Dungeon Bandit Review—Dungeons & Dungeons


From the name of the game, you’d think that Dungeon Bandit, from Rocking Pocket Games, were some sort of RPG. Instead, it’s something of a throwback to old games found on really old home computers—sort of an action-adventure, maze exploration-type game. Shamus and Realm of Impossibility immediately come to mind. We’ve seen a lot of retro-themed platformers, but with the exception of Rock Boshers DX, there aren’t too many homages to this old genre these days.

The game starts rather abruptly after a page describing the back story. You play a scientist that is after immortality, which is hidden away in another dimension. It’s essentially a small world map, played from a top-down perspective, with several different dungeons to enter. As explained by a helpful sign, the goal is to do each dungeon eight times, which gives you a special key. Once you have all the keys from all the dungeons, you win.

Most of the puzzles involve sliding rocks.

Most of the puzzles involve sliding rocks.

Each dungeon is full of monsters and traps and puzzles, as well as helpful signs explaining things (like how to get past the next section) and the occasional power-up, either new weapons or health. Monsters work sort of as in Gauntlet, spawning from an object on the floor that you can shoot to keep them from spawning.

The level design of the dungeons is quite well done, linear, yet sometimes giving you different paths. The paths lead you in the same direction, so you won’t get lost. Puzzles are fairly simple, either levers or pushing rocks onto certain spots on the floor. There’s a lot of different enemy types, though in practice, they don’t seem to do that much differently. The game also features three difficulty levels.

Signs that contain messages like this are about the only story you get in the game.

Signs that contain messages like this are about the only story you get in the game.

The abruptness of the story extends to the in-game help. Heck, there is no in-game help, exactly; all there is is a screen showing you the controls. What are these objects I am picking up? Some are obvious, like weapons and the ones that fill your health bar back up. But what are those gold cups?

Graphically, Dungeon Bandit is a very dark game, presumably in part because it’s called “Dungeon Bandit,” but also to show off a lot of lighting effects. Torches, traps, even your weapons all have nice lighting effects. It can be a bit hard to see the graphics for the enemies and such, but for the most part, Dungeon Bandit looks good and runs very smoothly.

There can be a lot of action at times.

There can be a lot of action at times.

Rock Boshers DX was great because you had an amusing storyline with a lot of funny stuff, lots of different levels and a clear sense of progression, and the basic gameplay was fun. Here in Dungeon Bandit, while the gameplay is fairly fun, there is no story per se, and there is a lot of repetition. Doing a dungeon once is fun. Twice okay. Three is tedium, and eight times is, well, crazy. Like those very old games, it’s one you have to be very dedicated to want to finish. But also like those, it’s a game you might fire up and play for a while with no intention of ever finishing.


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One Response to “Dungeon Bandit Review—Dungeons & Dungeons”
  1. onmode-ky says:

    My ears perked up when you said it had similarities to Rock Boshers DX. Then, when you listed the differences, I thought, “Oh. . . .”

    “Three is tedium, and eight times is, well, crazy.”

    Someone should have mentioned that to Kyoto Animation in 2009.

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