Developer: Mike Studios
Publisher: Black Shell Media
Platforms: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC
Dungeon Souls – Review
It’s been quite some time since we had a look at Dungeon Souls back when it was in Early Access. The game is an action-adventure roguelike dungeon crawler and while it’s a mouthful, it has received some pretty impressive reviews. Now, we’re also revisiting this game and seeing what has changed and where it has improved.
Dungeon Souls mostly focuses on hardcore action and fast-paced gameplay. However, there are small amounts of story to be found in the game if you look for it. The bosses will give you hints about the dungeon master and that you have to defeat the master in order to leave the dungeon. There’s a “forgotten library” which will briefly tell you the story of a father whose daughter has been cursed. The father heard of a dungeon which might have the powers to lift this curse, once in the dungeon, he made a pact with dungeon master Selena and is now stuck in there.
While it’s not much of a story, it’s nice to learn about some of the backstory of the dungeon itself and another character that resides in the dungeon. All in all, it’s better than nothing.
The game has a very unique and nice-looking art style. It looks great with its retro style graphics and these simple graphics prevent distractions by overly complicated and fancy effects or environments. While the game can look pretty busy at times, some effects and status texts can be disabled in the menu, which is definitely recommended in the later stages of the game. The whole atmosphere in Dungeon Souls is also very dark, the dynamic lighting is beautifully done and responds to explosions or other light sources. Graphical effects as a whole, like explosions, projectiles and others are also pretty well done and aren’t too distracting.
Overall, Dungeon Souls has great sound effects and music. The music is always spot on and there’s a good variety of it, which makes it so it doesn’t get boring after a while. Boss music is also awesome and really fits with the tense moments that surely await you during such a battle. Sound effects are pretty good as well, but later on in the game they can get quite overwhelming if you have loads of items picked up.
Dungeon souls is an action-adventure roguelike dungeon crawler, which is a big mouthful. Basically you’ll be progressing through randomly generated monster-filled dungeons, picking up items which give you powers, level up your character and spend points to upgrade abilities. The game can be played with both a controller and keyboard, although the game only has partial controller support. The goal of the game is to kill the dungeon master, if you manage to do that with all of the heroes, the dungeon will be defeated.
Before starting a game, you’ll have to choose from one of ten available heroes to play with. Not all of them will be unlocked from the start though, some of them require special objectives to be completed within the game in order to be unlocked. The hero selection screen gives you a nice overview of the skills, stats and rank of each hero. Every hero has a very different playstyle and it might take a while to find one that meets your style. There’s a necromancer who summons skeletons, a thief which throws knives and can go invisible, an archer which has a multishot ability, a barbarian who can throw his axe and many more. Every hero has one main skill and two secondary skills which can individually be leveled up.
Once started, you’ll start making your way through the dungeon. The dungeon consists of a lot of different floors, and they have to be progressed by opening the portal to the next floor. This is done by activating “Marks” located around the floor. Whenever a mark is touched, it will spawn enemies. If all of the marks have been activated, the portal to go to the next floor will open. Don’t wait too long to go to the next level though, as The Redeemer will spawn and will most definitely kill you if you don’t go to the next floor.
On each floor, a lot of goodies can be found which make you (much) stronger. There are loads of different items to be found with a huge range of effects they can give. Item can usually be found in chests, there are wooden, silver, golden and cursed chests. Silver and golden chests can only be opened with their respective keys, which can be found or bought. Cursed chests sometimes give you an item which has both a positive and negative effect, like doing double damage but only having a 50% hit chance.
Besides the actual dungeon, there is also another interesting feature in the main menu which is the “Arcane Forge”. Here, you can craft items from recipes you find throughout the game. Of course, these recipes require gold and items, both of which can be picked up when killing enemies within the dungeon. These recipes can be things like fire bows, ice daggers, poltergeist weapons (which pierce multiple enemies in one shot) and more.
If you’re feeling more adventurous, there are multiple difficulties the game can be played on. The next one gets unlocked if you defeat the game in the previous difficulty, so the game will get progressively more difficult. There is also a local co-op so you can play together with a friend.
Dungeon Souls has definitely come a long way since the Early Access period. A lot of bugs were fixed and more music, heroes, items and much more were added. It truly feels like a finished game now (even though there’s still some game-crashing bugs) and it can be extremely satisfying if you get a good run where you’re practically unkillable and kill everything in your path instantly.