Dungeon Souls, an indie game developed by Lamina Studios and published Black Shell Media, is a game that you might go into with adorable naïvety. The mechanics are simple enough, but don’t let that fool you.
Upon entering my first dungeon, I could easily dispatch the enemies.
“Hey, this seems simple enough,” I thought to myself.
“Hold my beer,” said the game developers.
Wandering into a seemingly harmless room, stepped on my first mark and got spanked by a spawning horde of enemies. That’s when I learned that marks are pretty important when wanting to advance through a dungeon. Oh, and they spawn a ton of enemies once activated.
Dungeon Souls is not a game to take lightly, especially if you’re a newcomer such as myself. You’re going to have some rough experiences when you start. However bad that may sound, rest assured, it’s not. I don’t normally engage in rogue-like games, like, at all. So as a newcomer, this game serves as a fun and effective way to usher people into this genre.
There is a total of 10 classes to choose from. Three of these classes, the barbarian, archer and thief, are available right away to help find your preferred play style. The barbarian is a tank-like character with a large health bar. The archer uses ranged attacks and has a low health bar, and the thief, while similar to the archer, is much quicker but less accurate. After experimenting and exclaiming “that’s a load of bull” to the monitor a couple of times, I found that the archer was my preferred character of the three starters. To advance from level-to-level, you have to activate a set number of marks and reach the portal to the next section. Once all the marks are active, I would recommend that you run straight for the exit unless you want to take on the Redeemer. Which you shouldn’t try. Trust me.
The enemy AI is the crux of this game’s difficulty. There are ghosts that will try to ambush you from behind, minotaurs with a heavy hand, enemy archers, sword-wielding baddies and much more. When these enemies are in one room, you have to think and move fast. If you don’t, it’s easy to get overwhelmed at first. Once you get the hang of the enemies and their move sets, victory becomes more frequent and makes you want more.
As a whole, the gameplay is solid and moves smoothly. As I progressed I was able to get a better grip on exactly what I was doing. I managed to develop effective tactics and make quick but informed decisions on which power-ups to buy from the shops and how to engage a room full of foes. The controls are easy to use if you’re using a keyboard and mouse. It felt awkward to play Dungeon Souls on a Dualshock 4. I was only able to use one of my three abilities and one of my potion slots while using the gamepad.
In terms of graphics, Dungeon Souls is simple, going with a pixellated style for their game. The pixellated art style fits the theme and adds to the arcade-style feel you have while playing. I’ve seen complaints on message boards about glitches and other bugs, but I have yet to experience any myself.
All in all, Dungeon Souls, while fun and sometimes addictive, isn’t memorable. It’s an entertaining way to spend a rainy afternoon or to help relieve a bit of stress. Was I not writing a review on it, I would probably forget it existed fairly quickly only to stumble across it while thinking “I remember this game!” After playing it again it would become a rinse and repeat process of play and forget. While this game has its issues, they can be easily overlooked.
If you want a fun way to pass time, I highly recommend this title.