August 20, 2017


Tags: A Gamedev Plays

This post is from the now defunct website “A GameDev Plays…”, copied here for posterity

What is a more natural fit than a cross between Tetris and a dungeon crawler? Err, everything probably. However, Dungetris shows the concept can work… up to a point. This game is a good start, but lacks polish, leaving the player badly exposed to the random number generator.

In Dungetris the player explores a castle in traditional rogue-like style. The originality comes from how that castle is constructed. It is built up from room blocks dropping down onto the current setup. These randomly selected blocks can be repositioned (but not rotated) by the player before dropping. Once dropped they become part of the structure. Sometimes they block paths through to other rooms, or sometimes open up previously blocked paths. Each new block may contain monsters or treasure or other things and you can see these before deciding where to place it. I love the ingenuity of this game mechanic, and it is the best part of the game.

The problem is that the game is extremely random. The castle layout rapidly becomes a mess, and the mission goals often require luck that certain blocks or items drop. Early levels last about 5 minutes, but a later mission keep going for over 40 minutes without a single one of the required 15 specific monsters dropping - very annoying! A nice (and surprising) idea, let down by huge over reliance on the random number generator. In the end I just gave up after deciding it was more a game of luck, than skill.

Dungetris is US$14.99 on the Steam store for PC only.