What is an RPG, Really?
AFK Dungeon: Idle Action RPG by CookApps is not a roleplaying game. There is no story, no NPCs and no dialogue. You do not interact with anyone or anything, nor do you travel to exotic and distant locales. You can’t even customize your character. In short, there is no roleplaying. Truth be told, it’s barely a game.
First, a few positive words: The graphics, which are done in a cartoonish style, look good. The music and sound effects are also fine.
To continue, you do one thing in AFK Dungeon: Idle Action RPG: you fight. The game is played in stages, with 30 levels to each stage. The monsters you fight are identical on every level of a given stage. The levels look identical as well. You start by fighting hordes of regular monsters, and then finish each level with a boss fight. Monsters you fight include mushrooms(!), spiders, hermit crabs, serpents and bats.
Now, although I said you fight monsters, it’s more accurate to say that you watch yourself fight. You do not in any way control your character. Instead, you watch as he runs around slaughtering opponents. You don’t have to worry about your motivation or a plot. You have quests, but you don’t have to put any effort into completing them. The game does it all for you. You don’t even need to pay attention. If you let the game run, it will eventually go into sleep mode, where it will continue to play. This is useful if you need to do the laundry, wash the dishes or file your taxes.
The Real Game
Although you don’t have to do anything in the game, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. Most of the gameplay in AFK Dungeon: Idle Action RPG involves managing your character and his gear. Whenever you gain a level, you gain a Mastery point, which you use to improve your character. The Masteries do things like increase your strength or your mana. Somewhat confusingly, in addition to levelling up, there’s also an icon named “level up.” Touch that icon, and you can spend gold to improve your attack, defense and other stats. You also have skills, which are basically special attacks, that can be upgraded. Finally, all your equipment can be levelled up or refined. The latter changes the stats on your equipment at random.
AFK Dungeon: Idle Action RPG is generous in giving out rewards. As you’d expect from an idle game, you get gold every time you log in. The longer you wait between log-ins, the more gold you receive. Additionally, you’ll occasionally be offered the opportunity to watch an ad to get more gold. You also get rewards from completing quests and achieving goals. These include things like clearing a stage, collecting equipment and levelling up. The game includes three additional side dungeons that specifically award experience, equipment and gold. AFK Dungeon: Idle Action RPG includes a store where players can spend real money as well. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to though.
Riding the Hamster Wheel
All of these upgrades and rewards serve to carry you farther into the game. The problem is that this just means more of the same. Your only real goal is just to keep going in a game that plays itself. The only thing you really do in the game is improve your character. I just don’t see the point.
Is It Hardcore?
AFK Dungeon: Idle Action RPG boils down roleplaying games to their most basic elements: fighting, looting and leveling. It’s an action game in which you control none of the action. Gameplay is reduced to upgrading your character, so you can continue to the next level. This does not make for a good time.