Ratalaika Games have been porting their catalogue across to the Switch for a while now, and their games tend to be of good quality. From League of Evil to I and Me, there is definitely a decent pedigree being established. One More Dungeon is the latest game of theirs to hit the eShop, but is it also worth your time?
I shall preface this review by saying up front that this is a game with no real story. If you are after any form of storytelling, or don’t like games without any story, then definitely stay away from this one. This is a game that rests on its aesthetics and gameplay, rather than setting up characters to love and stories to get lost in. The story that is here is that you are a nameless soldier, trying to get to the final level of a dungeon and destroy that which is bringing the forces of evil into this world.
Luckily, the aesthetics are rather beautiful. The art style has a pixelated look to it, with a modern take on the old retro style. I know a lot of indies go for this style, but when it is done well it really looks stunning, and this game achieves that level of beauty. The environments are dark like a dungeon should be, but it uses a wide range of colours so it never looks dull or lifeless. It also never goes overboard with the colours, avoiding becoming too vibrant. This restraint helps to give this game a coherent art design, where everything belongs in the world they have created.
As far as the sound goes, that is an area where the game falls flat. Swinging weapons has a light swoosh that doesn’t feel satisfying. Magic attacks and enemy noises are lacklustre, and most of the sounds in general are completely forgettable. The music is quiet, never standing out or doing anything terribly interesting. It’s a shame considering the strong art direction. Solid sound design would have really helped to get you lost in this world.
Now for the most important part of all, the gameplay. One More Dungeon is a first person Roguelike. The movement is reminiscent of classic Doom, in that you cannot look up or down. The left stick moves you forward and back, and also strafes left and right. But the right stick can only look left and right. This can take a little getting used too, but everything is on a flat plain anyway so looking up or down is never needed.
Attacking enemies is done with the shoulder buttons, but combat never feels good. It is difficult to judge distance when using melee attacks, and can result in you taking damage in a rather frustrating fashion. This game is punishing with how little help you have, so losing it because the game does a bad job of letting you know when you are in range is a real pain. Your attacks never feel like they have any weight to them either, so overall the combat is rather unsatisfying.
Each floor of the dungeon is procedurally generated, so every run through the game can vary wildly. This definitely adds to the replayability, surprising you with what’s around every turn whenever you play. Hunting through each dungeon hall can be tense, especially when your health is low from some encounter that you barely managed to scrape through. Luckily you find potions to restore health, and the occasional altar that ups your total health bar.
As you progress, you will find new weapons and potions to help you take on the many enemies you will face. There are over 30 different enemy types, so you do see a rather wide variety through your travels. Each floor requires you to defeat an enemy for a seal, which then allows you to open the exit and head to the next level of the dungeon.
Overall, One More Dungeon is an interesting game. The beautiful pixel-art brings this world to life, and is a joy to look at as you explore. Unfortunately the game itself doesn’t have the best combat system, and the whole gameplay rests on combat first. Still, I found myself enjoying my time with it, and will likely play it again. It is a rather cheap title, and if you can get past the finicky controls then you may well have some fun here. If you are after a Roguelike, then you can definitely do worse than One More Dungeon.
This review was written by guest contributor, Lachlan Bruce. You can follow them on Twitter here. Game was provided by Ratalaika Games.