Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat: Dungeon Quest is a Diablo clone, and that’s a very good thing. In the world of predatory IAP schemes, Dungeon Quest gets it right by hooking the player with unlimited, action-packed gameplay without constantly nagging them to buy in-game currency with real-world dollars or requiring that they put the game down unless they pay up.
Dungeon Quest has you hacking and slashing through monsters while scooping up piles of gold and loot along the way. The game plays just like you’d think a mobile version of Diablo or Torchlight would. By spamming a primary attack, while sprinkling in more powerful or utilitarian abilities, your character mows through hordes of low-health mobs, occasionally encountering more powerful, rare foes. Every time a monster is slain, a crate is destroyed, or a chest is opened there is a high chance gold or randomly-generated items will drop. PC gamers will find this concept very familiar.
You might think this style of gameplay would eventually become little more than an inventory management simulator, and to some extent it does. Every time your inventory fills, you’ll spend thirty seconds or so looking at each item, comparing it to what you currently have equipped. And because items are automatically picked up as you run over them, your inventory will fill up frequently. Fortunately the developers of Dungeon Quest saw a potentially major inconvenience early and added a “sell all” button, which converts everything in your inventory to gold, without requiring a run to town.
Speaking of towns, in Dungeon Quest there are none. In fact, there is effectively no story to speak of. Some may deride Dungeon Quest for this, but I find it refreshing. Dungeon Quest embraces the short play nature of mobile games and puts you into the action right away, with no back-story or tutorial. The lack of a tutorial may be fine for those familiar with the genre’s history, but may also preclude players new to the genre from having fun in the early game.
Progression is farily linear. As you clear the levels of each dungeon, you come across a swirling green portal on the ground. At first glance, it looks like a vortex of poison; something to be avoided in most RPGs. Stepping on it prompts you to decend further into the dungeon. Still, I can’t help but think a blue vortex would have made more sense as, thinking it was poison, I wandered the level several times looking for a proper exit.
Speaking of levels, Dungeon Quest have four acts, each consisting of five levels. It took me just under an hour to clear the first act. While at first I saw this as a sign that the game would lose its luster quickly, I later noticed that the four acts can be repeated up to 10 times with randomly generated layouts and increasing with difficulty each time. Considering there are 138 legendary items to collect and countless challenges to complete, I can’t see running out things to do for some time.
The in-app-purchase scheme is very generous. Purchasing anything removes the advertisements that pop up after every loading screen. You can purchase in-game pets, character slots, experience boosts, and gold for real money. Apart from that, vanity items, inventory tabs, and some of the pets can be bought with obscene amounts of gold (up to 1,000,000), which requires an in-app-purchase for all but those who dedicate the most time in-game. While none of the IAPs are required, and the game is plenty of fun without them, the experience boost and inventory tabs will provide a competitive advantage for anyone competing on the leaderboard.
Dungeon Quest is a breath of fresh air on the free side of the AppStore. In a world where IAP schemes are often overly-aggressive or even predatory, Dungeon Quest delivers a fun, rewarding experience that makes you want to spend money on IAPs without feeling forced to. Fans of action RPGs everywhere definitely owe it to themselves to download Dungeon Quest and give it a shot.
Dungeon Quest Review: Awfully Familiar in the Best of Ways
-Fast-paced, familiar gameplay
-Randomly generated levels and items
-Some performance issues seen on iPad Mini
-Only two classes