Alchemic Dungeons (Nintendo 3DS) Review

By Drew Hurley 16.07.2017

Review for Alchemic Dungeons on Nintendo 3DS

After some success in porting its Ninja Smasher game from phone to 3DS, developer Q-Cumber is bringing a semi-turn-based, rogue-like, old school, dungeon-crawling RPG to 3DS in Alchemic Dungeons. Clearly taking its cues from the 1985 cult classic arcade title, Gauntlet, this puts some new twists on the classic gameplay, adding procedurally generated levels and a big crafting system to create quite the niche release, but is there an audience for this on 3DS, or should it stay on smartphones? Cubed3 finds out!

Like the many classic fantasy games that inspired it, Alchemic Dungeons opens on the option of a character to play as, the familiar archetypes by other names; the Warrior, Wizard, Archer, and Valkyrie here being replaced with Fighter, Hunter, Dwarf and Witch. Each has slightly different stats but not really noticeable enough to make much of an impact on the overall gameplay. They each start with different equipment, too; the Witch in her robe with her staff that fires out ranged attacks compared to the Dwarf in his heavy armour and carrying his axe. Despite this assigned starting equipment, every class is able to equip any item it sees fit to craft.

Once a character is selected, it's out into the procedurally generated series of stage after stage. These are stuffed to bursting with enemies that range from simple critters like snakes and bats, through to fantasy classics like goblins, kobolds and so on. The combat being turn-based makes it quite easy at first; even when enemies gain ranged attacks and DoTs, it just requires a little bit of thought, although it gives a more enjoyable challenge in the later stages when suddenly huge mobs can appear upon entering a room. These "Pandemonium" rooms provide some frantic and fun areas.

Screenshot for Alchemic Dungeons on Nintendo 3DS

The turn-based gameplay impacts more than just the combat in the gameplay, it gives a lot of originality to many aspects. Every step restores a little health, while also costing a little hunger from a meter that needs to be refilled by chowing down on the mushroom and animal parts rustled up along the way. Items collected up are a big part of the gameplay, too, thanks to a crafting system that can be used to make weapons and armour, along with potions, food and magical stones to enchant the armour. Initially, this is rather limited, with just stone arrows and copper blades. Completing each level rewards a coloured gem that expands the crafting catalogue, and subsequent levels offer up new crafting materials to utilise.

There are some problems with the crafting aspects, though, and they are due to the procedural nature of the adventure. It's often rather easy to end up with some equipment that makes the whole affair too simple. Enchanting weapons with life-stealing abilities and health-restoring armour makes most of the game very basic, especially with some ridiculously overpowered items like teleportation potions. The ease of acquiring gear is one problem but the opposite is another. After completing each level, the slate is wiped clean; no weapons, levels or skills are carried over, and there's no way at all to keep any progress. It's a poor design decision.

Stylistically, Alchemic Dungeons takes clear inspiration from the '80s arcade games like Gauntlet, combined with SNES-era RPGs, but with a very amateur-ish filter over the whole thing. It's serviceable enough but, definitely, has nothing that makes it stand above its phone incarnation or indeed any of the countless other phone games of the same style.

Screenshot for Alchemic Dungeons on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

While very niche, Alchemic Dungeons offers quite the fun and intrinsically addictive little experience. Sadly, though, it's also a fundamentally flawed title thanks to the regular poor design decisions that litter the entire experience. A little extra effort put into this port with more unlockables, some way to carry things over to subsequent play-throughs and ideally more difficulty options would have made this really stand out.

Developer

Flyhigh Works

Publisher

Circle

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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