One or two more changes could help this promising roguelike.
As a huge fan of roguelikes the Switch has been like a cornucopia of pain and suffering thus far, but in a good way. What’s great about them is that they allow for the recombining of the same elements to produce an experience and outcome that is a bit different every time. Finding the right balance of randomness, risk versus reward, and difficulty is always tricky but for fans they’re almost always a good time. One More Dungeon takes a crack at the formula on the Switch mixing an old school FPS along the lines of Doom (weirdly with 2D figures in a 3D space) and a few action RPG elements as well. The result isn’t too bad but it certainly has some quirks you should be mindful of.
You’ll start out by choosing your mutators (if you have sufficient points from your previous run) and from there you’re pretty well on your own. You always start with a dagger and a staff that will shoot one of 3 elemental attacks and everything else you’ll have to work with on the current run will be a matter of luck in what you find or salvage from slain monsters. Your melee attack can be tricky at best, with your attack range being limited, and you’ll likely sometimes struggle to line up your enemies well from left to right. Smaller targets like bats or rats, in particular, can be a real nuisance. Each level will have a “boss monster” of some sort that you’ll need to kill in order to get a seal that will open the door to the next level.
While the style of play sometimes feels a bit like an RPG there’s no leveling so in some ways it can seem a bit strange and lacking in progress. You’ll happen upon a random piece of gear to help you out every once in awhile but for the most part you have the core of what you started with to make work for you. While I understand the nature of roguelikes is some degree of randomness, the situation with what you’d encounter seemed a bit more haphazard than normal. I would consistently find locked chests but not necessarily ever keys and I’d have some runs with plentiful potions and others with nothing to speak of. The somewhat wide swings produce some interesting and productive runs but it also makes you feel less skilled in the process. Just something in the formula seems to need a little more normalizing.
In terms of criticism, the first and foremost would be that even after quite a number of runs there were elements of the game I didn’t understand completely. There are orbs you can pick up, and if you find a portal you can get quite a few of them, but I wasn’t ever entirely clear what they were for. The mini-map is rudimentary, and you’ll likely find you’ll need it, but since it is centered on the screen it obscures your view. It would have been more useful had it been perhaps a little smaller and offset. I also wish I was able to better understand the attack range of monsters as well as your own melee attack. Moving in for a hit and then backing off tended to work but in general the animations are clumsy enough that it is unclear when you’re going to connect and with the monsters you have no real visual indication whatsoever.
Overall One More Dungeon is an interesting take on how to make a roguelike dungeon crawler that has a look and feel all its own. I appreciate what it is trying to do, and some aspects of the design were unexpected. Unfortunately as a whole there are also elements that feel unrefined and not necessarily complete. With a patch or two I think it could still have room for improvement but as it is I’d say it is likely an acquired taste, even for roguelike fans.