By Diana "DumeeGamer" Dumee on May 8, 2018
One of the main reasons why we like to organize a retro game event once a year is to bring back that glint of nostalgia in people's eyes, when they play an 8-bit game. Everyone who was a kid in the 80's or 90's is bound to have some fond memories of at least one of the games of that era. But games created in 8-bit style are not only a blast from the past; even nowadays, there are developers that just can't get enough of the retro feel and create their modern games in the image of their 80's and 90's counterparts. This has resulted in a number of games that are really cool and that bring back that nostalgic feeling!
One of those games that are the living prove of that fact is Devious Dungeon; a medieval dungeon-themed action platform game, originally created for mobile devices by Indie Developers Ravenous Games and Woblyware. Then, on March 30 of this year, the game was ported by independent publisher Ratalaika Games for the PS4 and PS Vita, closely followed by a Nintendo Switch port on April 24. After watching the announcement trailer of this game, I totally wanted to play it, so I was absolutely thrilled when I received a copy!
As I've already mentioned, Devious Dungeon is a medieval themed action platformer with simple but effective controls and pretty straightforward game mechanics, which I absolutely love! Don't get me wrong, I can enjoy a good (action) RPG like The Witcher 3, but sometimes I get a bit lost in the plethora of options those games usually present you with. Not Devious Dungeon, however; in this game, the only two things you'll ever need are: XP to level up (which you collect by killing enemies) and gold (which you also collect mostly by killing enemies. I think I see a pattern emerging here!) to buy items. These items are divided into four basic groups: weapons, armor, potions and magical jewelry. So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls: the only two things you need to hack your way through tons and tons of bad guys!
In Devious Dungeon, dark times are upon Hilltop Castle, because an ancient evil has awakened in the catacombs underneath the castle. The king sends his most fearsome warrior (yes, that's you!) to destroy the evil lurking below. But the dungeon is truly deadly and, here comes the twist, constantly shifting because of procedurally generated levels, so no level will be the same twice! Only a true champion will be able to save the day, which leads us to the following question; are you that champion? Gather your weapon and armor and get ready to kick some serious medieval behind! As you start off on your adventure, you find yourself in the throne room of Hilltop Castle, where you meet the King and the castle's staff. There is also a shop in which you can buy all the items that you'll need to complete your quest. And, last but not least, there is a portal that lets you travel to the castle's dungeons that, as we'll soon find out, are filled with every possible danger this 8-bit kingdom has to offer!
The basic controls and gameplay are pretty straightforward; you can jump and by holding down the jump button you can even jump higher. You're also able to drop down to a platform below by pressing down and the jump button at the same time. You can attack with your weapon and if you get lost, the developers provided a nice map for you. The goal of each level is to find the key so you can open the gateway to the next level. Although this sounds simple enough, accomplishing this is, more often than not, easier said than done. You see, each level is crowded with enemies and as you progress through the game, more and more enemies will appear and they become increasingly more powerful. Killing those enemies will grant you XP which means you can level up. Each time you level up you get to choose an upgrade for one of the stats of your character.
The most challenging thing about Devious Dungeon is the fact that your health is not automatically replenished after each level. Instead, you start each level with the amount of health you had when you finished the previous level. If you die in the level during your quest, you can restart your adventure from certain checkpoint levels. When I died at level three for the first time and I had to start all over again from level one, because level four is the first checkpoint level. Blast! So I started level one again for the second time, but something was amiss!
The dungeon I entered was in no way the same as the ones I previously made my way through! Damn you, procedurally generated levels!!! All silliness aside, these ever-changing levels do add to the replay value of the game, so it's actually a good thing! And, luckily, your stats, upgrades and XP levels are saved, so by dying you won't lose that progress. Replaying levels will you gain you extra XP so it might work in your advantage, right? At the moment, there are sixty-two levels for you to hack your way through, as well as five evil bosses for you to defeat. Can you keep your head and finish all the levels? Well, there is only one way to find out, isn't there?
That's it; I have no words left to tell you how awesome Devious Dungeon actually is. I hope that by this time, you just can't wait to buy a copy of your own and start playing this absolute gem of 8-bit action platform gaming!