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Dungeonland gives me the vibe as the classic pen-and-paper RPG's that I grew up playing. It certainly shows the developers experienced similar childhoods by the attention to detail in the game itself. 8-sided die and mechanical pencils surround the game's 4 different sections that comprise the game's whimsical theme park and the "Dungeon Maestro" enemy is very similar to that of the "Dungeon Master" role found in games such as Dungoens and Dragons. Much like those games of yore, playing with a party of adventurers makes the experience all the more sweet and enjoyable.
From a presentation perspective Dungeonland could easily go for a Disney animated film. It boasts an exaggerated and charming artstyle with a whimsical atmosphere aided by a renaissance-esque soundtrack. The game makes very good use of the Unity 3D engine, which would otherwise be used for browser based games. Each of the game's sections feature their own enemies, color palettes, and environmental details. Despite the environments being different from an aesthetic standpoint, they didn't feel different which led me to believe that I was going through the same dungeon until a "cannibal monkey" attacked me which eliminated any other section possibility outside of the "Cannibal Kingdom". The game does, however, get hit with framerate stutters when the in-game action get's chaotic. The music is great and features the same charm as the rest of the package. The heroes' commentary is hilarious especially the Mage, and the "Dungeon Maestro" is threatening while also maintaining his charm.
Skill is the name of the game in Dungeonland. Despite having the "best" gear and spells, you still have to be skilled at your class and overall role in the trio to succeed, especially when confronted with a human Dungeon Maestro rather than the A.I. The game is extremely challenging but not unfairly so. It is just very demanding when it comes to your teamwork and the synergy of your abilities, spells, and potions. Learning each enemies' actions, abilities, and how each ability reacts to one another is part of the enjoyment, but you will die when trying to experiment, a lot. But when you overcome the 2 long stages and boss fight, the reward is incredible and it's something that you can share with your teammates that accompanied you.
The game does have some technical difficulties, however, especially when it comes to connectivity. Lag was prevalent in every game I was in. Some were not as bad as others but I have lost connection to a number of games for no obvious reason, and even when I didn't join the game it would inform me of the loss of connection. When a game is mainly multiplayer (though the bots do a great job) the player would assume the online would be stable and when it isn't it can lead to several undeserved deaths and frustration. Paradox has been known for listening to the community and supporting their games, so we can hopefully expect a patch soon to iron out the issues.
The game features an item shop that includes alternate costumes, weapons, abilities, and offensive/defensive perks that can be bought with in-game coins. It doesn't take an incredible amount of playtime to accumulate the coinage for the game-enhancing abilities and perks which is nice as they can alter your playstyle drastically depending upon which ones you take. For example, since I bought the "Shadow Run"- allows me to backstab 5 enemies or so in unison, I bought the "Bloodthirst" perk that gives the party health back when performing a backstab. Each class also features three sub-classes which can also affect your playstyle. Customization seems to be one of the game's pillars and initially it comes off as expansive, but I am concerned for the game's long term depth. Half of the shop items are cosmetic and don't affect the game outside of appearance. The game is at a bargain price point of $10.00 so in the long run I really have no room to complain.
Ultimately Dungeonland is a game where the enjoyment you experience is based almost exclusively on how much time you put into it. Some will be left disappointed in the long term and how Critical Studio will handle that has yet to be seen. The game does feature randomized enemy placements and threats, but without any sort of random incentive like loot, it has nothing to stand on. The game can be an absolute blast, though, and I hope everyone gives it a chance. Plus if you are an RTS enthusiast, the "Dungeon Maestro" mode is fantastic. The game has depth, but it just overstays it's welcome too soon into the experience. The game has lots of heart, but that can't carry an experience no matter how much charm the game expresses. I hope the devs iron out the kinks and hope the game garners enough commercial success that we will see some expansions and extra content that will aid the game in the long run. Till then, "Welcome to the Dungeonland and enjoy your stay".