PSN Review: Dungeon Twister

No, this is not Mortal Kombat 3.

Dungeon Twister is a Playstation Network conversion of a French-designed board game. The premise is to score five VP (Victory Points) before your opponent does by either escaping the dungeon with any of your eight characters or killing one of your opponents for a point. There’s a diverse selection of characters to utilize, each with their own abilities. The rooms on the gameboard all rotate via a gear placed on a random square. This, coupled with the randomly generated layouts, promises a different experience each time you play. On paper, this game sounds compelling.

The basic mechanics are learned through a series of well-designed, albeit long,  tutorials. It starts with basic movement, and ends with you knowing all of the ins and outs of the characters, items and board. For impatient people, it is doubtful you will  make it through the tutorials as the whole process will consume quite a bit of time. If, however, you are patient enough to make it through this trial, you’ll be rewarded with layer-upon-layer of strategic goodness.

The eight characters each have an ability, though some are near-identical as others. For example, the Warrior can smash porticulus’ while the Thief can unlock them. Thankfully, each character has their own stats to use to different advantages. The Thief has more range and lacks the combat values of the Warrior.

Different items are strewn about the dungeon you are trying to escape, which help you traverse the dangers of the dungeon or give you bonus combat values or victory points. These items are placed at the beginning of the game, one of the many layers of strategy to Dungeon Twister.

One thing I learned the hard way was to not take the set up process lightly. Placing characters at your side of the board is just as important as placing the remaining characters and items that are scattered throughout the game board. Your purpose in Dungeon Twister is two-fold; stopping the other team from scoring five victory points is just as much a primary objective as trying to score points yourself. You must have a strong defensive line while you make your push forward.

Movement is partitioned out by picking an action card at the beginning of your turn, ranging  in value from two to five. If you pick the five card, you are allowed five actions during your turn. This could be movement, attacking, turning a room or using a special skill. The strategy here is  planning your attack well and not stopping at a point in which your characters are vulnerable. So you get all of your ducks in a row by picking the smaller AP cards, then play out lengthy turns that actually benefit you.

Combat, like the rest of the game, has plenty of depth to it. At first, it seems to be a matter of picking the highest value card. Of course I’m getting ahead of myself. Whether attacking or defending, you draw from a deck of combat cards that add to your attack or defense. Once used, said-card disappears from the deck until all of the cards have been used. So that super-powerful six card can only be used once and then it’s gone for quite some time, most likely the remainder of the game (I never had match long enough to necessitate refilling my combat deck). These values adjust your characters values, and the person with the highest end-result wins the scuffle.

Twist and shout!

The strategy to combat is counting cards, and picking your battles. If you are in a weak position and it’s early game, you can play a super-low card, like a zero, and bluff your opponent into using a higher card. At that point, you make a mental note of the card he used and use that to your advantage later.

As you can see, there’s a lot going for Dungeon Twister. With plenty of gameplay for solo players, you can take to the online field and really test your skills. The problem with this is there aren’t a lot of people playing at this point in time. So unless you know some friends playing, prepare for a mostly-single player experience.

With the aesthetics, complete with dancing characters, it’s hard to take Dungeon Twister as serious as it should be taken. You can’t help but feel like some of the corny animations were just an afterthought. The dancing goblin, to be more specific, is a strong contender for “Facepalm Moment of the Year.” I can appreciate a game for trying to be cheesy and goofy, but when your game is a serious and strategic board game, your aethetics should match that.

There’s a deep, intricate system to learn in this game, but the lackluster graphics keep it from being something that can be completely immersive. That said, fans of strategic board games should have little-to-no trouble finding some enjoyment in Dungeon Twister.

Pros:

  • A well developed board game turned into a game
  • Great price point at $9.99 USD
  • Limitless gameplay

Cons:

  • Graphics look very dated
  • Hard to find a random online game
  • Dancing characters surpass even my level of corniness
  • A lot to take in if you don’t have the patience to learn the game

Score: 3/5

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Author: Don Parsons View all posts by
Starting out as a founding member of Gamingcore Podcast, Don ventured on to start Gameciety; which began as a podcast, and ended as a blog. Don now handles Vagary.tv's PR work, is part of the reviews staff and has various other little projects he does for the site.
  • Gamethyme

    Worth noting: Combat cards do not recycle. Once used, they are gone forever (with the exception of the +0).