REVIEW: Super Dungeon Quest

From a visual standpoint, and from reading its idea on paper, Super Dungeon Quest ($2.99) is the kind of game that appeals to me right away. It would probably appeal to most others, too. A straight-up dungeon hack & slash, with a hint of roguelike flavoring and a ton of lovely-looking sprites, several character classes to choose from, and some light RPG values that enable you to level up your stats as you go.

Super Dungeon Quest - Screen

So why then, after playing through the game’s randomized dungeons with two (of seven) different character classes, a fireball-slinging Wizard and a melee-focused Warrior, am I left with such an empty, repetitive feeling? To understand that, you have to first recognize the gameplay for what it is; a twin-stick shooter. Sure, you don’t use the right thumbstick, but attacks can be auto-aimed and spammed repeatedly. For the range-based Heroes in particular, like the aforementioned Wizard, and the Archer, Bomber, etc., the ‘shooter’ vibe is strong. Less so for the blade-wielding types, but each character has their own special attack / move that helps offset any shortcomings based on weapons.

It’s all faster-playing than you might think, with you twin-sticking your way through hundreds of blurred baddies and collecting gold on the way to each floor’s exit. Once you’ve battled through enough villains and found the key (you don’t necessarily have to kill everyone to find it, though you should; that extra gold you’ll farm is, well, golden), it’s rinse and repeat all the way to the skill bank, which allocates your typical boosts to health, attack power, mana, luck, etc, in exchange for gold. Said upgrades are basically interchangeable between the Heroes, as you’ll only ever need increased weapon power and health to breeze through the game on its normal setting.

Super Dungeon Quest - Screen2

And oh, what a breeze it is. There’s absolutely nothing else tying you to the game, as it is minus a story, bosses, or even an excuse for all the looting. Once you’ve traversed the entirely of the dungeon (fourteen floors = forty minutes, slightly longer on Hard), the game simply returns to the title screen after tallying your stats. There’s two alternative modes to try your luck at, both wave-based, and which play exactly the same as the main game— albeit in a single arena— with you again earning gold to spend on upgrades between rounds.

With none of your progress saved upon death (it’s a roguelike, natch) or success, and no leaderboards of any kind for the arenas, it’s all rendered moot in the end. Running through the dungeons once or twice is enough to get your fill, too, as each floor and character starts to feel the same as the last, with only the cosmetic side of it changing as you advance. It plays well-enough, and certainly looks great, but Super Dungeon Quest is just empty adventuring. 

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This review is also featured at Indiepitome

Review on Indie Gamer Chick

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26 thoughts on “REVIEW: Super Dungeon Quest”

  1. The problem is that you didn’t change the difficulty. This game on normal mode is empty and pointless. Class choices are irrelevant, combat tactics aren’t needed, nor any kind of strategy for spending gold on your skills, and paying special attention to enemies and their attacks is also not needed. Put the difficulty to hard and you will find a totally different and addictive game.

    1. Oh I agree on the breeze that is the ‘normal’ setting. I turned up the difficulty after the first run. I made mention in the review that it increased the amount of floors you had to explore (I forget exactly how many more), but I wouldn’t say the challenge was greatly increased to the point that it made it a whole new game. For me, I think it was just the repetitiveness of the objective, the twin-stick shooter vibe (which is strange, because I usually enjoy any twin-stick shooter), and the fact that there’s no real progress that’s being tracked.

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on that, but glad you enjoyed the game. And thanks for the comment! 🙂

  2. For a game as small as this, why not just use a way file then? Isn’t there a 500 mb cap and wouldn’t that leave plenty of room?

    1. I can’t use the reply feature correctly I guess, but I was “just saying”. This game seems lacking…I’ll wait and see if it drops to $1. If not I still might get it anyway after I pick up Survivalist sometime this week. Brimstone is probably my favorite dungeon crawler on xblig. The only thing it’s missing is local co-op.

    2. Same here, gonna wait for a price drop.
      Have you tried Dungeon Smash? I know, it got some mixed reviews but if you’re into dungeon crawler it might be right up your alley.

      And you gonna have fun with Survivalist, it’s an awesome game.

      I think my character in Brimstone is “only” Level 32 right now, so it’s still a long way ’til it’s safe for me to tackle it on hardest difficulty.

    3. Reminds me I need to get back to Brimstone. Been awhile and I didn’t get much way through it. I have a bad habit of playing and game and if I like it buying it then finding something else to go on to and I have a hard time getting back to games that I wanted to play. Thanks for the reminder Joe and Soosh.

    4. Oh and I never played Dungeon Smash but I am downloading the trial right now and will try it here shortly. I’m scared I will like it and never get to Brimstone. LOL

    5. @Joe Graham : Well, if you go over 150 MB then you HAVE to price your game at $2.99 or higher…

      However, since this game is only 5.45 MB right now AND the song seems pretty short so it would only be about 20 MB by itself AND the game is already $2.99… I have no idea why.

    6. Speaking of mixed reviews for Dungeon Smash… I never miss a chance to plug my own site, in case you hadn’t seen it: http://wp.me/p2sUdT-16h Too plain for my tastes, but you could play as Jessica Alba if you want, so that’s something… right?

      @Joe and NVO Games: I was going to chime in on the file size, but Michael already addressed that. The pause in the loop isn’t a big deal, really, but yeah, for $3, you think another track or two wouldn’t hurt. Were the developer to drop the price to a dollar, it’d get my non-existent seal of approval. It’d still be repetitive, but your wallet wouldn’t hurt as much for it.

  3. Missing the “fun” factor in there. Good game otherwise. I would like to mention that in fact it much easier than a twin stick shooter (although I fully understand that reference) due to auto aim. At first look with all the classes, style and artwork I was excited. I lost that excitement before my 8 minute trial was over.

    1. Yeah, I would say that the fun is there… for the first few floors, or the length of the trial, as you said. The added character classes help, but only to an extent. Not enough to carry the game. It’s a shame, as I do love them sprites. 🙂

    2. It certainly got the fun factor, at least for me. Even if it might get repetitive and you’re basically just grinding away I ended up restarting the trial for at least 15 times by now.
      But I also enjoyed Dungeon Smash and just recently revisited Brimstone, so there’s that.

    3. I like the ‘grind’ factor as well. That’s part of the reason I revisited the game after writing the review, just to make sure I hadn’t changed my mind about what I wrote. Going through a total of four times now, I just think it needed something more to denote your progress, something leftover after completing it, or something you could aim for (like a leaderboard, or maybe an unlock, anything).

      As is, it’s just a grind, with no ‘payoff’ beyond that grind. Everyone enjoys different things, though, so maybe that’s perfectly fine.

      Never did end up trying Brimstone. May have to look into that. Or maybe I should be a glutton for punishment and try Banana Bananza, or Lifeguard

    4. Nope, no lifeguard needed. I avoided going into the deep end of that ‘pool’. $3 was too rich for something that I would’ve inevitably ended up hating. As for Banana Bonanza? You were too late there. 😦

  4. Interesing, I always enjoy your reviews !! unless I have my figures wrong, it looks like even the big AAA games are not selling well on the xbox360 anymore, looking at the first week (2nd?) of Darksouls 2 they only sold less than 6000 copies (xbox only). On the PS3 they sold 250,000 units, so it’s not looking so good for my favorite console. If that was an indie game those numbers would be alright.

    1. Thank you, sir. Always appreciated!

      Man, those numbers are pretty far apart! I haven’t really played the series thus far, but I do keep tabs on it. Was there something about the PS3 version that made it more enticing than the 360? That said, yeah, good numbers for an indie, but XBLIG will take a bigger hit (…well, a bigger hit than usual) if the system starts to fade. They still plan on releasing multiple versions of a game for the last-gen and now-gen systems, so I’m assuming most people will be content with their 360s and PS3s for a little while longer.

      I did, however, finally purchase an Xbox One this past weekend, and I convinced my cousin to do the same, so maybe I’m part of the problem now. 🙂 It would be interesting to compare the Titanfall numbers once the 360 version gets released (barring another delay, of course), see if people are being swayed significantly.

    2. From what I can tell those sales numbers are from Japan only. Not too surprising since Japan doesn’t have a very large 360 install base…

    3. Ah, that’s seems more in line with what I’d picture. I can’t see big budget games performing that poorly on the last-gen systems. With an install base as large as it is on Xbox 360 / PS3, that’s millions of people looking to play whatever’s new. I saw an article last night that said Ubisoft was planning to support those systems ‘for years’, and I’m sure it’d be the same at EA, Activision, etc.

      And hell, there’s always Persona 5. For that reason alone, my PS3 will remain hooked up well into 2015. 🙂

  5. You call it a… a roguelike?

    sigh

    Btw did you notice that the music loop has a slight pause before it starts over again? It’s just a fraction of a second but still sounds somewhat awkward.
    And sometimes you’re not able to pick up loot when it lies too close to a wall.

    I would definitely get it for 69p / $1 (need my regular dungeon crawl / hack & slash fix) and I’m sure I’d enjoy it, but £1.99 / $2.99? I know, it’s not the world, but still…

    The only thing I didn’t get in the review was the twin-stick shooter reference, never used the right thumbstick (like you wrote) in the trial. Could you enlighten me please?

    1. Ha! Knew you’d like that ‘roguelike’ label. Actually forgot to add that to the ‘tags’, so will do. It fits the modern technical definition, as it is permanent when you die.

      I did notice that loop in the music. As much as I would’ve liked a few more tracks to listen to, it was minor enough I didn’t mention it. Also noticed the same problem with picking up gold near walls as Indie Gamer Chick, but again, it didn’t happen as much for me, so I left it off the list of critiques. Didn’t ruin the game for me. Oh, and I don’t know if this is just luck or a glitch, but… occasionally, if you wait to open a ‘gold chest’ until you’re right on top of it, surrounded by enemies, you may spawn multiple gold drops. This happened to me twice (I was a Bomber and a Paladin), so I was leaving the level with like 700 gold to buy upgrades with. Couldn’t get it to work all the time, but it’s something to mention.

      As for the twin-stick reference, you might have read that too fast. I was saying that while you didn’t use the right thumbstick, you could hold down the auto-aim, resulting in a look and play style that resembled twin-stick shooters. And really, if you put your upgrades into weapon strength and health, you can blow through the entire dungeon pretty much unopposed.

      Agreed on the price. It’s a great-looking game, but far too superficial with its content to be charging more than the 69p / $1 rate.

    2. Oh, I did read what you were saying about the right thumbstick, just didn’t know that holding down the left trigger for auto targeting qualifies a game for being a twin-stick shooter. But never really been into these twin-stick shooters anyway, mind you.

      I’ll probably wait and hope that the price will drop at some point…

    3. Ah, okay, I see what you mean. I should have been more clear about the idea behind the phrase. ‘Stick-Left Trigger Shooter’ didn’t have the same ring to it, though. 🙂

      I would hope, for the sake of others that may be looking at the game, that the price would go down. In that event, this would be much easier to digest.

    4. In XNA (what all XBLIGs are written in), you cannot create a seamless looping MP3 track. It will ALWAYS have a skip at the end. Just a side effect of the system we work in. The only way to create a seamless loop is to use a WAV file, and those are about 10 times larger.

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