Random the Dungeon

Random the Dungeon sounds like a rougelike but actually plays like a cross between Solomon’s Key and Corky from Life Goes On.  You’re a dude who must hop across various blocks to get a key.  Once you have it, you must get to the door.  The gimmick here is that if you can’t find a pathway to where you’re moving, you can switch the entire arrangement of blocks on the screen to a new, completely random alignment.

The game starts off pretty simple.  There’s a key, there are blocks, and there’s a door.  Get the key, get to the door.  You hop from block to block until there’s no room for progression.  At this point, you hit the X button or either of the shoulder bumpers and all the blocks change to new, random positions.  This can include the block you are standing on, or even the block the key sits on.  If either you or the key touch the lava at the bottom of the screen, you’re dead.  Thankfully the key falls slowly, as if it was made of Styrofoam.

There are eighteen stages here.  I figured the gimmick would get stale after one or two levels, but developer Last Man on the Sun actually came up with some pretty clever ways to implement it.  Sometimes only some of the blocks will change.  Sometimes there’s no block to catch the key and you have to race across the screen to grab it before it falls into the lava.  By the end of the game you’ll start to teleport randomly, along with the key AND the door.  Every new twist is sure to have you cursing more than competitors in the Toe Stubbing Competition at the National Center for Tourette Syndrome.

Random the Dungeon makes several mistakes.  Like many 2D platformers, it maps digital-style controls exclusively to the analog stick, sucking some much-needed precision out of the movement.  The jumping can be a bit floaty as well.  The X button also works too slowly when you need to quickly get multiple sets of new blocks, so I recommend using the bumpers.  The biggest problem is the random nature of the game means luck greatly outweighs skill while progressing through it.  No matter how well you might play, you’re at the mercy of whatever alignment of blocks the game gives you each time you randomize.

If this all sounds horrible, trust me, it is.  And yet, it’s still fun.  Random the Dungeon defies all convention by managing to be fairly entertaining despite a concept that shouldn’t work, game play that is entirely up to chance, and less than perfect controls.  I told myself all that would matter on recommending a game is whether or not I had a good time with it.  I had a good time with Random the Dungeon and thus I do recommend it.  It’s annoying, frustrating, stupid, and charming.  It’s the Anne Hathaway of the indie market.

Random the Dungeon was developed by Last Man on the Sun

80 Microsoft Points can’t tell Italians apart from Spaniards in the making of this review.

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About Indie Gamer Chick
The most read Xbox Live Indie Game critic in the world.

5 Responses to Random the Dungeon

  1. Joey McCain says:

    The game is back up now.

  2. Master Blud says:

    This title looks so bad, sorry,

    • Kairi Vice says:

      See, this is why I don’t do review scores. It IS a bad game. But I had fun with it. If I had to give it a score, my words would carry no weight because everyone would skip to the mediocre score. And yet, I didn’t hate my playtime with it. I had a good time. That’s what should matter.

  3. a guy says:

    this game doesnt work, instead of generating structures its just jumping from block to block, a better generator would divide the field and make limits of blocks per section, or shapes that the blocks must follow

  4. Pingback: Sportsball | Indie Gamer Chick

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