What you end up with is comparable to a standard fighting game, except there are cooldowns to take into account, as well as lite RPG elements. Outside of the fights themselves, you’ll be acquiring loot, swapping out bits of armor and upgrading your character’s stats. You move deeper into the dungeon only by winning fights, and you’ll only take on one fight at a time. Your goal is to find the eponymous deep dungeons of doom in order to rid the land of the evil that haunts the inhabitants.
The combat system is the central core of Deep Dungeons of Doom, and it works really well, luckily. By tapping the right side of the screen, you’ll attack the enemy and will then have to wait for the cooldown before attacking again. Tap the left side of the screen and you’ll block for a second or two. You’ll know when to do this by looking out for the tells in the enemy’s behaviour, and the more you play, the more used to each enemy types quirks you’ll get used to.
You’ll learn that it’s vital to block the cockatrice’s first attack as it turns you to stone, and it immediately follows this with another attack, meaning you’ll need to block twice in quick succession. Other enemies attack, and then immediately block in anticipation of a counter-attack from you, while the easier enemies just attack and don’t bother to block at all. The bosses you’ll encounter at the bottom of each dungeon usually can only be attacked in a certain short period of time and, until that moment emerges, must be blocked. Luckily, the sprite work and animations are really well done and offer enough visual feedback to the player for them to be able to ‘read’ the enemies.
“This game is only for the brave. Dungeons await, each one deeper, each one more perilous and each one more challenging than the last.”
I’ve only played the first few dungeons, but was pulled in immediately by the pattern-based fighting, the storytelling that is illustrated with well-written cutscenes, and the gameplay loop in which you battle, acquire loot and upgrade your character, as well unlock more characters to fight with too. The further you go in, the more challenging each dungeon becomes, and you’ll also have to more carefully manage your equipment and which character you take down, as well as the moment-to-moment fighting.
Although the exploratory section of typical dungeon crawlers is missing, Deep Dungeons of Doom manages to feel just as content-heavy as others in the genre and has a more compelling method of storytelling than the rest. That’s a result of having such a directed experience throughout the game, which is found by taking just the core elements of the genre and condensing them so that it feels paced and doesn’t waste a second.
Another aspect I like about the game is that it doesn’t get in your face with purchasing extra gold or in-game items with your real currency, though the option is there. And one of the things you can buy is an extra six dungeons to battle through, and oddly enough (I’m not fond of DLC), I feel as if that could be worthy of the price if you enjoy the game. Currently, you can download Deep Dungeons of Doom for your OUYA console or your iOS device from the App Store for free, and an Android version will be arriving on the Google Play store shortly.