Dungeon Blitz | Review

Dungeon Blitz Review

By: Jasmine Henry | May 18th 2012
Dungeon Blitz is a free-to-play fantasy browser MMO. A wondrously simple title under an incredibly long-winded genre description.

Get beneath that frustratingly convoluted tagline, and you’ll be introduced to the MMO brain-child of developer Blue Mammoth Games who say that the core gameplay of Dungeon Blitz allows you to "play alongside other players in real time", "team up to battle monsters", "grab treasure" and "explore the the lost land of Ellyria" - "or", they say, you can "go it alone".

The other key selling point of Dungeon Blitz that they’ve tried to make apparent is that being a browser game, rather than one that you don't have to download or find the disc for, it can be played for just 10 minutes or for an entire hour, they want to see you having fun as soon as possible.

This 'jump in and play' ideal is clear from the start as sticking to tried and tested RPG (and MMORPG) methods, the game's lead, your self designed adventurer, can be chosen from one of three classes – Paladin (warrior/healer class), Rogue (stealth class) and Mage (magic and elemental class). The customisation continues into the next screen and allows you to pick your character’s hairstyles (you’ll get a chuckle out of some of the names of the hairdos, “Hot Topic Hero” and “Circle Pit Cindy” are particular highlights), their head shape, their face shape (the hilarity continues - “Wait Just a Minute” is my personal favourite), and the shape of their mouth. Skin and hair colour, along with your chosen (user)name, are also tweakable preferences.

Initially, the game plays as a single player quest-em-up (the fun multiplayer bobbins come later), but you shouldn’t let that put you off, oh no, as the single player gameplay serves as an intuitive tutorial, with your first official mission, ‘Lost at Sea’ quite literally taking you through the motions of the game whilst giving you a three minute starter session on the key skills you’ll need to be able to play Dungeon Blitz effectively. These are the movement controls, the combat controls and how to collect loot/complete quests. The majority of these mechanics feel as familiar as a heated blanket on a frosty Winter’s day.

Of these gameplay elements, the most instinctive, perhaps, is the combat, with fight sequences requiring you to click furiously at and on the enemy animations to hack away at their healthbars with your location determining whether you eviscerate them from afar with ranged attacks or whether you dice them to pieces up close and personal. There are also special moves that you can utilise during a fight, differing for each class – an example is the powerful ‘Rogue’s Root’, which sees your Dungeon Blitz rogue character summoning a vine to thwart enemies.Special attacks can only be carried out if your stamina bar has enough ‘juice’ in it, carrying them out depletes it and it can be replenished by using normal attacks.

Combat is twinned with a keyboard based control system, using W,A, S and D (or the directional arrow keys) to move your players and navigate the Dungeon Blitz game world, which can be mildly annoying at times – especially for players more geared to the analogue sticks that console controllers offer – as the game takes a fraction of time to register the key you’ve pressed and to then represent that as something on-screen. As small as this ‘fraction’ is, it’s a fraction too long when you’re faced with menacing sea behemoths and aerial bat creatures trying to kill you.

Persevering through the slight bit of lag to complete (and win) a battle comes with its rewards. Every win provides you with gold, and often you’ll be given red orbs to replenish your health bubble, with some victories even giving you items for your inventory – the more trickier the battle, the heftier the reward. Going back to that jammy control system, you have to move your character over the pile of loot to collect it, where it becomes accessible to you, via the inventory button on your HUD.

The most utilised way of filling up your inventory is via the myriad of quests that Dungeon Blitz has you playing through. It appears as though you’re never without something to do (handy for that aforementioned 10 minutes/an hour gameplay that I mentioned that the game is touting) with a main questline being forced (albeit gently) upon you, and a handy mini-map telling you both the direction you need to go in as well as how far away you are from your next objective, with said objective being anything from rescuing wayward daughters from goblins to taking on actual dragons. Then there are also various sidequests which leave much to be desired but are a prime example of the game keeping you occupied at every single stage. Both types of quests can be received by talking to NPCs who are dotted around the game world, usually found populating in-game villages.

Rather than take on the quests, you could just travel around the game world lackadaisically, though I’m unsure why you’d want to when the quests are immensely enjoyable. Of course it’s the combat elements of the quests that really sell them but given that Dungeon Blitz is an MMO, the real slice of fun pie is served as you choose to join parties with other players to take on the challenges together. The HUD also has a chat system so that you can plunder dungeons and rid the world of goblins together should you choose so and there’s almost always someone about to go questing with, unsurprising seeing as Dungeon Blitz is so popular that it has several fanmade wiki databases.

Another feature to the quests that sets Dungeon Blitz apart form every other MMO, thus preventing itself from becoming tedious cannon fodder in what is clearly a very saturated market, is that at almost every stage of the provided quest there is a wonderfully inventive idea that the developer has included to keep you entertained and enthralled in the task at hand. Whether that be the opening of a door that has you utilising the chat box menu options or a puzzle that requires you to attack an objective in a specific way – it’s not something I’ve seen done before in games like this and a delightful step away from the usual ‘go here, kill some stuff’ quest that many of us are so used to seeing.

Secondary to questing (which actually goes hand in hand with defeating monsters in said quests) is the Forge, which has you using the items you’ve collected in Dungeon Blitz to craft them into gems which can in turn be used to bolster the strength of your weapons. Collecting materials for the crafting activity is a slog at best and you will most definitively find yourself reluctant to take part again, past the initial introduction of the mode. Unlike the rest of the game, the Forge will likely only be enjoyed by you if you are deadly serious about squirreling away hours of your day, most should give it a miss.

And finally, what use would all that gold be unless you had somewhere to spend it? That’s what the vendor is for. Speaking to the in-game vendor (who resides in one of the aforementioned village platforms) allows you to spend your gold on new items and better weapons – incredibly useful should you not want to go through the tedious crafting system.

Overall, I think that Dungeon Blitz really is an apt title for this game because you just can’t invest a lot of time into this, there’s just not enough to compel you into investing a great deal into this game, but in small doses of under an hour, there’s no reason why you couldn’t enjoy it – all of the ingredients are there, the attractive yet not overly flashy graphics, the fun and engaging quests and the idea that you can find and make a friend, if only for a short while – it’s just that the sum of its parts isn’t quite the MMO experience that would captivate you.

It’s for that reason that Dungeon Blitz gets a six from us.

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