Dungeon Twister Review
This game was reviewed on PlayStation 3
I wouldn’t say I’m a tabletop gaming aficionado, but I play your average games like Monopoly, Risk, and Dungeons and Dragons. That’s why when I heard there was a game coming out based on the tabletop game Dungeon Twister I was interested. I hadn’t played it in its tabletop incarnation but I was excited to give it a shot on the PSN. That was, of course, before I opened up the game and was subject to the strange world that is Dungeon Twister.
The concept is rather simple. You play as a group of four, out of a possible eight, fantasy characters and you need to escape a labyrinth dungeon by moving around the map to eventually get to the opposite side before your opponent. Every turn you choose a numbered card that determines how many moves you can make in oneround. Once you’ve chosen all the cards you have to get your cards back and the cycle repeats. One of the features, from which the game gets its namesake, is that by stepping on certain squares you can rotate various parts of the dungeon you’re in. It’s the main focus to the game and one of the keys to success in Dungeon Twister.
At the beginning of a game you select all of your characters and place them about the dungeon. Each character has his/her own abilities, including: twisting rooms, walking through walls, or destroying obstacles. The skills are fairly easy to use, but lack any depth. Aside from the one ability some characters become completely useless. For example, the Goblin character can jump over pits, but he can’t get through locked doors, or avoid traps. His attack power is fairly low as well, so aside from jumping random pits he best suited to staying out of the way.
Combat in the game revolves around initiating a battle and then choosing a numbered card. If your character’s attack power plus the number card equal a greater value than the value of your opponent’s then you win the round and your opponent is injured. One more attack on an injured opponent and that character dies. Every time you use a numbered card it disappears until you’ve run out of cards, at which point you get them all back. In theory this is an interesting concept, but in practice it just amounts to you winning the first two or three battles you’re involved in and then simply losing the rest because you’re not strong enough.
The gameplay is straightforward, and I’m sure it’ll appeal to fans of the board game, but as a videogame I feel Dungeon Twister falls short significantly. The bland and generic fantasy setting mixed with the mediocre character models make the game entirely uninteresting to look at. The colour pallet is muddy and the characters look as though they were pulled from a stock 3D model database from early 2000. Even the fight scenes between characters are stiff and awkward. Characters go through stock combat animations and the loser’s animation is cut off abruptly by the other character’s attack. The animation looks choppy and broken.
Speaking of animation one of the most silly, confusing, and unwelcomed elements to Dungeon Twister is the inclusion of odd dancing win animations. When a character reaches his/her goal the camera will zoom in on him/her as he/she does a small hip hop dance. The first time I saw this I couldn’t believe my eyes. I thought maybe I just didn’t see it right, but nope, they dance after they win. If the game had an overall humourous tone then I could forgive this, but the game is completely serious until you win. I couldn’t get over this fact, and actually didn’t want to win in the game as the dance seemed to trivialize the victory. While surely someone out there enjoys the victory dance, I just couldn’t stand it.
Overall, Dungeon Twister is an entertainng game. It’s a board game translated into a videogame, albeit a lackluster one. The gameplay is solid and the rules are interesting but the game falls short in terms of presentation. With poor and ridiculous animations, boring character models and environments, and an overall middle-of-the-road presentation I can only really recommend this game to fans of the board game. Fans of videogames may want to sit this one out.
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