For the King!
Devious Dungeon is an action platformer disguised as a roguelike disguised as a coin collecting game. The story is that portals have been found under the King’s castle and you have to clear them of the monsters that reside there. I got that from the games description; this is never actually said in game. Instead, you start off standing in front of the King whose Jester isn’t doing very well to entertain him and a portal to the right you need to go into.
There are over 66 levels in the game and once you’ve seen one, unfortunately you’ve seen them all. In roguelike fashion the levels are constantly a different structure however, the differences are few and far between. As for looks every now and then it looks mossy or icy. That’s it.
Although the layouts change it’s always a case of climb up for the key go low for the next portal or vice versa. The torches that sit within the level are the same, crates the same, spikes the same and to an extent the enemies are the same. The music that is very much the same. It has the one short track which repeats itself. Unfortunately you can hear the moment the track is looped you can almost mentally hear the scratch of a vinyl as it repeats. After 10 or so levels I put my own music on, overall the whole game blends into one long level.
I personally found the controls to be counter intuitive. While the only actions you can perform are attack, jump and move, I found myself hitting attack to jump and vice versa, especially when I come back to the game after a break. I’d go to jump off a ledge and instead swing my sword as I fall down a couple of levels. You take no damage from falling and just from spikes which can be randomly littered around your levels.
The Experience Game
Devious Dungeon is a long slog. I love games like Final Fantasy which require you to grind at certain points to defeat monsters in a new area, however as you move up levels in Devious Dungeon the experience pretty much stays the same.
There are hidden areas where you find books which give you substantial experience but enemies give next to nothing. Recovery items are few and far between and no matter how far you venture in the game you may only find a potion once every 4 or so levels. They only cure 5 HP but by the time you male it past level 30 enemy attacks can knock off 6 HP so potions become almost pointless
Money, Money, Money
I found this game to be focused on the coin collecting more than even fighting or gaining experience. Crates and lights can be beaten up to get coins which are the most annoying coins I’ve ever encountered in a video game. Rather than just sit in place of the crate you just smashed they go flying off in every direction, often down levels you’ve just climbed up and onto the pit of spikes. I actually believe this was added just to pad out the games levels a bit. You get to a point where there’s 10 coins sitting on spikes and you wonder whether to sacrifice the health for them, the answer is always yes.
I often found myself getting more coins than exp every level, you can buy newer and more powerful weapons and armour as well as crowns, rings and pendants which can increase your base stamina, dexterity and HP. These are always set and never a choice. It’s just a case of moving up the list one at a time until you can afford the next.
Unlike the Switch itself, Devious Dungeon has in game achievements, trophies in a sense which are granted on certain conditions like completing 1000 levels. Goals are also set such as killing three of a certain enemy which reward even more money.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review code for Devious Dungeon was provided by Ratalaika Games.