ReviewsReview: Dungeon and Gravestone

Review: Dungeon and Gravestone

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Don’t you just hate it when you’re fast asleep and someone wakes you by screaming in your face! You wake up; shocked, in a panic, and with no clue what’s happening. The person who woke you better have a darn good reason. The village you are resting in is about to be eaten by an evil force. Is that good enough? Dungeon and Gravestone allows you to experience this rude awakening and more, as you prepare to slay every monster in sight.

Developed and published by Wonderland Kazakari (WK) this rogue-like dungeon crawler is; cruel, fun, pixelated, and demands a large amount of luck. You’ll explore level after level of ever-changing catacombs. Armed with a sword, shield and magic, you must; loot every chest, collect the gold and kill everything you see.

Dungeon and Gravestone is simple but requires tactical nuance.

Dungeon and Gravestone doesn’t reward you for running around like a headless chicken. No, it punishes the gamers that lack patience and a strategic approach. If you wish to progress to the deepest parts of the dungeon, you must; take your time, kite your enemies, and use your equipment wisely.

Death is a cruel but expected outcome for anyone that enters the monsters’ lair. Sadly, your demise undoes your progress; you’ll lose your loot, and the gold you have stolen. Every five levels you are offered a free ride to the surface. If you take it, you keep your ill-gotten gains. If you gamble and stay below, you risk losing it all! You must ask yourself, is the glory worth the possible heartbreak?

The village you now call home!

It’s a tale of demons.

There is nothing worse than the Demon King of Death trying to devour the place you call home. You are the only hero that is brave enough to challenge his authority. Demon Kings don’t like their plans thwarted, and this one will do its utmost to prevent you from ruining his well thought out mission.

The concept is simple; enter the dungeon repeatedly, return to the surface alive, sell your goods, and improve your equipment. As you progress, magic and better objects will strengthen you. This allows you to delve deeper into the abyss where the loot improves and the monsters become more challenging.

Quests and lots of floors.

Dungeon and Gravestone isn’t just about diving deeper and deeper into the murky depths. No, it’s about quests and defeating bosses as well. The quests are straightforward; select the one you want and hack up the requested number of monsters. These earn you rewards that’ll help push you further on your adventures and give you something to focus on.

Once you get far enough, you’ll face the bosses. It’s fair to say that they are pure hell! Killing each one tests your reactions and your fighting skills. Facing them is not for the ill-prepared or the faint of heart. There are plenty to overcome and you’ll have to be a master to beat them all.

One amusing touch that WK implemented was the ability to write a message for other adventures upon your gravestone. The world that you play in is shared by all players, though you never meet. You can write whatever you wish, and like in Dark Souls, I’m sure trolling messages to “assist” you will become the norm as the game gains popularity.

So many monsters and traps.

Voxel looks and repetitive music.

Its bird’s-eye perspective and retro voxel look gives it a slightly less polished, but similar look to Minecraft Dungeons. A fixed-angle camera allows you to zoom in and out, and you can pan around each stage. It sadly lacks smoothness and finesse. I soon forgot about using it as it made me feel sick. Other than this complaint, I had no issues with the viewpoint. Luckily, moving the image around wasn’t required, so it didn’t impact the gameplay.

I liked the variety in level design and the appearance of the different mobs that you face. The Series X would never struggle to play this, but I enjoyed how smoothly it ran, and the lack of issues I encountered.

I find it disappointing when there is a lack of variety in the soundtrack. It saddens me when I have to listen to the same song repeatedly. Unfortunately, Dungeon and Gravestone is guilty of doing this. Listening to it through headphones was like Japanese water torture. I was left begging for a bigger library of songs. It’s a shame as the sound effects were good, interesting to listen to, and added depth to the action.

What harm can fire do?

Accessible to all and easy to play.

I’ve played a lot of games recently that chuck you straight into the action. You are given no equipment, and no tutorial to ease you into things. Fortunately, one isn’t required as playing this is easy. A well-explained layout can be found in the menu, but it’s pretty self-explanatory. The ease with which this can be picked up and played makes it accessible to all gamers.

When no run is the same, death is guaranteed, and there are lots of floors to visit. You know this has replay value. You’ll face untold amounts of foes, discover secret floors that contain puzzle elements, and have lots of quests to complete. Mix in a difficult achievement list and you’ll agree, there are plenty of reasons to return.

Dungeon and Gravestone is more than just a simple concept.

When a game relies on a simple concept, it can bore you quickly. Fortunately, Dungeon and Gravestone offers much more than just dungeon crawling. With its; minor puzzle content, tactical fights, magical spells, hidden locations, and challenging bosses, you have plenty to get your teeth into. It’s for these reasons I recommend it, so buy it here! Can you prevent the Demon King of Death from devouring your village? Probably not, but if you’re going to die, you may as well die a hero.

SUMMARY

Dungeon and Gravestone is a tough rogue-like dungeon crawler. It has a simple concept with in-depth mechanics that'll keep you playing for hours. There are lots of floors to discover and secrets to find. Can you defeat the Demon King of Death?

+ Varied landscapes and monster models.
+ Interesting sound effects.
+ Accessible to all skill sets.
+ Lots of replay value.
+ Great value for money.
- The camera movement made me ill.
- The music is painfully repetitive.

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation.)
Daniel Waite
Former editor and reviewer for www.bonusstage.co.uk, I've now found a new home to write my reviews, and get my opinion out to the masses. Still the lead admin for Xboxseriesfans on Facebook and Instagram. I love the gaming world, and writing about it. I can be contacted at [email protected] for gaming reviews.

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