Roll with It

Real heroes fight with dice. That is to say, they roll up their attack numbers and then strike accordingly. They don’t whip dice at monsters, which is an entertaining but ultimately ineffective spectacle.

Tiny Dice Dungeon from Kongregate is a role-playing game with a battle system that utilizes the art of dice-throwing. You make your way across a monster-infested world, tame beasts to fight alongside you, rescue villagers, and call on Lady Luck as you roll dem bones. There’s a lot to do, and like gambling, it’s hellishly addictive. If it didn’t rely so heavily on ill-suited free-to-play mechanics, it’d be one of the best RPGs available for mobile.

Tiny Dice Dungeon

Tiny Dice Dungeon takes place in a broken land that’s been infested by hostile monsters. Humankind expanded outwards without much regard for the creatures living in the wilds, and said creatures pushed back in a big way. Now you must strike out and try to restore some semblance of peace to the world.

When you and your tamed monsters enter a battle, dice immediately begin rolling. The higher your roll, the higher your attack. There are also dice that provide additional effects, like healing, poisoning, and elemental damage.

You can roll as often as you want, but here’s the kicker: If you roll a one, your attack misses and you lose your turn. Rolling over and over again is therefore a risky gamble, but it can pay off in a big way if you’re lucky.

Your foes are bound to the same rules. If they roll a one, they also miss their turn. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as watching a giant boss build up a huge attack, only to lose it all on a bad roll. Feel free to point and laugh when this happens.

Tiny Dice Dungeon

Tiny Dice Dungeon is simple but exciting, and its enemies, drawn up in the nostalgic style of 8-bit sprites, are creative and clever (there’s a snake enemy named “Hayter.” Geddit?). It’s therefore a shame that we can’t just pay a few bucks for the whole thing and avoid the free-to-play trappings.

To be fair, said trappings aren’t so bad in Tiny Dice Dungeon. There is an energy system, but it doesn’t slam the door on you when you run low. You’re allowed to keep on playing, but you can’t collect your usual loot reward at a dungeon’s end.

Nevertheless, finding the uncut dice and dice shards necessary for building new dice takes a good deal of grinding – unless you pay up. Without better, more powerful dice, you can expect to find yourself outclassed pretty quickly. It leads to unpleasant moments when you’re forced to wonder, “Would I be progressing faster if this was a paid game?”

Tiny Dice Dungeon is still very much worth a roll if you’re a fan of RPGs. There’s a compelling balance here that calls on your skills as well as luck. Maybe the game can still be considered a form of gambling, but don’t worry. We won’t tell your mom.