Dungeonland is an interesting mash-up of hack ‘n slash and strategy genres. On one hand, gamers join up with other players (or computers) to combat waves and waves of enemies, using class-specific abilities to combat their way through each level. On the other hand, Dungeonland is an extremely multiplayer-focused game. To effectively survive through each level, teams really have to work together to combine talents in the most efficient manner. Whether that means using some healing spell or using a fire wall to knock-back enemies off of your allies, teamwork is vital to make your way from level to level.
The graphics in Dungeonland are nothing spectacular. Granted this game was developed using the Unity Engine, which in itself doesn’t exactly lend itself to amazing graphical capabilities, and certainly has never been confused with others, such as the Unreal or Crytek game engines. It’s not to say that gamers haven’t played several Unity games that have actually had pretty decent graphics; Dungeonland was simply not one of them, even holding it to the low standard of Unity developed games.
The player models feel clunky and poorly designed. Sure, each definitely has a “character” that distinguishes them from the other, but in reality they are just poorly made, goofy looking models. Regardless of the fact that they give each class their own flair and character, their design still seems to detract from the game rather than add anything of value to it. While the enemies may be highly varied in color and aesthetic, they too feel overly goofy and detrimental to the game’s overall presentation. Spells and abilities are the only piece of graphical content done in a manner that contribute to the feel of the game in positive manner. Spells just feel good in this game. When casting something, one expects something flashy to come up on the screen, indicating positive action within the game. For instance, when using a chain lighting spell, there were several chains of lighting coursing through entire mobs, providing an extremely satisfying feeling at the end of the fight such that most gamers will recognize that they actually did something effective with their abilities to further their team’s progress.
Given that Dungeonland is supposed to be a kind of carnival spoof with widely over-the-top characters, it seems logical that the game would provide goofy, whimsical music. Fortunately, the audio is one of the best parts of this game. Not only does it fit perfectly with the aesthetics of the game, but it really puts the player in the mindset that the world they are playing in is intentionally crazy and silly. Now, whether the game is crazy and silly is a completely different matter. Suffice it to say that the music does set a good tone for the game, regardless of whether the gameplay can effectively follow up on this. Aside from the music, another strength of Dungeonland is the witty quips the “Dungeon Master” relays to the players through the intercoms.
There isn’t too much innovation when it comes to Dungeonland and the way it plays. Yes, it is extremely focused around multiplayer, but some might find that to be more of a hindrance than helpful. When playing with one other friend and a bot, it was plain to see that the bot wasn’t always as helpful as another human player would have been. With this in mind, when not playing with two other friends, it will be seriously lacking in how effectively one can maneuver through the levels. On top of this, there are also only a few difficulty levels, the easiest of them being “Hard” which, is extremely hard. We had difficulty making it through the first few levels just because the sheer amount of enemies would overwhelm us far before we could even get close to clearing them out.
Dungeonland definitely has the potential to be something extremely fun and enjoyable, but the only way to make this happen is to play with two friends, and avoid the artificial intelligence altogether. The whimsical nature of the game is fun and enjoyable when first diving in, but the charm wears off after a couple hours. The game is extremely repetitive and, because it is extremely difficult right off the bat, can be really frustrating trying to get a feel for the controls and the game in general when you have to constantly worry about being killed. Overall, Dungeonland is underwhelming, but fun if played with some friends. Nevetheless, the game gets old fast because of the steep level of difficulty.