Dungeoneers is a dungeon crawler RPG by Monsterious Games. After assembling a party of four warriors, the player ventures into deep dank dungeons to plunder their treasure, battling monsters and leveling up along the way. This is a pretty standard format for a fantasy RPG, from high budget console games like Skyrim all the way back to pen and paper games ala Dungeons and Dragons. In a genre almost defined by its tropes, a game must make effective use of them in order to stand out. Dungeoneers has potential but doesn’t quite satisfy.
The tutorial is quick and fairly straightforward. Character creation is also fast and easy, and there are a variety of fantasy races, genders, and combat classes to choose from. You create characters and assemble your party at the barracks, and new characters can be swapped in and out. With a party of four, you want your two toughest, close-combat fighters up front, and ranged weapons, or healing characters toward the back. I ended up with a Drakan soldier and an Infernal berserker in front, with a Dark Fae ranger and an Etherium priest in b
ack. We left our village behind and set out into the dungeon.
The walls of every randomly generated dungeon are indistinguishable, and the floorplans branch out in different directions full of dead ends. Without the map I would have wandered forever in a hellscape of gray-green bricks and generic music. Thankfully there was a map, and I made my way through the dungeons, collecting giant piles of coins as well as loot from various abandoned, unlocked treasure chests. Every so often my movements through the grid would trigger a random encounter, and I would have to battle a deadly foe. Usually it was a bat or a rat, but eventually we graduated to goblins and spiders. With all of the emphasis on strategy, I expected combat to be more rigorous and engaging. But eventually the fights got pretty tedious.
As your party reaches the end of the dungeon there is an option to venture deeper. Each level has a portal that can take you instantly back to town to rest and store your gold. There’s no guarantee that the next level will have a portal, and if your party is defeated in the dungeon, you lose all of the gold and XP you accumulated. So in addition to battle strategy, there is a small level of risk involved, sort of like dealing in for another hand of poker.
While this game was by no means bad, it was not particularly exciting to play, most notably because there was no story to follow. I have no reason to care whether or not my party makes it through the dungeon, because other than the names you assign to them, they
have no personality. No backstory, no flaws, no stated desires, not even any dialogue. There’s nothing at stake. I don’t need much; it is a role playing game, after all. Just some inciting incident, some vague fetch quest or better yet quests, or incentive beyond piles of gold, some reason why so many people would wordlessly risk life and limb to beat up spiders in the dark. This game leaves me more worried about the unemployment rate in the unnamed village (that has apparently driven everyone to a dangerous and risky profession) than I am about what awaits us at the other end of the map.
The game has potential, but I couldn’t quite like it. Hardcore RPG gamers, willing to overlook an RPG without a story, may find enjoyment in the well-crafted loot and skill systems, as well as the occasional challenging boss battle. The rest of us will likely want to wait for a role playing game where you engage in an actual role. Sort of like the game’s icon on my phone—the generic shield logo is nice enough, but the “s” in Dungeoneers hangs off on a separate line by itself, detracting from what’s good about it. I kill a lot of giant spiders in a fair amount of fantasy RPG’s, but I usually have a reason. As it stands, I don’t have much reason to continue my short-lived stint as a Dungeoneer.
The mechanics are solid, but the game lacks personality.