Before I begin, let me introduce myself. I am @sushovande, and I will be reviewing games for WpSauce.
Today we are talking about Dungeon Stalker, an action RPG by Pansoft. Once you get about five minutes of gameplay, what will strike you the most is the very gothic feel of the game. Stop me if this sounds familiar – a dark room, 5 pointed star in blood, with two human skulls on top. Limited field of view, and sudden eerie music. Nobody? Is Amnesia: the dark descent not popular at all? And this is level 2 of Dungeon Stalker. For an RPG to have a distinct Amnesia feel to it is not a shortcoming – it is extravagant praise. In the two levels the trial version provided, it managed to cause a few shivers down my fragile spine. Yes, I am fairly certain this Bangalore chill had nothing to do with it.
It is very easy to get started. You pick a name, a character picture, and click the random button to distribute your points, and you’re all set to start playing. Right off the bat, the controls for the game are excellent.Throughout my gameplay, I never clicked the wrong button once. Opening the inventory, opening the map – everything is intuitive and responsive.
Gruesome? Yes. Eerie? Yes. Provides an ice-cold chill down your spine as you sit alone in a hotel room with your Wp7.. er.. okay, maybe not that much.
Dungeon Stalker is not a 3D game where you move continuously. When you click Forward, you go ahead instantly by one block. (Hey! You can imagine you are doing mini teleportations!) While the movement seems jarring at first, I got used to it pretty fast. Remember too, that Diablo 1 used to only let you stand in on a grid (though it did move smoothly between them.) The similarities don’t end there. Like Diablo 1, the maps seem to be procedurally generated, so every time you play, you get a new map to play with, including new item drops, new locations for enemies and of course, new surprises. That they have managed to create maps on the fly, on a phone is something worth appreciating.
The spell system here is quite different from the usual point and click affair. You pick up scrolls which contain instructions for spells in runes. You have to remember them, and then when you are confronted with an enemy, bring up the spell screen, and invoke the spell by tapping those runes in order.
The Dungeon Caster Spell casting screen. Tap the runes in the correct order to cast a spell. Wingardium Leviosa is not supported.
As I can testify, remembering the exact shape of runes while a zombie is chomping off what little health you have left is no mean feat (I’m no Hermione). Failure is rewarded with this:
Here lies Teddy, slayer of 11 foes. Hey! No jokes about my character’s name.
On the inventory screen, you have your usual suspects – the weapons and the slots. I did not immediately understand what the vital statistics were saying. Heart is health. What are the ones that look like lightning, a stomach, and a river? The XP bar is also unlabeled. As I kept playing, their meanings became clear: you pick up a bottle of water, drink it and find that the river is your hydration level. Very well done. Next time I feel thirsty, I will just imagine the river in my stomach has gone dry. Speaking of stomachs, that symbol stands for hunger. “You need to find food” reminds the on-screen message. [So do I, please stand by while I get dinner...]
The game did crash on me once.. and it managed to recover from a previous checkpoint. When your character dies.. the game saves automatically, which didn’t make too much sense to me.
Overall though, I spent a very enjoyable, eerie time with Dungeon Stalker. Go check it out.
Direct link to Dungeon Stalker on Zune. (Avg customer rating 3/5).
Dungeon Stalker on Marketplace Browser, on Facebook.