Dragon’s Dungeon: Awakening – Review
Follow Genre: Turn-based Dungeon Crawler, Action
Developer: Lunar Pixel
Publisher: Atriagames
Platform: PC/Android/iOS
Tested on: PC

Dragon’s Dungeon: Awakening – Review

Site Score
4.5
Good: Original attempt at roguelike elements
Bad: Unbalanced, barely any gameplay.
User Score
5.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)

Following in the footsteps of the classic Dungeons and Dragons franchise, a lot of games were created over the decades. They give you a little time off to go to a fairy-filled world, full of ogres, princesses, and knights. Dragon’s Dungeon: Awakening is one of those games. Starting out as a game for mobile devices, it also hit the shelves on Steam now.

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Story

The world as we know it will fall into chaos because the Dragons of old are slowly opening their eyes. Not all is lost! For you, the adventurer, is going to embark on a great journey where you can fight your way through many floors of many dungeons to find and slay the dragons. Doing so you will eventually be able to create a.. potion? That should help? The game is not so clear in its story except for the first line of introduction. As a matter of fact, during most of the game there is barely any text at all, it’s just dungeon crawling until you possibly find a NPC that you are able to barter with. Or until you receive a tiny side-quest with almost no story. Most of the story is just in your mind, picking a character you deem fitting to complete your purpose. Characters that have no background, no text, only a slight difference in stats ,core skills and a different picture. Due to the nature and core gameplay of Dragon’s Dungeon, this is not really a problem. However, background and story have and always will be a resourceful part of fantasy or sword and sorcery tales. Sometimes this translates to a feeling that the game missed out on certain possible key elements.

Graphics

Dragon’s Dungeon has some nice graphics going on when we look at menu art and i.e. pictures representing characters. The game itself has some colorful, tiny classic pixel art that probably is partially supposed to represent a board game considering each creature has a very small platform they stand on. The movement and perspective seem a bit dull sometimes due to the lack of animations, and when fighting it’s very clear the game was first created for mobile platforms. You only see numbers and status effects while tapping, or in this case clicking, the enemy. It’s also one of the aspects that will be addressed later on, considering this is pretty much the gameplay.

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Sound

The quality in sound has a couple of differences. Sometimes the background track is just fine, other times it seems slightly chaotic. Combined with the sound effects that seem to be different in volume and sometimes a bit too loud, create a not really enjoyable sound. Overall it mainly sounds a bit cheap. Again, maybe something you would expect from a game that was initially made for your phone.

Gameplay

Dragon’s Dungeon is a roguelike dungeon crawler. It has a slight amount of strategy involved but that could be overlooked. Mainly you try to find your way through dungeons, gaining experience by killing enemies and praying your stats are high enough not to take too much damage in a fight. It’s the kind of gameplay that can be addicting but also quite boring after a while. Especially in this game where there are many dungeons to be explored but you have to start over as soon as you die. The developers call it hardcore but in retrospect, it seems like a lack of balance and options.

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To drop some examples, everything is roguelike. The layout of the dungeons and traps are different every time you try again. So is the loot that doesn’t really feel like it makes much of an impact. In a game like this there should be huge differences between a sword with 10 attack damage or one with 80, but it does not feel like it in this case. This issue is also because of the ”hardcore” aspect. Most tries of exploring the dungeon, the monsters will simply outscale you in health and damage once you play long enough. Besides that even the skilltree is roguelike. A fun concept but possibly frustrating. You get some stats (Damage reflection, Energy, Intelligence and more) that boost your health, damage, defenses and mana. Each level up, you gain a skill point and you can use these in the randomized skilltree that has taken the form of square tiles. You can only choose a tile that doesn’t have a question mark, and the four adjacent tiles will become visible once you do. The skill tree, or maybe better phrased as skillboard, gives you a +1, +2 or +3 in your basic skills. Either that or you can try to reach golden question marks while leveling. These contain core skills for your class. With everything being randomized and not much other gameplay being offered than clicking on enemies, it really sucks when you are unlucky with your roguelike skill tree. The only things that stay the same are the heroes you can pick or unlock and the progress you make in the ”village”, a place with merchants and upgrades to unlock with gems, a currency you slowly build up over deaths of multiple games.

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Dragon’s Dungeon certainly can be amusing, but especially after playing a longer time, its flaws shine through up to the moment you can’t block the light anymore. At some point, it’s nothing more than a slightly boring pastime activity where at each game you see if the odds will be in your favor this time. It just lacks gameplay in general. A real shame cause it does have some nice elements wrapped up in nice wrapping paper. But if you claim something is hardcore and there is no real skill involved from the player’s side, it’s not hardcore. It’s just unbalanced. Another prime example of what really should have been different is that you gain a huge amount of looted ingredients from crates and monsters each game. Ores, feathers, mushrooms, all stuff to create potions or weapons with. The problem is, however, you can’t freaking use any of them! Not unless the rogue element decides an alchemist or blacksmith will spawn on the next floor. Which barely happens. It just seems ridiculous to build in an entire crafting system with ingredients, only to not let the player be able to use them. If he could go back to the village and simply use it at an NPC (which would be logical since every bloody game does it this way because it works) it would have been much better.

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Conclusion

Dragon’s Dungeon: Awakening is one of those games that certainly on mobile you would have taken out of your pocket when you were bored due to its addictive elements. However, while getting to know the game it is clear that there is no proper gameplay involved to keep the player interested. It’s way more the type of game that keeps your mind and hands busy and far from something that adds anything valuable story or experiences. It feels like the game is a polished experiment from some people who really wanted to learn how to make games, but didn’t want to continue working on it to actually make it work.

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Rating: 5.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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Dragon's Dungeon: Awakening - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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