of modern high-definition / socially acceptable / grim story driven gaming world, Legend of Dungeon‘s definitely a refreshing reminder of a time when games only needed to focus on being fun. It’s a $10 (or $15 with the OST!) investment with near infinite replay value that you won’t regret spending.
Legend of Dungeon Minimum PC Requirements
- OS: Windows XP
- Processor: 2-GHz
- RAM: 2 GB
- Graphics: Nvidia GeForce 8800/AMD Radeon HD 4800 (512 MB RAM)
- Hard Drive: 500 MB
You can buy Legend of Dungeon from the RobotLovesKitty site, located right here, or on Steam.