Puberty Isn’t Hard Enough So They Added Monsters
In this pixilated turn based card collection RPG, Tiny Decks and Dungeons, you enter into the life of Hiro. Hiro is your average boy; he lives in the middle of a forest surrounded by a post office and a mysterious logger that seems to live in the trees. They are the only ones brave enough to live in the shadows of the epic dungeons just upstream.
Hiro must defeat the overrun, monstrous dungeons. He must complete each level of each dungeon one by one. As he progresses through the dungeons the monsters become more powerful and threaten to defeat him.
The fun pixilated art and challenging strategic elements definitely make this game hardcore, but it is not as hardcore as it could be. It takes Hiro the longest time to progress through each dungeon (and that progress is hard to measure), making some aspects of the gameplay frustrating and even tedious at times.
Hiro the Hero
Once Hiro enters the dungeon, he and the monsters engage in a dance of sorts as they each take turns to move around the dungeon and attack each other. You have a minimum of twelve cards in your deck and have four at a time to choose from while in the dungeons. Once you use a card it goes back in the deck and another takes its place. To complete a level of a dungeon you need to defeat all the monsters present. It is unclear how many levels are in each dungeon, so it is difficult to track progress. I often found myself wondering if I was succeeding or failing as my impatience rose to the surface.
Tiny Decks and Dungeons takes not just pure strength, but strategy too. You have to choose what you do on your turn carefully because each move depletes your energy bar. If you run out of energy you pass out and are kicked out of the dungeon. Each weapon functions a little bit differently. You must think carefully about which will be most efficient and effective. There is also the conventional health bar to look out for. Receiving too much damage from the monsters will result in you being thrown out.
You’re Embarrassing Me Mom
It is dangerous in the dungeons and if you fail too many times your mother shows up. She can’t help but worry about her young boy all alone in the dungeons. I bet if it were up to her, she would go in and fight those monsters herself. Unable to, she gives you critical advice instead. In order to get stronger and more powerful you need to do three things: 1) fuse your weapons and other items to level them up (by combining your cards together), 2) get more weapon and item cards from the store in order to level them up, and 3) catch and breed monsters. These reminders were helpful in the beginning but I quickly became annoyed. However, isn’t that how all mother’s advice is?
Your Very Own Monster Farm
When you are not fighting for your life in the dungeons, you are back at your cottage preparing for war by following your mother’s instructions. Keeping her advice in mind, you do not need to kill every monster you encounter. If you play it right, you just might be able to catch some.
Remember the logger? You can pay him to build monster pens for you. You will be employing him a lot because the different species of monsters do not get along very well and need to be separated. In fact, you can’t even put monsters of the same kind into a pen together. Now you have to store the monster in your basement. This would be great except that it cost 25 diamonds. And guess what, the player has a hard time obtaining these diamonds. Many times I had to bid farewell to my monsters because I could not afford them. I never saw them again.
However, once you have caught, stored, and gained a monster’s trust it will follow you into battle. Your pet monster can be one of your strongest weapons, I mean, who knows more about the weaknesses of the monsters but a monster itself? This also comes in handy when you are strategizing about how to defeat all your foes while not running out of energy. When your pet monster is next to an enemy monster it will attack at the end of your turn without being asked, therefore taking no energy from your supply. It is fun to see how you can best use your loyal pet as you forge through the dungeons.
The Goldilocks of Ads
There is a balance and an art in how ads are placed in free games and Tiny Decks and Dungeons got it just right. This game allows you to focus on the fun gameplay with opt in ads. This creates a more relaxing gaming experience. You may view an ad to get a free set of cards from the shop, obtain one resurrection each play cycle, double treasure gained at the end of each level, and to shuffle cards once per play cycle. There are also options to purchase a premium version where there are no ads. Other in-app purchases are available as well (e.g. you can use your real money to purchase game money).
Dynamic and Fun Sized
Tiny Decks and Dungeons provides an enjoyable game that is appropriate for all ages. The game developers thoughtfully designed each level so the levels advance their difficulty level at a consistent pace. You will not be able to play this game in one sitting; this is a game that has been designed to be played over time, maybe too long of a time.
Overall, Tiny Decks and Dungeons’ substance does not jibe with its breadth. However, the strategic game play combined with the fun pixilated animations and loyal monster sidekicks made our time playing as Hiro the Hero feel like a real adventure quest.
Tiny Decks and Dungeons creates a challenge for the player and forces them to flex those strategizing muscles. The pixelated art and design gives the game a nostalgic and whimsical feel that only grows as you domesticate your own army of monsters. The fact that they make it so difficult to store captured monsters in addition to how long it takes players to complete each dungeon detracts from an otherwise excellent game. That said, as a free game with well-placed opt in ads, you should definitely check it out if you are looking for a challenging yet relaxing experience.