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For: iPhone
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Product: Dungeonism | Publisher: Jeffrey Fal | Format: iPhone | Genre: RPG | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Dungeonism iPhone, thumbnail 1
Roguelikes - games that ape the core gameplay of the 1980 title Rogue - are characterised by random levels, turn-based combat, and permanent death, which means you effectively have to start over completely when you fail.

Dungeonism is an attempt to make this often hostile genre a little more welcoming to casual players. It's a roguelike in that it features levels which are generated randomly, with item and enemy placement being different each time you play. But it dispenses with permadeath, allowing you to retain stats to make further playthroughs that little bit easier to stomach.

Everything here is streamlined. Movement is as simple as tapping where you want your character to go, combat requires just a single touch, and when the game does throw in unique elements - such as moveable blocks or destructible obstacles - a single stab from your digit is usually all that's needed to keep things rolling.

Random factor

Your basic objective is to get from one end of the dungeon to the other with your health intact, and battling monsters is your prime concern during each trip. Rushing at them head-on will give them the chance to defend against your assault, so outflanking them - or attacking with your bow and arrow - is highly recommended.

Enemies can be pushed backwards into walls and other foes for additional damage, and when the tide is turning against you, you can tap your character to adopt a ready stance - which not only provides additional defence but also allows you to regain some stamina.

Items such as potions and magical spells litter each level, and you have to use these wisely as you can only carry so many at once. Gold coins are also up for grabs, and can be used in-between stages to purchase new items to aid your quest.

Turn-based tactics

Dungeonism's retro-style visuals are sparse, but in an aesthetically pleasing way. Despite the lack of detail, it's clear that a lot of thought has gone into the way this game looks.

The interface also boasts a clean appearance, and has been designed deliberately to be playable with just one hand - ideal for casual gamers who like to indulge in a spot of light entertainment on the bus journey to work.

Like so many games of this type, the randomly generated levels are a double-edged sword. While they keep the experience fresh, they also - somewhat ironically - make the game slightly repetitive.

Without the hand of a living, breathing level designer behind them, stages tend to feel like they've been thrown together and their inhabitants scattered without any real thought or care.

Seasoned roguelike veterans may turn their noses up at the lack of permadeath and the concessions to newcomers, but Dungeonism is a well-made and highly enjoyable take on the genre, and serves as the perfect entry point for fresh adventurers.
Reviewer photo
Damien McFerran | 23 July 2013
It can become repetitive and roguelike fans may find it too easy going, but Dungeonism is a refreshingly accessible take on a familiar genre
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