I’m going to start out by saying that I really dislike Wil Wheaton. Why? Because he blogged about Dungeon Raid, a $2.99 iOS app that has taken over my Friday morning… and likely many snippets of my Friday afternoon.
Dungeon Raid is addictive. It’s got monsters and gold and potions and armor. It’s got leveling. It’s got special treasures to buy to increase your shield strength and hit points. It’s got special classes with unique abilities and special monsters with their own devious tricks to play. And while there are plenty of similar games out there (and I’ve played quite a few), I just like the simplicity of this little app.
There’s not a lot of rules to deal with, either. You’re basically using the touchscreen to connect three or more similar items. Bonuses are added if you get multiples of the same item (such as dragging over 8 gold coins or multiple swords before hitting an enemy). You can drag up, down, left, right, and diagonally. As with games like Tetris, Peggle, and other “grouping” games, you’ll start planning in advance and watching for opportunities to carefully and strategically remove certain items to increase the number of another item that are bunched together.
Collect enough gold, XP, or defense/upgrade points and you can purchase more powerful armor and weapons as well as spells that have their own benefits and cool down periods.
The special monsters are a bit devious at times, so you’re encouraged to tap on them when they first appear to make certain you know their strengths and weaknesses. I glossed over one particular baddie’s description too quickly and didn’t realize that after killing it I had to be able to select at least 3 gold coins followed by the baddie’s icon to totally remove him. He resurrected and wiped me out in less than four turns.
Although the rules are simple, you’ve still got a lot of things to track — you’ll need to keep your eyes on your health, your armor, and your base damage. You can’t upgrade them all at once, so you’ve got to try to quickly figure out your weakness when you’ve filled up with gold and are offered a small selection of upgrades. Do you go for the extra HP or buy that armor buff? And don’t forget your stats! Increasing your DEX or CHA doesn’t seem like a good deal (at first) when you’ve got all these spells and armor and weapons being offered instead, so pay attention to the % increases they offer to your treasure and skill bonuses.
Dungeon Raid is designed for the iPhone or iTouch — this means that on the iPad you’ll have to use the 2x button to increase it to full screen. (The graphics are simple enough that they don’t lose anything on the iPad when you increase the size.)
Don’t look for a back story or any kind of cutting edge animation; the game is fast-paced and addictive and is perfect for dentist office waiting rooms, oil changes, and DMV visits. It’s got just enough rewards to keep you coming back and trying for higher levels, more advanced classes, and more loot. As someone who has tired of Angry Birds, Dungeon Raid is the perfect diversion for me… at least until the next distraction-app comes along.