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Review: Dungeon Twister

Posted by on July 3rd, 2012 | 1 Comment | Tags:

Count me as one of the people who have been looking at the world of designer board games from the outside desperately wanting in but just not having the local buddies or money to spend on such games. Or at least mostly it comes down to just not having enough people in my area to really make it a worth while investment. Which is too bad because there’s a ton of really cool looking board games out there I’d love to try. I think this is what’s so appealing about something like Dungeon Twister or any other board game being brought to a digital platform like PSN. A lower price for the same board game where you don’t have to worry about setting up the game or the clean-up afterwards and of course the ability to play with friends online rather than gathering people together at your home. If that sounds like something you want I think Dungeon Twister might be something you’d want to check out.

The game itself has a lot of different rules and strategies to go by but it’s not too entirely complicated. There’s a really lengthy tutorial (20 lessons in all) that takes you step by step everything that you need to know. I feel like the game could have shortened things to around 10 lessons and still done a great job of explaining things but it’s not a huge deal. It’ll take a some time to get through all 20 lessons but you can always just view the How to Play section if you’re not interested in going through all of them. In short Dungeon Twister takes place on a 4×2 grid in which each square is a section of the dungeon. These connect together to form a maze with multiple pathways, locked doors, lava traps, and more contraptions. The object is simple. Bring one of your characters from one side of the dungeon to the other or kill an enemy to score points. The first player to five points wins the game. Crossing to the other side of the dungeon or taking out an enemy will result in one point however if certain criteria are met you’ll be able to score additional points as well. For instance carrying a treasure chest to the end of the dungeon or scoring with the Goblin character will add an additional point to your total and bring you that much closer to winning.

Each turn in the game begins with you choosing an AP card numbered from 2-5. You must choose all of these cards before the hand is reshuffled so choosing 5 AP right off the bat might not always be wise since you won’t be able to use that card for a few turns. AP (action points) determine how many moves, attacks, dungeon twists you’ll be making for each turn. After drawing an AP card you’ll make your move until your AP is out and the other player will take their turn. Movement among character varies with certain characters (usually those that are weaker) moving farther than the stronger characters, such as the Troll, which are limited to moving just a couple of spaces. Each character has their own special ability that will come in handy when it comes to getting through the dungeon as well as surviving. The thief for instance can move quickly through the dungeon while also opening locked gates and jumping over lava squares, the cleric can be used to heal injured characters and the wall walker can, as her name implies, walk through walls. Combine these abilities with the items that are found throughout the dungeon and there’s a wealth of opportunity for many different strategies that will make each game played different from the last. Something I appreciate is the fact that Dungeon Twister is completely reliant on strategy. Luck is not a factor.

Crossing through the dungeon itself can vary in difficulty. Sometimes you might find a quick path out while in other situations you might find yourself totally trapped. Twisting sections of the dungeons is a really cool mechanic and sets up for some really fun times playing with friends online as each player continuously blocks the escape route. When you’re not twisting dungeons however you might find yourself in the midst of a battle. Attacking plays out simply enough. Each character has a set attack and set defense. When an attack begins you’ll choose a card (numbered from 0-6) which will be added to your character’s attack or defense depending on which side of the fight you’re on. You’ll only get to use these cards once so you’ll want to be careful just how soon you use that 6. Typically in some cases if you know you can’t win a fight it’s probably smarter to just use the 0 as that card is always available. Attacking plays out a short sequence in which each character fights each other and either lands a hit or completely misses. Usually if you’re following the game and paying attention it’s pretty simple to tell who’s going to win each fight in a few seconds. Actually killing an enemy however will take two victories in battle. This makes using your cleric wisely very important.

Dungeon Twister allows you to play offline against an AI opponent or online against one other friend. The AI isn’t entirely a push over but it’s not likely you’ll find much of a challenge just from playing on your own. There is a challenge mode which allows you to put a handicap on yourself to win points which is a cool addition but probably not where you’ll spend most of your time. One minor gripe, which I suppose goes towards the board game as well, is that I wish Dungeon Twister supported more than just two players. I’d love to get a four player match going but as of now that’s just not possible. (I only bring this up because it seems the board game itself actually got an expansion that allowed for up to four players to play at once. Something that I think would be a great addition to this game.) Minor complaints aside the multiplayer in Dungeon Twister is going to supply a lot of fun for people. There’s two different ways you can set up each game. You can have pieces automatically placed on the board or you can do the placing yourself. Placing pieces takes just about thirty seconds and lets you customize specific character and item placements on your own which works exactly as the board game does. From there you’ll play the game just as normal while revealing hidden pieces of the dungeon with each passing turn.

Besides the actual gameplay Dungeon Twister can be a little weird at times. I think back to that trailer that showed all of the characters dancing. The fact that the whole dancing thing is actually in the game left me a little shocked but at the same time I think it’s sort of awesome. Each character even has their own specific dance that they do when reaching the other side of the dungeon. Then there’s the grunts that each character makes as they move throughout the dungeon. Most of these are harmless but I’d be lying if I said the very manly and somewhat creepy grunt that the wall walker makes with each movement is really annoying. That being said I quite like the presentation and the game does a good job of ensuring that all necessary data is always being displayed on screen.

If you’re already a fan of Dungeon Twister I think you’ll be happy with the PSN version of this board game. It’ll definitely be nice to have for playing against friends online rather than locally. If you’ve never played the board game and have a passing interest in such things then I’d say give Dungeon Twister a shot. You won’t have to worry about getting people together to play and there’s no clean up involved. It might take some time to get through the lengthy tutorial but the game does a great job of taking you through everything that you need to know to prepare you for playing against others. And you will want to do so as playing the actual game against others as well as thinking up your own strategies results in a lot of fun and something I look forward to continue doing even after the review.

A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here. This review is for the PlayStation 3 version of the game.

General Info

  • With the board game having an expansion enabling up to 4 players it's too bad that the PSN version doesn't do the same.

  • Shawn Woods

    Nice to see a fair review from someone who knows something about the great board game. IGN’s review was horrible.