Blue (Haired) Arrow
Is it just me, or does it seem like there are a lot of mobile games about archery? I swear there’s a new one every time I open Google Play. Adding to the list is Dungeon & Hunter: Legendary Archer Pixel Idle RPG. This descriptively named game comes to us from developer Teemo Soft. It’s no surprise they mentioned the archery gimmick in the title. It’s the one noteworthy feature of this otherwise paint by numbers idler.
In Dungeon & Hunter players take the role of a lone archer fighting their way through an endless wave after wave of increasingly difficult enemies. The game never told me why he’s doing this, but I‘m sure there’s a good reason. The game has two primary modes, Stages and Adventure. The former is the idle mode that the game defaults to when you’re not doing anything else. Adventure meanwhile sees your character fighting their way across a large, monster-infested island.
The island is divided into nine regions broken into various stages. Progression is not strictly linear, as some areas network out to other stages. For example, the first region, Ominous Forest, links to both the Burning Ground and Canyon of the Dead. However, it’s a false choice as one path will always be significantly higher level than the other. In fact, enemies in this mode are substantially more difficult than anywhere else in the game, to a frankly absurd degree. It’s pretty jarring to go from defeating giant golems in the Stages to getting slaughtered by a magic carrot in Adventure mode.
Knock… Draw… Snore
Not that the game gives you any meaningful incentive to participate in Adventure mode. Dungeon & Hunter lacks a story or even a clear goal. As a result, I found myself struggling to care about progressing to the next level. Adventure mode’s main benefit is that the more stages you clear, the more AFK rewards you get. But it takes so long to make any real progress that it becomes even more of a chore than the rest of the game. The only way to make meaningful progress is by spending real money on better items.
And it’s not like Dungeon & Hunter has super compelling gameplay. Enemies don’t attack the player or do anything else, for that matter. Instead, it’s a race to clear each stage before time runs out. Your character has a standard bow attack and four special abilities. Wind Spirit’s Blessing increases attack speed for a short duration, while Death Madness and The Power of the Golden King respectively increase damage and gold dropped by enemies. The fourth ability, Blow Shot, fires all equipped arrows at once. They’re useful at clearing difficult stages, but since enemies just stand there, it’s not like timing your attacks is important.
Different arrows have different elemental effects, which theoretically makes them better against specific enemies. However, the additional damage is too insignificant to get excited about. The same is true about most pets and items. Each upgrade is just too incremental to feel like it makes a real difference. Stats are the only thing that felt like they had any meaningful effect on my success or failure. You can upgrade with gold and gems and clicking the buttons to do so is most of what the player does in the game.
An Empty Experience
And that says a lot right there. A good idle game might, I’d imagine, provide actual combat mechanics. It might ask you to strategize or manage stats and party members. Dungeon & Hunter lets you press a button to make a number bigger. A good idle game might also try to invest you in its world or characters. At the very least, it might try to give you something interesting to look at during battle. Dungeon & Hunter gives you a sequence of boring fights against enemies that might as well be the same three guys for all the difference it seems to make.
I could go on about the generic backgrounds, low effort pixel art, palette-swapped enemies and terrible item drops. But that’s all just flavorless, beige icing on a cardboard cake. There wasn’t a single minute I spent playing Dungeon & Hunter that didn’t feel like a waste of my time. There are plenty of better games out there, so don’t let it waste any of yours.
Is it Hardcore?
Dungeon & Hunter is a dull, repetitive slog with no story, characters, or exciting gameplay to speak of.