As you can tell from my review last week
, I'm a D&D fan. So, of course, my heart is a bit torn when I see so many D&D licensed games over the years either tank or fail to meet expectations. But that hasn't stopped other game developers from taking those same principals and adapting them in various ways. Any tactics-based game is essentially using the same system; it's just cleaned up with figures to fill the void of imagination. Dozens of these games come out every year, but few rise up and become fun to play without tons of tasks and chores getting in the way. The latest in this type of genre is Super Dungeon Tactics
from Underbite Games
, released on Dec. 14.
The basic plot to Super Dungeon Tactics
is that you're adventuring through a land called Crystalia
, which got its start the way a lot of mystical lands do: magic! At some point in time, the Dark Consul created a weapon called the Midnight Blade that opened a portal to the Dark Realm, where all the nasty stuff lives. Of course, all the monsters came out and started wreaking havoc on the land, so we need heroes to wage war on them and cast them out by any means necessary. You start the game with two heroes you get to name: a dwarven male warrior and a human woman mage
. The game uses text boxes and still frame animation to tell the story of these warriors as they make their way through Crystalia's
Your characters start on a grid battlefield where you can pick them up with your mouse and move them where they need to go. From there, you can choose which enemy to attack, but choose your position wisely, as you'll be attacked following your turn in combat. The game uses a few different mechanics in order to make combat happen. First, you choose your positioning; then some power dice are rolled to add extra abilities to your characters; then you're given the chance to move your characters around and decide their attacks and actions. Much like D&D, people and enemies move at different times, as determined by the game. Every battle will come with a set of objectives for you to accomplish in the battle, like putting out fires or rescuing people from capture.
Once you complete a battle in Super Dungeon Tactics
, you'll return to your guild in the first town you help out. It is here where you'll equip yourself with new items and build a formidable team of warriors from the characters in the game who come to help you, or show gratitude for something you've accomplished by joining you. As your party grows, you'll be able to take more people into battles that might have been too hard with three people, but will be extremely easy with six. The overall goal of the game, aside from defeating the end boss and completing the main story, is to clear the map of all challenges, and get as many rewards and fighters along the way as possible.
Unfortunately, the story kind of misses the mark. Because it's done in a text-based system, it reminds me too much of anime story games, where you have to read a ton of text that serves no purpose other than trying to define characters. Since these characters are only rudimentary, there's no depth to explore or personality to build on, so you're reading a bunch of text that doesn't apply to you at all. You could click the Skip button and not really miss a thing, because the next battle will explain everything about the tasks you need to do. If they went the extra mile and got some voice acting, it might make these areas slightly bearable. Instead, it's just a lot of text to click through.
Super Dungeon Tactics
is a pretty good game with a lot going for it and is super kid-friendly, so even those just getting into the RPG elements will pick up on it quickly. If you don't mind getting through the storyline elements, it's a total blast. Sadly, that's the one area that drags the game down, and makes things become a chore after a while. I will say that it was fun having an entire team to choose from, as it reminded me a little of the Suikoden
series. Give it a shot and see what you think.