by Professor Layton
reviewed on NDS
Experimenting with new ideas
When I imported ASH: Archaic Sealed Heat in the midst of the harsh summer heat this year, I was impressed by how great the game was. At the same time, I was sort of disappointed with the approach that the developers took with the game. With only three characters able to be controlled, players were left unmatched when it came to battling monsters. Three characters versus an army of enemies is not really all that fair considering that your opponents are just as strong as you are. Nevertheless, I still had a great time with the game.
Mistwalker’s latest game, Away: Shuffle Dungeon also puts a large amount of emphasis on experimenting with new ideas. Taking advantage of the DS’ unique capabilities, players navigate through a dungeon while running from screen to screen. The catch is, however, a screen may occasionally shuffle its layout. If you are on it, you will go flying into the air and it is game over. Did the developers hit a home run with this new concept or did they fool it up again?
You are Sword, destined to slay monsters and restore peace to the land
Shuffle Dungeon puts players in the shoes of the heroic Sword who’s goal it is to slay monsters and attempt to restore peace to a land that has been invaded by monsters. The only catch with this is that you will be navigating your way through dungeons that shuffle themselves every few seconds. Can you keep up with the clock in this fast-paced action RPG? There is only one way to find out, isn’t there?
The term ‘shuffle dungeon’ could easily be interpreted as dungeons that change each time you enter them, similar to the Mystery Dungeon series. That is not the case with Shuffle Dungeon though. The dungeon actually changes while you are navigating your way through it! The two screens are used as an area that constantly changes every few seconds. To avoid danger, players must run to the opposite screen. So if you are on the top screen and it is about to shuffle, you have to run to the bottom as quickly as possible.
Lost in the incredible maze...
That aspect of the game almost makes Shuffle Dungeon a puzzle game because the dungeons are presented in a maze-like form. Some paths lead to dead-ends whereas others lead to another screen. If by chance you are at a dead-end when the screen starts to shuffle, there is a chance that it will be game over for you. With that in mind, players will need to think before they maneuver. See where I’m coming from now when I said the game is like a puzzle game?
Graphically, Shuffle Dungeon is a good example of a game that looks great in both 2D and 3D but doesn’t push its platform to its limits. The sound is also pretty decent and the addition of some voice acting is definitely a plus.
A rather disappointing game
I’m going to be honest, I had high expectations for Away: Shuffle Dungeon. But when I finally got the chance to sit down and play the game, the end result was a rather disappointing experience. I walked away thinking about how great the game could have been. If you buy this game, expect to be a little disappointed.
No Pros and Cons at this time