I don’t really know the last time I paid for an iPhone game (or downloaded one, really). Most of my iPhone leisure time these days is either spent reading or watching movies — gaming is why I have a computer. But I got intrigued by a little puzzle/RPG title I’d heard great things about called Dungeon Raid and downloaded it yesterday.
Seriously, I’m glad I did. While simple at first glance, DR hits all the right spots and becomes an incredibly addicting game.
Basically it falls under the “Touch 3” genre of puzzle games, where you have to connect three or more identical icons to make them disappear. Easy enough, but the theme of the game is that you’re battling your way through a dungeon and these icons are an abstract representation of your journey.
Coins add to your treasure pile — get enough and you can buy a new piece of gear with better stats (you have a whole stat screen with what you’re wearing and what you can do). Shields add to your armor (and represent your first line of defense against attacks), and any shields you collect over your armor limit go toward an upgrade bar. Health potions simply restore your health (your second line of defense) — if your health goes to zero, you lose the game.
Skulls represent enemies, each with an attack, defense and health rating. Each turn a skull is on the board, it attacks you, so it’s in your best interest to kill them as soon as possible. You can do this by connecting any combination of skulls and swords (the swords add to your attack bonus). Every skull killed adds to your XP bar, and when you level up you get new or improved abilities (which go on your hotbar overhead and have a lengthy cooldown when used). After a while, special skulls emerge with unique abilities (such as setting icons on fire, which hurt you if you use them), and those are far more dangerous.
That’s pretty much it, but the combination is so perfect that every turn represents a multitude of decisions. Do I go for the gold? Do I grab shields and boost up my armor? Do I want to go on an all-out attack or just soak up the damage? Do I used my special abilities now or later?
There’s also a lot of strategy on the board itself, because you want as many similarly-themed icons to touch, especially swords and skulls. It’s frustrating to see a lonesome skull attacking you with impunity when you can’t do anything about it.
Anyway, it’s $2.99 and most definitely worth the purchase. I spent an hour and a half last night engrossed in just one game, and it seems to be the perfect pick-up-and-put-down title (it automatically saves your progress, so you can quit any time without worry). Thought I’d pass this along as a recommendation to youse.