Game Reviews

Dungeon Souls Review

(Dungeon Souls, Black Shell Media)

Dungeon Souls is a roguelike adventure game that will take you across many procedurally generated levels to test your skills against hordes of enemies, various traps that lay waiting for you, and challenging bosses. Since this is a roguelike game when you die, that’s it. Permadeath will require you to restart, losing all your experience, items, and progress. All it takes to restart is the tap of a key but you’ll be starting completely over and you will not be going back to the level you were just at. With levels being randomly generated, you will constantly be playing fresh and new levels every time. Some things may be familiar but the levels will always be different. If you’re going to survive against the powerful enemies and bosses within this game then you’ll need to explore the levels to find items and money to make yourself more powerful. You’ll also need to kill plenty of enemies if you’re going to level up and increase your stats.

There will be a set number of portals across each level and you’ll need to locate them and activate them to open up the end portal for the end of the level. Once you activate these portals, enemies will spawn and you’ll need to destroy them. Throughout the levels you’ll also stumble across traps that you’ll hopefully avoid. As you’re hit with spikes, arrows, and giant boulders, you’ll end up taking damage which will make it even harder to survive against the hordes of enemies that you’ll need to battle once you reach the different portals. The boulders will actually kill you in one hit normally so you’ll definitely want to make sure that you avoid them at all costs. Otherwise all that hard work across however many levels you’ve completed will be for nothing.

Dungeon Souls, Black Shell Media

Dungeon Souls, Black Shell Media

There are many other characters that you can unlock but at the start of Dungeon Souls there are only three characters to choose from. The barbarian will have higher melee damage and a bit more health, the archer specializes in ranged weaponry and the thief will of course, have less health but other tricks up their sleeves. I personally chose the barbarian because I love running around the level and smashing everything in my path. As you complete objectives or find special items in the levels, you’ll end up unlocking more of the ten available characters. There are plenty of items to find in the levels too, including some that you can purchase from shop keepers. Once you buy an item from a shop keeper, they’ll disappear so you’ll want to make sure you read the item description carefully and choose wisely.

Once you activate all the portals in a level, the end portal will activate allowing you to exit and go to the next level. However there’s a catch; once you activate this end portal, the redeemer will show up within a few seconds and he’s extremely powerful so you’ll more than likely die. Make sure you explore all of the level first because you’re going to need all the items, gold, and experience points you can get. This game can get pretty difficult as you progress. There are also some spikes in difficulty here and there that can easily overwhelm you so you’ll want to become as powerful as you can as early on as possible.

The difficulty of Dungeon Souls isn’t too bad but this is definitely a game where you’ll need to be mindful of your surroundings. It can be really easy to get overwhelmed by enemies on all sides of you and the traps scattered throughout the levels can really do a number on your health. Potions are located in some treasure chests and they’ll also drop from enemies sometimes but still want to be careful because you may end up needing a few in a pinch. I tried to save my potions for boss fights because those could be especially brutal in difficulty. There are some really tough bosses in this game and remember, once you die it’s game over.

There’s no save function in this game which makes for more intense and unique play sessions. The downside though is life can happen and you may need to quit prematurely. I understand permadeath being included as its a large part of the game’s design and difficulty but I really wish there was at least some sort of save function. It’s too bad that once you quit, your progress is gone too. There are plenty of times where I need to quit a game because of something unexpected coming up and I don’t think I should be penalized for this. If anything, it’ll make me less likely to play the game because I’d hate to lose a bunch of progress over something that has nothing to do with the game. It’ll be easy to talk yourself out of playing this game if you’re not sure how much time you’ll have to play the game. This is a shame because this is a fun game that you’ll find yourself wanting to play but without the save function, you might not want to play in short bursts or at times when you don’t know how much time you even have to play.

Dungeon Souls, Black Shell Media

Dungeon Souls, Black Shell Media

The music is fun for this game. I found myself playing with the music turned up to match the sound effects because it was not only catchy but also immersive and helped strengthen the game’s mood and tone. The sound effects are satisfying as well. Weapon hits and magic both sound great and make it that much more fun to slay enemies.

The replay value is extremely high on this game with its random level creation. Levels would sometimes feel familiar but more often than not, they’d feel completely new and different. Dying wasn’t so much a death but a rebirth and a chance to start over in a different environment.

Dungeon Souls controls very well. You can play with either a keyboard and mouse or a controller. Either way, I didn’t experience any issues. I normally lean towards a controller in non-first person games but I gravitated more towards the keyboard and mouse with this game. It just felt so right and it also felt very responsive. I felt like I could react very quickly and it made the game more enjoyable as a result. You’ll end up in some spots where you’ll need to fight a large amount of enemies or dodge obstacles or traps quickly and being able to glide across the keyboard to attack, dodge, heal and attack again certainly makes the game feel like an extension of yourself.

Dungeon Souls, Black Shell Media

Dungeon Souls, Black Shell Media

Dungeon Souls is a good game but there are some bugs in it, like characters not unlocking when the specific item is found or the needed action is performed. I also had issues with the game not closing correctly when I tried to exit the game. There were many times I needed to hit Crtl+Alt+Del to close it fully because it’d still be active in the background but not visible on the taskbar. The difficulty can be a bit harsh at times but it’s hard to fault it for that because that’s a part of its design. There weren’t really any deaths that felt unfair to me but it can be a very hard game. One of my favorite features is the local co-op. It’s a lot of fun playing with a friend or spouse while you both run around smashing enemies and collecting loot. Even when you die a lot it’s still a lot of fun to just jump back in and see how far you can get.

A review copy was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.


I enjoyed my time with Dungeon Souls despite having a few issues with it. I’m pretty busy and am normally playing plenty of games for both work and leisure so I really do wish there was a way to save my progress when I need to stop playing but it’s certainly not a deal breaker. The replay value and levels constantly feeling new and unique will certainly keep this in my game queue for quite some time. Have you played Dungeon Souls? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments, or by reaching out to us on Twitter at @BagoGames!

Dungeon Souls

Dungeon Souls
6

Score

6/10

    Pros

    • Fast paced gameplay that keeps you moving constantly
    • Retro inspired graphics will tug at your nostalgia
    • Local Co-Op adds to the fun
    • Procedurally generated levels keep things feeling new and interesting
    • Combat is both difficult and fun

    Cons

    • No save feature for when you need to stop playing
    • Some bugs will cause issues with unlocks and shutting the game down

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