Gambrinous is a tiny indie game studio run by Colm Larkin residing in Dublin, Ireland. They bring us this game titled Guild of Dungeoneering. Does the dungeon delving game bring us countless hours of entertainment? Let us ready our characters and delve into the depths of hell to find out.
Guild of Dungeoneering
Guild of dungeoneering is not your typical story of heroes, bravery, or a tale of gods and demons with the men caught in the middle of an eternal conflict. It is a story of the failures of society trying to claw their way through menacing dungeons filled to the brim with the unknown in hopes of making a name for themselves, basking in riches. It is a game that sets you up with the losers that no one else wants, which makes this game stand out.
On the Surface, its a pretty simplistic scenario. You are presented with the journal of a lowlife: a person who was kicked out of the world’s greatest guild before acting out of spite, to start his own guild of famed adventurers. Having neither fame nor adventurers he settles for the players first character after they answer an ad on a poster: The Chump.
The Chump is pretty much your run of the mill character fighting and acting like, well a chump. the narrator even sings of his chumpesque style. The chump sets off to face dungeons filled to the brim with bats, rats,zombies, and goblins.
The game play exist in the form of an rpg mixed with a card combat style and has turn based qualities. The format , with its focus on leveling up fast in quick burst of gameplay to survive the ultimate challenges, anywhere from slaying a particular enemy, obtaining loot, or fleeing a boss until you have the gear to fight it makes this game have diversity towards each dungeon quest. Even though you start with the chump, as you build your guild up more adventurers begin to flock towards you such as the Apprentice, Cat Burglar, Bruiser, Mime (yes there is a mime.)and many others that you can choose from before embarking on a dungeon to reap its rewards.
The twist is that you do not control the hero itself, but the environment around you. You are dealt five cards at the start of each round with an enemy, a treasure, or a chunk of room to place in tiles along your adventurer’s path. The player’s job is to place those rats, zombies, and goblins, in your character’s line of sight, in the hope of beefing them up with enough experience and gear to direct him towards his set goal.If that is not enough of a handicap he then has to do it in a dungeon drawn on geometric graph paper.
Visually the game is lacking from the second you start playing you begin to realize the artistic value is nothing more than a nerds attempt at dungeons and dragons scribblings, that is crudely drawn and enemies traveling along a grid of multi-directional rooms. The art style is dull in terms of a visualistic perspective.
Gameplay or battles so to speak play out by a series of handwritten cards picked up at random from enemies. The cards themselves are quite humourous. A good example of this would be The Chump’s defensive ability is called cower and his offensive ability is called Close Eyed Punch; the Cat Burglar throws cats for physical damage; the bruiser attacks with insults and bar brawling techniques. The point coming across is each character has its own personality and that makes this game have diversity.
The game does not lack on challenge either. The player might think that building a straight path to the goal is the way to win, but you find out it is only a faster way to death than to victory. The best strategies to lay out are anywhere from killing as many enemies as possible before you face the boss, or go after the big treasures, which typically are defended by big imposing threats. Later on certain dungeons will have enemies that will attempt to pursue you two tiles at a time. None of the dungeons are impossible and playing smartly enough could lead you to beat the boss on the first go, but it also works the other way around, the wrong enemy at the wrong time, with the right luck could bode dangerous for the player.
This game is very unforgiving in that regard. you will die a lot, but trial and error is involved in these types of games , figuring out when to place certain enemies is a key component in this game. The game also has rooms with fountains that can either give you positive or negative buffs that affect combat greatly. Some enemies have traits that also impact combat an example would be fury, when an enemy gets lower than half its health pool it adds an extra attack to all physical attacks. These fountains and monster traits can kill your character pretty fast, situations like these can frustrate the player, leaving the game up to the luck of the draw, making some dungeons irritating, but not to the point of breaking a keyboard or mouse over it. For the most part, it adds to the games challenge level. All your adventures can be renamed, but i would not get attached because they can die at the bat of an eye.Instead you get attached to the personalities of each character class rather than the character itself.
Imagine if you will a bard at a tavern strumming a lute and unfolding a witty tale about an adventure big or small rising to the task , emerging victorious or falling into despair, falling to their demise, that is the music of this game in a nutshell. The music is simply mind blowing and original, intriguing in every sense. Aside from that the audio on the other hand is lacking combat has the occasional thud to let you know if you damaged an enemy or taken damage, and the dungeons ambient sounds are nonexistent. The music makes up for the lack of sound effects by being charismatic and witty.
In conclusion, is this game worth checking out? the answer is yes, do not let the simplistic nature of this game fool you into overlooking it. While being simplistic the game itself offers personality, challenge, a witty sense of humor, amazing music, and decent story this game is truly a diamond in the rough. The only issues that are present with the game so far are the dull and crude art, the lack of any sound effects, it can be repetitive at times, the occasional luck of the draw, and some frustrating moments all in all the feats heavily outway the flaws.