Developer: Robert Cober
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store
Searching out unique and interesting games in the App Store is sometimes daunting, especially with some games and their developers getting more press than others. If you’re looking for something a little bit different in the $0.99 category, you may want to check out Sketch Dungeon by Casual Distraction Games. The developer asks if you remember playing old school RPG games on graph paper, and while I can’t say that I do, I found Sketch Dungeon to be a rather clever game regardless.
Sketch Dungeon is a role-playing game with hand drawn graphics set in descending levels of a dungeon. As an adventure explorer armed with a crossbow, you advance through 15 levels of play racking up points and kills by shooting the bad guys. Oddly enough, if you watch the You Tube video of Sketch Dungeon’s game play, it doesn’t really do the experience justice. It is actually quite responsive to the iPhone and touch accelerometer feature, making the controls simple. You merely tilt your way through the levels, touching to shoot, and zooming in and out where necessary.
The instructions for playing Sketch Dungeon are written on the floors of each level, making it as close to a pick-up-and-play game as it could be. If you find the game unstable and not responding accordingly, which happened to me a few times, try closing and restarting it. The crossbow-wielding adventurer should move smoothly about the screen, picking up speed the further you tilt your device. As you advance, you will encounter a myriad of dungeon creatures, like spiders, snakes, bats, and ogres that thwart your progress and take away your health. Simply tap the creatures to shoot or touch and hold in their direction for continuous bow-firing action. You also have to pick up gold treasure chests, keys to unlock doors, and look for food to replenish health. Be careful not to shoot the food, because it will disappear.
As the developer’s name implies, Sketch Dungeon is a casual distraction game. It’s not difficult to play, but is fun enough to ease a bit more than a few moments boredom. Each time you die, you’ll start over at the beginning, so the challenge is to get through all levels – a feat that I think would be easier to do if you didn’t lose the turkey leg health power up when you accidentally shoot your food. Making it through all 15 levels could even be deemed a challenge for novice gamers. Be aware that while the hand-drawn features lend no air of reality to the game, particle explosions of blood do occur and thus, Sketch Dungeon may not be appropriate for younger children even though it’s simple enough for nearly any age to play.
Are you going to be impressed by Sketch Dungeon if you’re a hardcore RPG gamer? Not likely, but as a casual game, it’s not bad at all. As their debut title, I think it will be interesting to see whether Casual Distraction Games puts together any further titles because right out of the gate, Sketch Dungeon might be able to hold its own. Its only major drawbacks are the absence of a save feature and the loading glitch that seems to sometimes impact the accelerometer.