Don’t you just love it..when a company takes two ideas and fuses them together in such a way,that the final result,is something considerably unique and fresh?
If I was to say,that we get a procedurally generated dungeon game,with random runs to collect gold and treasures. Taking out enemies and progressing through a dungeon map until you reach an end of level boss,that you must defeat to progress. Then take on a new map,getting better equipment and loot on the way,until you die and have to start all over again,you’d probably roll your eyes. You’ve probably got countless titles of this genre,and pass up on ever considering getting more,but let’s hold on a second…
Anyone remember and play the game Peggle? Or spend hours playing the mobile title Papa Pear Saga from the makers of Candy Crush?
If those are unfamiliar to some of you, the premise behind those games is a simple one. From the top of the screen,you drop a bouncing ball down and through a random collection of peg type obstacles in a pinball orientated way,where contact and bouncing around,removes those pegs on your way to the bottom of the screen. Each shot amassing points and combos as you drop,incorporating accurate ball physics and pinpoint precision,targeting,strategy and a good degree of luck!
Melding the two,comes this latest title,Roundguard. A prime example of taking two genres and expertly crafting a gameplay experience that works on all levels and then some..!
You take your character from a total of three characters.All different in terms of attack,health and abilities and difficulty,and particularly for the purpose of this review, a warrior type class. Then proceed to take on a dungeon map of various areas and eventually to the boss at the bottom of the map.
At the top of each area,comes your medieval looking fire cannon complete with firing line to align your shot. Press fire when ready and off your character projectile goes and bounces..
Each standard peg though,is replaced here with items of gold,enemies,red health potions and blue mana potions. Your main objective is to collect all the gold and treasures from each area,whilst bounce attacking and killing all the enemies and most importantly,using as less health and taking as less damage as possible.
Players really need careful planning and strategic thinking and a good degree of luck,taking each shot to amass bouncing combos to increase your gold multiplier,whilst avoiding dangers from enemy attacks and gaining potions on the way down.
Further danger is increased by the standard line of spikes at the bottom of each area. A moving cushion platform will of course,prevent any loss of health from the spikes,should you be lucky enough to land on it and bounce out of danger. Miss it though and each drop comes at a further penalty of a loss of that precious and vital health.
Not all the odds are against you though. Your character can equip relics,that they find through dungeon progression,granting certain buffs like reduced damage or increase in gold. Equip the items collected in dungeon runs,like better weapons or armour with certain status effects,like stun,bleed or poison. Then there are attack/magic abilities that can be randomly found,collected and equipped like spinning attacks/instant stun/instant kill or gold multiplier(you press the relevant button as you drop and bounce in the area)at the cost of mana each time you use them.
What’s instantly noticeable,is the amount of extras included on top of the main game experience during each run. You will encounter various characters in between each map area that look similar to the mogwai from the Gremlins franchise. These characters offer rewards after some delightfully humorous and sarcastic narrative exchanges between themselves and your main character. One will tempt you with a special box containing a special relic or treasure for completing certain objectives,like killing 10 skeletons in a run or killing a number of enemies in one drop. Another standard character will intervene at a progression point,standing next to a game show wheel. In a clever little interlude,the amount of gold you’ve collected so far is presented on an accumulator gauge and the quantity peels off blank segments of the wheel to reveal a question mark. Obviously the more gold,the more segments are revealed and the more chances to win a prize when it spins. Prizes can be relics or special abilities to use and equip for the next run.
Roundguard is a perfect example of how games should be done. It has slick presentation,style and runs without any issues whatsoever.
The graphics are nicely detailed and tinged with little touches (the smile on the face of your character is great, as he bounces on the bottom cushion towards you) .Music is a chirpy little background tune with some decent in game sound effects to boot,as characters clash.
When it comes to the gameplay itself,it’s a massively addictive experience. Hit 0 on your health bar and the whole playthrough is finished,with the total amount of gold earned from your run,taken and placed on an online leaderboard. So you can see how you’ve fared compared to other players from around the world,granting many encouraging repeating runs and a huge amount of replay value.
If you tire of the main campaign (what’s wrong with you?) there’s also daily and weekly puzzles carrying different themes and objectives. One hilarious Xmas themed daily,involved the pegs being snowballs and your character collecting snow as you grew into a giant snowball,bouncing and navigating down through alternating crosswinds,as you try to amass gold and attack enemies. It’s really just staggering on the amount of content in this title and on offer here!
Overall, this a Peggle/Dungeon crawler rpg fusion that excels on every level. It may seem a stretch at its $20 price tag,and yet there’s still an amazing amount to do here with the overall quality and addictive nature of this game,warranting the asking price.
Thanks to Wonderbelly Games for the code.