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Monday, April 02, 2007

Game Play: Dungeon Runners

Thanks to the quite wonderful Brinstar, I got a Dungeon Runners beta via MMORPG.com. I just sneaked in at the last of the giveaway late last night - so they may all be gone now.

I only played for about twenty minutes or so, so I can't say this is any kind of definitive review. Dungeon Runners aims to be an MMO lite. It has a free client, like Guild Wars, so there isn't barrier to entry when it comes to price or playing around with the game. The graphics are simple and should run on most hardware out there at some setting or another (the 7600 GS can play it at full tilt). The gameplay is decidedly reminiscent of Diablo - very much a clickfest of attacks. There are MMO style skills and powers which work in the classic sense of having a timer to indicate when they can be reused.

The theme is also directed at the casual gamer. Nothing in Dungeon Runners takes itself too seriously. There is a demon named Karl on your HUD to tell you how many more points to your next level. Items have bizarre qualities like "ludicrous speed" or "something of penguin". The two-handed sword I'm carrying right now is made of cardboard, that kind of thing. It isn't really laugh out loud funny - if anything it could push the cartoony graphics and humor even more - but it does serve well to lighten the mood and add some fun to a genre constantly in danger of taking itself too seriously.

I haven't tried playing with a group because I want to get the hang of the interface first. And for the interface nazi's out there - Dungeon Runners is definately a mixed bag. You can't move UI elements around as has become common. The keybinds don't appear to be customizable. At times combat seems to get needlessly confusing - a number or graphic will appear and you aren't sure what it means.

Plus, signs of the beta status are quite present. I think you can have only one character at a time and currently there isn't a way to "respec" skills (unlike Guild Wars where you can swap out builds while in a town).

Still, I think I'm leaning more to trying Dungeon Runners for a spell than jumping back into Guild Wars. I still believe Guild Wars is pretty brilliant, but I'm finding it hard to jump back in. Maybe if I get Nightfall I might change my mind, but at the moment Dungeon Runners feels like the kind of MMO fling I might desire. No commitment, little obligation.

They have a referral system and I aim to send out a couple tonight. If anyone wants to try it out, let me know. I think they have a waiting list of unknown size at the moment, however.

4 comments:

Brinstar said...

I haven't tried DR, though it doesn't really appeal to me. Too goofy, maybe? I've been a bit busy lately, and unpublished blog posts are piling up. I'm going to get to that tonight. :-) Glad you're enjoying it so far.

Josh said...

What's odd is that the goofy is very exterior. My sword says its cardboard, but it doesn't look like it. The best way I can describe it is that it isnt Diablo with silly hats, but serious hats with silly names.

It lacks everything that makes Guild Wars feel epic, however. Graphics, story, everything.

Or maybe to put it this way: where Guild Wars filled a niche for people not quite wanting to commit to a full MMO, Dungeon Runners is for people not wanting to commit to Guild Wars.

I'm totally overexplaining this :)

seether said...

I'd love to give it a try if you want to send an invite my way.

Josh said...

Shoot cathodemail@gmail.com a note and I'll try to remember to send a referral tonight.

Course, I don't know how long the waiting list currently might be.