If you pride yourself on appreciating quality gameplay above lackluster aesthetics, then have I got a game for you: Dream Quest.
I was fishing around for a new game to play on my iPad and saw that a bunch of folks over on the Touch Arcade forums were chatting this title up something fierce. Almost to a T, all of them said the same thing: If you can get past the looks, this is an incredibly addictive roguelike.
I’ll say the same. It’s certainly no looker, although one could argue that its stick-figure crudeness might be part of its charm. But the core gameplay is really interesting.
You start out by picking one of four classes to explore a dungeon, tile by tile. There are enemies, there are buffs, and there are little houses that offer up encounters and shops. You try to survive as long as possible, hopefully beat the boss, and progress to the next level.
The combat system is a rudimentary card battle system, where you draw a few cards from your deck and play them to your advantage. This is where all of the classes really feel different: the Wizard uses more mana cards and spells, the Thief is big on chain attacks, and so on. Combat goes pretty fast, especially since you have a “play all” button to facilitate your attacks.
So far, it sounds pretty boring and traditional, but here is where Dream Quest starts to get different. First, you have to know that there’s no way for you to beat the first level when you’re starting out. You have a weak deck, you have low HP, and you’re going to get creamed. So the point isn’t to win, but to strengthen your character as much as possible during that run and then to fill out achievements that give you lasting bonuses for future runs. For example, after your first death, you get an achievement that awards you a choice of a starting talent for every new run. After a few games, I got achievements that boosted my starting health, gave me a bit of gold at the beginning, etc.
Eventually you’ll be unlocking achievements that give you new classes, more cards, card upgrades, and all sorts of crude art wonders that should provide a fighting chance to make it further and further through the dungeon. That, on top of the increasing number of options that the card battles present, offer an evolving game.
Anyway, it was $3 and I felt it was well-spent and wanted to share it with y’all. I had a half-hour this morning to play a game, and instead of logging onto an MMO, I chose Dream Quest. I imagine that says something.