Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts


Review: Dungeonland

8:00 PM on 02.04.2013 // Chris Carter

An amusing grind

Truly, I had no expectations going into Dungeonland. In fact, I opted to test it out solely because of my profuse love for action RPGs.

I had heard through the grapevine that it was a "hardcore" action RPG that was completely lacking in story, and instead, played out entirely through repeating randomly spawned dungeons, similar to a rogue-like.

I was very, very surprised by the results.

Dungeonland (PC)
Developer: Critical Studio
Publisher: Paradox Interactive AB
Release: January 29, 2013
MSRP: $9.99
Rig: Intel i3-2370M, with 8GB of RAM, GeForce GTX 555 GPU

Let me start off immediately by confirming the challenging nature of the game: indeed, this is a "hardcore" dungeon crawler in every sense of the word. Exemplified by the fact that Dungeonland's lowest difficulty setting is "Hard," this game will throw the kitchen sink at you, go to a hardware store and put every other appliance on credit, then throw more at you, while sticking you with the exorbitant bill.

As previously mentioned, the game plays out like an isometric ARPG (like Gauntlet, with a more pronounced RPG flavor), based in various randomly spawned dungeons. There are three "themed" levels out right now at launch, with more on the way, and a special "Dungeon Master" mode that I'll get to later.

The basic premise involves you taking on a dungeon with two other players. Each player can choose between one of three classes, all of which cater to the standard fantasy class tropes -- Mage, Assassin (Thief), and Warrior. You don't have to necessarily stick with this trifecta, but you'll have a much easier time utilizing their team attacks (which are triggered by doing things like laying a fire wall down with a Mage, and throwing knives through it with the Assassin to light them on fire) with a well balanced party.

Anyways, back to the difficulty. Unlike any ARPG I've ever played, Dungeonland can get really ridiculous. For instance, two enemy spawn machines might be placed right next to each other right near the entrance to a map, creating around 50 enemies right at the start of the level, killing your party almost instantly (that actually happened to me on more than one occasion).

Another common situation involves randomly spawning elites dropping right on top of you. Because of these entropic surprises of doom, you'll want to opt to play with friends, but you can also go at it alone with two other AI partners.

But the main problem with the latter solution is that the game is even more unforgiving once you get past the base difficulty, and at that point,  the AI becomes absolutely useless. Often times, the computer controlled AI will rush to revive you even if it means certain death, and since everyone shares lives, you can fail a map completely through no fault of your own. While it's great that the game actually requires amazing teamwork and human interaction, it's a shame that there couldn't be some form of single-player mode that accounted for people who may not want to play with others.

Instead, you'll want to opt to play online (with drop-in/drop out support) or locally (with full controller support!), which works out great, given the rather bustling community, solid netcode, and the incredibly well implemented couch co-op.

Speaking of co-op, although the game initially features restrictive party options, once you start unlocking things, everyone will look, feel, and play differently -- kind of like Borderlands 2. There are sub-classes, weapon options, perks, full coloring options, and more. Provided you're willing to slog through and grind up coins, you can unlock some really interesting options here.

In a stroke of brilliance, the whole team shares all of the pick-ups, from health to gold to potions. Of course, this works both ways, as everyone in the party will also share lives, and thus, share their failure and the potential curse of the weakest link. So it's really, really important that you either go in with friends that have action RPG experience, or have the propensity to make new friends online because you're not going to get very far with the AI.

So what's the point of the game? Well, to beat everything on the highest "Impossible" difficulty, unlock everything, and keep playing the game. If you're willing to put up with the insane challenge and the grind, you'll find a lot of content to last you at least twenty hours, if not more. Just keep in mind that any failed run will result in a very paltry amount of coins, meaning it could potentially take three to four runs to unlock even the most menial of upgrades.

This is one aspect I didn't really enjoy, as sometimes you just get outright screwed, and it feels like a waste because you barely earned anything for your efforts. While I didn't mind the challenge in the slightest, it would still be nice if it felt like you were making some progression all of the time to keep you motivated.

Once you start to burn out on standard quests, you can opt for the game's Dungeon Maestro mode, which allows you to play the role of the dastardly DM while other unsuspecting players go through your fun house. You can choose before-hand what traps you want to use, and earn new ones with repeated play.

Online with strangers, this isn't really that enjoyable, as part of the fun is screwing over your friends and hearing the reactions for singling out someone in particular. Even then, I didn't find myself getting too attached, as it takes quite a bit of effort to set up each game, and often times, my group just wanted to go back to questing together and earning more character upgrades.

From a visual standpoint, Dungeonland is incredibly bright, with its unique usage of purple pastels in particular, but there's something about the design that doesn't really grab me. I'm not sure if it's the character designs or what, but it never transcended that "new IP" look during my time with it, even if I had a blast playing it. The music is fitting to the game's carnival-esque theme, even if it doesn't transcend into classic territory.

Performance wise, the game can run on just about any rig out there, but even though I far exceeded the recommended requirements, I still ran into a few framerate snags here and there. It's nothing major to worry about for sure, but the game could benefit from a few performance patches. Graphically, the game isn't really demanding, so you should have no issues.

Despite a few issues I have with the game, most notably the idea of grinding a bit too often early on, this game is a steal at $9.99. If you see it on a sale and remotely enjoy ARPGs, you need to pick this up immediately.



Dungeonland - Reviewed by Chris Carter
Charming - Not perfect, but it's easy to ignore the rough spots when faced with so many engaging design decisions and entertaining moments. A memorable game that's hard not to like and recommend to others.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Chris Carter, Reviews Director
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidChris Tips
Chris (Magnalon) has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! -----------... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:

  Nov 12

Dungeonland becomes free to play

Try before you buy this co-op action-RPG

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Thankful it's Over: Bioshock Infinite

Is Toei using Kamen Rider Ghost to address suicide in Japan?

Let's talk about Xenoblade Chronicles

Cblogs of 11/27/15 - Life is Strange, and Sad

Top 5 Reasons Star Wars Battlefront KICKS ASS!

Attack of the Friday Monsters: A Little Slice of Childhood

Top 5 Reasons Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 IS AWESOME!

Cblogs of 11/26/15 + Combat Heropon-isms

Video games go mainstream

I’m Not a SJW, I’m an Anthropologist: Making the Case for Diversity in Games

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Dr Mel avatarDr Mel
I don't think it will happen, but if the NX is turns out to be a VR device, I will be the saddest boy in the milky way.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
There's something so fucking delicious about a toasted Hawaiian roll, smoked ham, Swiss, some spinach and a dollop of mustard. #FatKidPosts
Still in work clothes.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Welp, wrote up a blog for that there bloggers wanted. Its me bitching about Bioshock Infinite! Again! Yay!!!!!!
Sr Churros avatarSr Churros
Just finished watching The Phantom Menace. Yeah, Jar Jar is as bad as people say. Baby Vader is so cute and also kicks some serious ass. One of the best lightsaber battles of the series, if not the best one. It was pretty neat!
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Can't decide where I should upload my latest project. Either on my YouTube Channel or on Game Anyone. On the one hand YouTube gets more exposure, but Game Anyone is where some of my more popular walkthroughs are. The game is 3D Land if anyone is wondering
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Thanksgiving dinner for days!
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Anyone know if the Bethesda games on sale on Amazon for a certain amount of time, or through Monday?
TysonOfTime avatarTysonOfTime
In light of the fact that Xenoblade Chronicles X is fast approaching, I suggest we start planning out a Destructoid Squad! NNID is TysonOfTime. From what I've heard, it doesn't appear Squads are region locked (except for Japan), so everyone's welcome!
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Typing of the Dead > all other typing games.
Lawman avatarLawman
Listening to this on a Tall Oaks level of RE: Revelations 2's Raid Mode is entrancing, for some reason.
EdgyDude avatarEdgyDude
Need a reason to support Indivisible? Shantae is in it!. Back it or spread the word, every bit of help counts.
KeithTheGeek avatarKeithTheGeek
Sometimes I miss how hilariously janky Brawl was, and I still have a lot of fun playing it. Not sure if I could ever take it seriously as a competitive game, but I want to enter at least one Brawl tournament in the future. You know, if I can find one.
KnickKnackMyWack avatarKnickKnackMyWack
I love how on a slow news day I can always turn to Qposts for something else to read and think about. Keep up the mojo fellas!
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
I finally caved in to those sweet deals, got Shantae and The Pirate's Curse, Downwell and Super House of Dead Ninjas :)
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
I hope that Prototype runs better on my dad's old laptop than it does on my AMD gaming rig. Some badly coded games run like ass on AMD cards.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Please spare me from issues in the process of publishing my blog! Especially since I modified CSS to unnecessarily pseudo-crop an image, and make it so some images float next to text, and make it look decent on mobile. I'm a frickin' nerd, love it.
Nathan D avatarNathan D
The night brims with defiled scum, and is permeated by their rotten stench. Just think, now you're all set to hunt and kill to your heart's content! #FashionBorne [img][/img]
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Two more days to get in on the unofficial Christmas Card! [Url][/URL]
Solar Pony Django avatarSolar Pony Django has got a mystery sale on T Shirts and Tank Tops atm, $5 for each. Only catch is they're random. But I've had some good luck, got a Captain Falcon one before, Zombies ate my Neighbors and a Persona 4 X Earthbound crossover.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -