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A Proper Review of DUNGEN [Star]

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My green fingers sweat on the handle of my pistol as I creep through the door, into the next room. I found two boxes of ammunition in the previous room so I’m well equipped for the next horrible monster I encounter. My grip on the pistol tightens as a horrible three-legged spherical thing jumps down from the ceiling, pirouetting to land on its feet and shooting a stream of acidic liquid at me.

“Oof,” is all I manage to get out, as I feel the Burster’s fluid eat into my skin. Without thinking I fire at it, killing the thing in two shots.

While reloading my pistol, I notice a glowing jewel on the stone. If it’s what the briefings said, this is the teleport stone that will allow me to phase out of our normal reality just long enough to escape the next deadly monster I encounter in DUNGEN [Star].

(Please excuse my lame attempt at illustrating play with a .gif).

Last week, I posted an overview of my favorite #procjam games. I felt remissed when I got a tweet from the designer, asking whether I had actually printed and played the game. I hadn’t and neither had any of the other reviewers who praised it. So, this week I took some time to cut out the cards on my computer, effectively making a print-and-play game I could play in Illustrator without bothering to print it out.

After the initial time investment, DUNGEN [Star], a print-and-play game designed by @JctWood for the #paperjam, #procjam, and #7dfps gamejams, plays quickly. Especially if you are brave enough to choose the roguelike secret difficulty level of starting with 1HP. Add to that, the advanced enemy rules, which give the monsters more personality on top of their already evocative illustrations and you’ve got a challenging game.

I’m a fan of the cartoonish art style of DUNGEN [Star]. The character design does a good job of communicating interesting variety, even though there are few monsters to go up against.

DUNGEN [Star] runs out of steam quickly, but I think the intent behind it is clear. This game does a good job of bringing the feel of a procedural first-person shooter with roguelike elements to the print-and-play market. I think extending the combat to involve multiple weapons would add some depth to the game. I would like to see more enemies, particularly ones with more interesting advanced enemy rules. I’d also like to see an overarching goal or theme tying together DUNGEN [Star]’s dungeoning and star, so you feel more satisfied when you survive the dungeon. With that criticism said, I still think DUNGEN [Star] succeeds as a gamejam game and a great prototype from which to build.