Rogue-lites have been rather popular lately and their mechanics seem to be popping up in every genre. Dungeon Hearts attempts to fuse dungeon crawling gameplay with a match 3 system. This isn’t the first time this has been done, we’ve seen Dungeon Raid and 10,000,000 do the same, but Dungeon Hearts eschews the traditional static board in favor of a moving play space. Unfortunately the game falls just short of enjoyable.

The core gameplay revolves around a four-lane board and gems moving from the right of the screen to the left. Players are tasked with freely moving the gems together to make colored matches. These matches create attack gems and can be activated anytime in the future to deal damage. When clicked on, they activate any attack gems that are in the same row or column creating attack chains which increase damage dealt exponentially. This sounds pretty easy but can get pretty intense once the various enemy tiles and unmovable tiles begin to fill the screen. The system actually works fairly well and I found myself frequently thinking several moves ahead and pulling off some rather nice chain attacks. The issues begin to rise after playing for a while. You will notice that the only actions for this game are moving your mouse and clicking, and you will perform these actions constantly as there is no downtime other than manually pausing. The game can get pretty quick and all of this mouse movement tended to put quite a strain on my wrist. I had to take a break every 30 minutes or so due to wrist pain. The game is available for iOS and I feel that touch input would be a better suited control method for this game.

The strategy of the game never changes. There are a handful of damage spells that use tapping mini-games to increase damage output but only two spells that actually affect the board. Outside of activating spells there is only one strategy, make as many attack gems as you can and line them up to activate at once before an enemy gem gets to your party. And you better find this engaging enough to do for hours because that is the only viable strategy. Single attack gems deal such a miniscule amount of damage and there isn’t any way to influence the board or the gems. There is, however, a little meta game consisting of a very limited skill tree for each class. The upgrades consist of either increased stats or spell improvements but are so minute they barely affect the gameplay. They are unlocked by using XP which is gained after each playthrough. The rate I found was about 10 XP per hour and some of the upgrades were 200 or 300 XP. I’m hoping the XP gain rate is much higher once you start playing hard difficulty but the game doesn’t interest me enough to grind to the point where bard is actually playable.

Gameplay aside, Dungeon Hearts has some fantastic music. I’m serious about this. The soundtrack is free with the game purchase and I listen to it all of the time. There are even five different genres of music you can choose for your dungeon crawling and they are all really well done. The art is well done but a tad bit generic and nothing really memorable.

At the end of the day it is difficult to recommend this title on PC. The gameplay doesn’t lend itself well to mouse input due to wrist fatigue and the gameplay isn’t engrossing enough to hold my attention for more than a few minutes. This is one of those instances where the platform makes the difference. I could see myself enjoying this in small spurts on my phone or tablet while waiting in line at a grocery store but the experience crumbles on the PC.

 

Review: Dungeon Hearts
Pros
  • Interesting concept
  • Amazing Music
Cons
  • Poor Input
  • Method Repetitious
5Overall Score
Reader Rating: (0 Votes)
0.0

About The Author

Contributor

Bryan is fascinated with the potential of video games as a story telling medium, both through narrative and mechanics. He loves playing games with deep systems and mechanics, giving players lots of room to tinker in the games in search of optimization. This has led him to favor fighting games and RPG though he has a soft spot for fast paced FPS titles and their twitchy, reaction based skill set. Outside of video games he enjoys programming, fiction writing, and music composition and performance.

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