Posted by Joshua Spudic on Jul 4, 2012

Dungeon Twister Review

Dungeon Twister
Developer: Hydravision Entertainment
Publisher: Hydravision Entertainment
Platform: Playstation 3 (via PSN)
Release Date: 04/07/2012 (C
Price: $9.99

Dungeon Twister is the latest video game from Hydravision Entertainment, a French independent studio. Inspired by the board game of the same name, the player takes eight characters in a series of dungeons. While the developers promoted the game, this quote caught my attention: “Dungeon Twister is first and foremost a board game, before becoming a video game,” and this statement is closer to the truth than anyone would think. The gameplay is reflecting a board game rather than a video game and it has its good and bad moments. The visuals are great and the audio is as well. But, do expect a lack of story mode and a combat system that wants more out of it.

If you are familiar with the popular role playing game Dungeon & Dragons as well as chess, one of the oldest strategy games out there, then the gameplay of Dungeon Twisters will be quite easy to understand. With that said, don’t expect to be the master of the dungeon with the first game. Players will have to achieve victory by gathering five victory points. These victory points can be achieved with two different methods: slaying members of the opponent’s party or reaching to the end of the dungeon. Sounds simple, only it isn’t. The dungeon is laid out with elements such as pits and closed portcullis to hinder both parties in achieving their goal.

The layout of the game is a dungeon, hinted in the name. Using action points, players can move, initiate combat and use other actions. At the beginning of each turn, players must choose a card, which determines how much action points they will have for the turn. Some are not available at first but will be once the player continues the game. The action points can be used in various ways, some of which is quite unique. Each room will usually contain a rotation gear, which allows the player to turn the room by one quarter per action point, with a ¾ turn available for three action points. Jumping over pit falls and breaking a portcullis also require action points. Action points are gold, silver and bronze in Dungeon Twister, hence knowing the in and outs of the dungeon is a must. This makes for interesting games and complex strategy for those who learn. Yes, the learning curve may be unforgiving for new players, but the reward for hanging in there is worth it.

Expect four offline modes when the game boots up. For those who want to know the rules, then there is a training mode as well as an how to play section in the options menu. A quick play mode is also on offer, jumping straight into a game. There are two versions: simplified essentially places all characters and items in random spots. An advanced game changes that and allows the player to develop their own strategy by placing characters and items around the dungeon. Challenge mode offers players 20 challenges to complete and allow them to post their results on an online leaderboard. For those who want a story mode, however, then get ready to be disappointed. There is no story mode, with the challenge mode being the closest to one, or even a story. That is quite a disappointment because it really doesn’t add a reason to actually go back and play. It could also offer context with the world and provide a background of the characters. With that said, it is better to have no story than a bad story. Online Multiplayer is also available, with an online leaderboard for online matches.

Eight characters are available to be part of your team, all with their own abilities. These are Goblin, Mekanok, Wall-walker, Thief, Warrior, Cleric, Troll and Wizard. With the use of action points, each character can use a special ability which can turn the tide of battle. Warriors can break open a portcullis, while a Wall-walker can just move through walls. However, it is quite disappointing that these characters can not acquire levels and the combat system reflects that. Instead, combat is designed through cards, rather than a statistical system found in other strategy games. This isn’t the best way to decide battles in a video game like Dungeon Twisters. It is basically get the highest numerical amount with the cards to win the fight. Does the combat system work with the game? Yeah, it does. The design of the levels might actually work in favour of the combat system. If done in a traditional way, victory points may be easily obtainable for each side, thus creating an imbalanced system.

Strategy is key in Dungeon Twister. Expect a battering if the wrong strategy is implemented, but, find the right combination, reap in the rewards. With each character requiring both their unique abilities and a coherent plan, players will wisely spend their action points. The action point system makes players think on their toes while not breaking the game. Combat does suit the style of the game, but it feels basic. The lack of any story is also disappointing, but the same could be said if a bad story was included.

For a game like Dungeon Twister, don’t expect high detailed character models or elegant settings. It doesn’t mean that the visuals are an eyesore; it is just that the camera angle won’t allow it. With that said, there really isn’t that much to see. The dungeon is a multicoloured board game with squares to represent where the characters can move to. Walls will block the character’s passage. The pits are filled with excellent textured lava, with other elements well represented with recognisable designs. The style of the game, which is cartoonish, fits with the overall theme of the game. With that said, character portraits for their profiles are beautiful and elegant.  The audio is quite interesting. In terms of the soundtrack, there are quite a few tracks available. The main theme is quite good, with an enchanting orchestra filling the player’s heart with raw emotion for battle. The sound effects and voice acting is also good.

Dungeon Twister is a fun strategy game. With that said, it is hard to recommend it for those quite new to the genre or unfamiliar to the board game. The learning curve is quite steep, but rewards persistence. The combat system, while fitting the game, could have been designed a little better, but the variety of strategy that can be implemented is quite staggering. The lack of a story mode is both a positive and a negative. While it is expected for games like Dungeon Twister to have a story mode, a bad story could weight the game down. Overall, Dungeon Twister is a great game for those who are great with strategy. For the others, maybe another strategy game should be looked at.



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