May 31, 2010
Dungeon Hunter HD ($6.99) by Gameloft is a role-playing hack-and-slash game similar in many respects to the classic game Diablo. The initial storyline in a nutshell is: you are a prince who has been resurrected from the dead to fight evil and go on many quests. Ultimately this game isn't about the plot, it's about hacking and slashing your way through dungeon after dungeon and battle after battle having fun as you go.
OverviewThe app is available for iPhone and as an "HD" version for the iPad. The game content is virtually the same for both and the game mechanics of both are quite similar as well. Other than the larger graphics of the HD version there are but a few differences. Though there are only a few differences, they are significant in terms of quality of gameplay. The biggie here is precisely that; while everything is small and cramped in the iPhone version there is lots more room for bigger controls in the HD version and everything can be spaced out compared to the iPhone version. There is an onscreen map in the HD version and the virtual stick can be repositioned to the user's liking if so desired. The graphics in the iPhone version are quite nice but they are really great in the HD version for the iPad.
DetailsThe game starts with a screen that lets you select from one of the three classes to play as. The choices being warrior, which as the name implies is a fighter, there is the rogue who is more agile, and there is the mage who relies more on using magic during battle. After your selection there is ho-hum an introductory movie of a bit more than a minute that sets the stage for the adventure to come. From there we awakened from death to start our quests. The quests start immediately and they are many. The game, as expected of this genre, includes lots of fighting, lots of collecting of treasure, spell casting and all that fun stuff. There are many locations to explore and many different foes to vanquish along the way. You probably will die a few times in the process too!
ControlsDungeon Hunter can be controlled by the aforementioned on screen virtual joystick or movement can be controlled simply by tapping where you want to go. Taping an enemy initiates battle if you're using the tap method. If you're using the joystick, taping the attack button starts the fight. Also, on the right side are the spell casting buttons which can be set to scroll so that it is easy to chose the correct spell in the heat of battle. There is a lot of customization available in Dungeon Hunter and lefties haven't been forgotten; the controls can be reversed with the buttons to the left and the joystick on the right.
At the top left of the screen is a portrait of our brave character along with three "thermometer like" indicators and a number in a circle to the right. The top, red indicator is your health. As you suffer damage in a battle that red bar will shorten. If it disappears completely you have "died" and are destined to start the level over from the beginning. The second, blue bar, is your mana. When that runs down you won't be able to cast any spells. One of the cool things is that over time both health and mana regenerate themselves. Taking a few moments after a battle will allow these to recharge. If either is getting dangerously low in the heat of battle that's where the number in the circle comes in, that's the number of health potions you have available. Pressing that circle uses a potion and regenerates both health and mana. The last indicator bar is shorter and green. As you earn experience points on your quests this bar will increase in length giving a visual indicator as to how close you are getting to achieving the next level. Clicking on the portrait of our alter-ego brings up a whole host of information about our character such as level, statistics, spells, equipment, and quests. There really is a lot of depth here.
As mentioned before, there is lots of customization available in the game, you can control how points are allocated to strength, dexterity, endurance and energy when you level up. You can control a whole array of equipment that is worn by your character. If you don't want to get too involved in the "equipment game" there is an "Auto-Equip All" button that automatically equips the best piece of equipment in each category. In the options you can select different classes of items to be automatically be turned into gold rather than carry around items that will just take up space before selling them at one of the towns vendors, though a vendor will pay more for the items.
The BreakdownThe Good If you enjoy role-playing adventures, hacking and slashing your way through quests and dark and creepy dungeons this is the game for you. There really is a lot to like here, the graphics are great, the game play is fun and the frame rate is good. Dungeon Hunter will appeal to the more casual gamer as it is relatively easy to get started and to avoid dying too often. For the more seasoned, serious RPG gamer there is good depth with all the options for assigning leveling points, using equipment as well as screen layout and controls. The Bad On the negative side: if you are playing the iPhone version and receive a phone call while playing, it will mean going back to the beginning of your current level. There is no save mechanism, games are automatically saved upon completion of each level. I'm not sure why Gameloft hasn't employed an auto-save or manual save scheme but they haven't. Real life sometimes doesn't afford us the luxury of time to play through an entire level. Fortunately the levels aren't extremely long.
The VerdictIf you're an iPhone user of Dungeon Hunter and have played through the game there isn't much new here to recommend the additional purchase of the iPad version other than enjoying the great graphics and more spacious layout while perhaps playing as other classes. If you're an iPad owner and don't own Dungeon Hunter I'd give this a definite thumbs up and recommend you buy it, it's a lot of fun and looks great on the iPad!