by Ingvi Snædal
reviewed on PC
This game is hilarious. If you are lucky enough to have three friends who love playing games as much as you do, you won’t find a more thrilling, laugh inducing experience anywhere on the market. When co-op gameplay is concerned, this game is perfection. It took me a while to get a team together to play the game, and as the title suggests, having some experience with tabletop RPGs such as Dungeons and Dragons will make the game more appealing. That is the effect it had on me, at least.
The game is designed for four players but it’s not your run-of-the-mill co-op scenario. Dungeonland takes place in a fictional theme park where you and your friends are pinned against wacky and imaginative creatures with the simple goal of surviving the level. One of your friends, however, will not be playing with you, but will instead take on the role of Dungeon Maestro (DM for those of us familiar with nerdy D&D lingo) and his mission is to stop/piss you off. When you start a game as the DM, you are asked to select cards for your deck. Your deck is made up of seven spells, three monsters, two “specials” or elite monsters, and a boss. In addition to this, you get the option of choosing a trait such as Mana Maniac which gives you one extra mana or “Hordes of Things” which makes regular monster spells summon more than the prescribed amount of monsters. This will affect your over-all performance as DM and help you keep those pesky heroes at bay.
Monsters and spells
The monsters and spells are where the design team’s imaginations have been let loose. Monsters include “Dire Ducks”, which are giant ducks with fangs who sleep all the time. That is, until they are woken up by the heroes, causing them to brutally attack them. They look kind of like Neanderthals, except...they’re ducks. The “Monkey Commander” is another imaginative monster who, as the name suggests, commands other monkeys. According to the game’s description of him, he is fresh from their MBA course in cannon fodder management.
The spells are subdivided into structures, combat spells, tricks, traps, and support. Structures include the “Beer Tower” which shoots beer at the heroes, and the “Resurrection Tower” which resurrects monsters in its vicinity as soon as the heroes are finished with them. Combat spells include “Real Missile” which barrages its target with missiles, and “Polimorph to Sheep” which does exactly what you’d expect it to do; turns the target into a sheep. The tricks are a bit more devious as they are all about ruining the heroes’ day. “False Drop” creates an item which, instead of healing or rejuvenating the hero, blows up in his face, and “Confusion” inverts his or her controls. The traps range from simple mines to “Monster Trap”, which summons all nearby monsters to the player’s position when tripped. Finally, support spells are designed to make life a little bit easier for your monsters. After all, if you didn’t make every effort to create a positive work environment, you’d have the monster unions on your ass in no time. These range from “Healing Area” to “Ninja Monsters” which makes a group of monsters invisible except for when they attack.
In addition to the aforementioned monsters and spells, you will get to choose the boss that the team of heroes will face should they reach the end of the level. At any time, if you have the mana for it, you can possess your monsters and attack the heroes in a more personal way. The monster you possess will have a joker’s hat on when it is possessed, so don’t be surprised if the irate team of heroes chooses to concentrate its efforts on ending your existence. They will try, and they will fail.
Each level is divided into segments and when the heroes progress into the next segment, you are dealt a fresh set of cards. The cards are random and you will undoubtedly run into situations where you are dealt a full hand of tricks and no monsters, or visa versa. The game feels stacked against the heroes, but it focuses heavily on teamplay, so if the heroes work together perfectly, it is nearly impossible for the DM to stop them. If unity is a weakness, however, they don’t stand a chance.
Loads of humour, imaginative monsters and spells, superb co-op gameplay.
Repetitive when played alone, no female characters, controls better with a gamepad.