The rogue-like genre has always been about the risk/reward system that usually comes from only having one life. Typically, the genre focuses on tight decisions, incredible skill, and a little luck. Quest of Dungeons is a rougue-like dungeon-crawler that emulates the Mystery Dungeon series, but in a much smaller fashion. Where I had trouble getting into games like Shiren the Wanderer, which had layers and layers of complexities, Quest of Dungeons biggest strength is what it lacks, as it is a more focused game of that style.
Quest of Dungeons in an independently developed game by David Amador, one that saw a multitude of releases, but is now available on the Nintendo 3DS, which is the version I played. Where the original game was mostly controlled by the mouse on the PC, the 3DS version has the advantage of being controlled with the face buttons, having touch screen functionality, and being portable. Out of all the Mystery Dungeon style games I have played in the last year or so, Quest of Dungeons definitely was the most addictive. Once again this is due to its minimalist approach to the gameplay.
The game is set in a way where moving or performing an action takes up a turn, while enemies can only move when the player moves to create that strange hybrid of turn based and real time action. To me, Quest of Dungeons plays more like classic Gauntlet, especially when looking at the available classes to play. Players can become either a Warrior, Assassin, Wizard, or Shaman. Each character has their own style, but for new players I would honestly recommend the Wizard. As Wizards are prone to have, picking that class gives access to fireballs, electric bolts, and area of effect blasts. I definitely had the most luck with the Wizard, while I found the Shaman to be too technical with his status effects for my tastes.
Dungeons are procedurally generated, with loot that is also randomized in the style of games like Diablo, or many an MMORPG. Having the map on the bottom screen is handy as well, as each floor is fairly vast. With items like keys in play and quests to complete as the player goes, there is also a reason to revisit past floors, either to unlock a chest or take down a quest specific monster. That minor detail makes the whole dungeon feel more coherent, instead of as a stage for each floor. As usual in these games, going deeper and further into the dungeon makes enemies stronger, so managing equipment and being cautious with items is key to a successful run.
For those looking for a greater challenge, Quest of Dungeons also has four difficulties to tackle. Mostly, I stuck to the Easy and Normal levels, due to the fact that I play these dungeon crawlers more casually than most. I do wish that the loot system had a few items that greatly affected how the game plays, like the wonderful item system found in Binding of Isaac. I’ve never liked the loot system as it always makes items feel less cool. Sure a +5 Flaming Sword of Fire might sound cool (and a bit redundant), but the Master Sword just sounds way better. It gives more layers to the item, instead of just being a number booster. However, creating that sort of item system in a game as simple as Quest of Dungeons would be harder to balance, so at least here the loot system makes sense.
All in all, Quest of Dungeons is a great portable timekiller, as it scratches that rogue-like itch without a lot of commitment required. Once again, I found myself trying run after run, fairly addicted to the quick and simple gameplay offered. Yet, there’s not much of a reason to really dig into it as I did with Binding of Isaac.
Quest of Dungeons does everything right; it just doesn’t do anything outstanding.
Find Quest of Dungeons on PC, PS4, Xbox One, Mac, Iphone, Ipad, Linux, Wii U, and 3DS E-Shop. The game is fairly inexpensive as well, usually only about $4.99.