iPhone Life magazine

App-A-Day Project: Ultimate Dungeon

Due to real life setting in, the developer has put the App-A-Day project on temporary hiatus.  I think this is a good thing, as it will hopefully give him time to reconsider where he's really going with this.  Maybe you'll agree with me after reading my review of his latest effort, Ultimate Dungeon.

I like role playing games, and I'm pretty flexible when it comes to different methods of navigation, combat, or what have you.  In fact, it's nice when developers change things up, because then we don't feel like we're playing the same game over and over again.  Unfortunately, Ultimate Dungeon takes anything away from the experience of this actually being a game.  The upper part of the screen is your statistics area.  You have standard RPG elements including level, experience, weapon, armor, attack, defense and HP.  Seems reasonable enough so far.

The bottom portion of the screen is your interaction with the game world.  In this section all you do is tap.  "But that's what I do with all touch screen games!"  True, but literally all you do is tap.  It doesn't matter where you tap on the bottom portion of the screen, it will always produce the same effect.  Well, I take that back.  If you really wanted to you could use the scroll bar on the far right to see the text that's gone on before.  That's right: this game is all text.  I wouldn't even necessary have a problem with that, but you don't have control over anything.  Run into a piece of armor or a weapon?  You equip it.  It doesn't matter if what you're equipping is worse than what you already have.  Find that monster that's bound to kill you?  You fight it.  Everything else is simply a description of the different areas you are exploring.

The game reminds me of an old favorite called Progress Quest.  Unfortunately, there were two key elements to progress quest that were neglected in this game: Progress Quest had no interaction whatsoever, and you couldn't die.  What made progress quest so fun was the fact that you could succeed in an online MMORPG without having to babysit your character all the time.  Here you have to "control" the "action" by scrolling the dialog, and there's no guarantee you'll survive past level 2.  To the developer's credit, you see a lot of the same humor in the descriptions as Progress Quest had.  For example, during one game, the most powerful weapon I ever had was an Annyoing Relative.  You've got to love that!

Graphically, there's really nothing to the game.  The interface looks all right, but there are no pictures of your character, the monsters, or the loot.  Personally, I'd love to see what the Annoying Relative looks like.  The music is okay for a couple of minutes, but once you realize it's nothing more than a minute track constantly looped you're ready to turn it off.  I give the game some points for creativity in the narration, but ultimately I have to give the game a D+.

App Store Link
Project Page

Coming Up Next: ???
Day Eight*: Spot The Bug
Day Five: Trounce
Day Four: Tumblecaps
Day Three: Pegburner
Day Two: GardenGrow
Day One: Tic-Tac-Bacon

*Yeah, I realize I went a bit out of order on the last two

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Eric Pankoke has been a gamer for more than 20 years. He began with arcade games, moving to consoles and eventually handhelds and Pocket PCs. Now he spends most of his time on one of his iOS devices. Eric has written more than 700 gaming reviews, which have appeared on a number of gaming websites as well as several issues of both Smartphone & Pocket PC and iPhone Life magazines. He regularly contributes to iphonelife.com and TouchMyApps. Ultimately he hopes to eventually develop games himself for whatever the hot mobile device is when he finally gets moving.