A bog-standard dungeon-crawler
When you imagine what the average dungeon-crawler plays like, you most likely picture a game that looks identical to Hell, The Dungeon Again! This turn-based dungeon-em-up from Anton Skvortsov is the very definition of a dungeon crawler, with all of the elements that make up the genre clearly polished up and spat out in regular, as-you’d-expect succession.
You know what you’re going to get with Hell, The Dungeon Again!, make no bones about it – this is a tightly-designed experience that takes homage from dozens of other dungeon crawlers, and does much of it right. What this game doesn’t do is, well, anything very new at all. If you’re looking for a run-of-the-mill dungeon-goer, then Hell, The Dungeon Again! is your poison – but anyone looking for a more unique, bold, and clever take on the genre won’t find those traits here.
There’s an evil presence in the church nearby, and you’ve been chosen as the hero who will dive in there and save the village. Once you’ve equipped yourself with some sweet kicks and sharp blades, it’s time to jump in and graft your way through multiple floors of things that want to kill you.
Everything is as you’d expect. Each floor is randomly-generated, as is the enemy placement, treasure placement, and boss selections. Moving around the dungeons is a case of tapping in the direction you want to go, then bashing enemies over and over again until they hit the deck.
Hell, The Dungeon Again! offers three character classes to choose from, and a small range of skills that you can level up and utilize. A really nice touch is how your health and your current experience are shown as polar opposites of each other, meaning that you can more easily track how close you are to death versus how far away you are from the next level.
Notably, this is not a roguelike dungeon-crawler – at least, not to begin with. When you die, you are simply taken back to the start of the floor as if nothing happened. This is going to please some people, and completely put others off. Losing that sense of risk and urgency was a bit of a turn-off for me, personally. You do unlock permadeath once you’ve completed the game on normal mode, but that takes a while, and you’ll most likely have stopped playing the game before then.
That’s because, as polished and well crafted as Hell, The Dungeon Again! is, it doesn’t really offer anything at all that we haven’t already played dozens of times before. You’re simply walking around randomly, tapping enemies over and over until they are dead, picking up the loot, perhaps equipping some new items, and then heading on your way. There’s nothing wildly exciting about anything that this game has to show that other dungeon-crawlers over the last few decades haven’t already done.
Even the special monsters that you meet aren’t much cop – they are simply another case of hitting an enemy over and over again, but for slightly longer this time. The special skills you have do an OK job of mixing the action up, as you have to tactically use them at specific intervals such that they’ll be available for use later on – but then these can’t make me want to play Hell, The Dungeon Again! over a rift of other similar games.
If you’re completely new to the dungeon-crawling genre, then Hell, The Dungeon Again! is a good place to start. But anyone who already has experience with these sorts of games will most likely want to look elsewhere.