Ratalaika is tenacious, I will give them that. One of the most stubborn and potent publishers on the Switch in terms of indies, we’ve seen everything from enjoyable, engaging mobile ports to incredibly boring and simple mobile ports. There’s nothing wrong with porting mobile games to the Switch, I’m just saying Ratalaika has a preference and I support it. But now we start to get into a bit of a titchy territory with the release of One More Dungeon, if only because it really caters to a very specific fan base.
One More Dungeon is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler that is first person in perspective and Minecraft-sized in pixels Your objective each floor is to get to where the dungeon boss is (one giant monster) and then slaying it to grab the seal that unlocks the exit to the next floor. Continue slaughtering snails and rats until you find the next boss, and just keep pushing forward till you die. I actually don’t know if there’s a bottom to the game, but the title suggests that there’s just an addiction factor that pushes you forward. Please keep in mind, I’m not criticizing this approach: being addicted to games is what makes life so fantastic
It really cannot be stressed enough how much you need to be ok with big pixels and the associated appearance of another, more popular crafting game that’s already come out on the Switch. Like, I’m serious, it looks like the game was designed specifically with the big ass blocks of Minecraft in mind, and that never sits well with me. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but there was a period of time where everyone was making these cheap, simple games that only appealed to players because they looked like Minecraft, and that is such a dishonest and cheap way to grab attention. Thankfully, it totally works for One More Dungeon: the first person crawl is something that predates the idea of dedicated graphics cards, so, in spite of the blockiness, I didn’t hate how the game appeared.
Players are going to dive into dungeons that straight up may not make sense at times. Roguelike generation is a fantastic thing when it can be reigned in and constrained to certain expectations. There is nothing that’s as satisfying as opening a door and finding a treasure chest with a new weapon and then some quick and easy enemies to kill for points, that’s the wonderful part. But there were several, several times when I went far out of the way of the main map only to find almost nothing. Maybe an occasional enemy to fight, but there were literal dead ends that came as a result of opening doors and questing far and wide. I realize that this may emulate the true nature of “randomly generated” in that was far from gamebreaking but it was still incredibly annoying. Why on earth do I want to spend time in a game going somewhere that leads to nothing? A little too close to real life, if you ask me.
However, when the generation works well, One More Dungeon lives up to its name with a lot to hook you and keep moving forward. Weapon drops aren’t frequent by any means but everything you find is a huge upgrade from your starting knife. Magic is also rare, but getting a spell attached to your stave is a gamechanger and allows for significant range damage. Most enemies attack fairly slowly in comparison to your DPS, so being able to spam the shoulder buttons and get the drop usually means escaping a battle with minimal (if any) damage. And the enemies do get quite a bit harder the farther you drop down, so there’s some difficulty curve that keeps things from stagnating.
In addition, the unlockable elements that come from “purchase” after dying are pretty interesting and add good variables. One of the first (and cheapest) is a toggle to give enemies half the usual life they have, and this could not be more important in terms of wanting to grind and unlock everything else. Once this change is in place, players will have little to no difficulty hacking through the waves of enemies and getting much, much deeper, seeing some very interesting takes on classic D&D monsters done up in mega pixel style. Also, since this was previously a mobile title but Ratalaika is pretty determined not to add IAP (thanks guys!), you get the full experience of One More Dungeon without the constant, looming urge to simply drop a couple bucks and unlock more.
I can’t totally say that One More Dungeon has the place on my Switch that it desires: I’ve already got some great dungeon crawlers, and the Minecraft art style has never really been my thing. But, for fans of the design who really want to try something new, this game does a solid job of working with depth of field and some good control layout to make it an overall favorable play. Just don’t come crying to me when you run down your fifteenth dead end and you want to toss your Switch.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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