Delving into Devious Dungeons dastardly depths offers the kind of retro-platforming challenge that harkens back to days of yore, but with just enough modern design elements thrown into keep it feeling fresh.
Success in Devious Dungeon demands precision platforming skills, and a sprinkling of procedurally-generated luck. This blend of chance and challenge makes the game incredibly enticing, as however skilled you are, you can never predict what you will face next.
Rather than long single levels, the game is broken up into short digestible stages. These, on average, take about two minutes to complete, the perfect length to keep you having just one more go.
To help you overcome these challenges is an RPG leveling system. This allows you to improve your character with each play through by purchasing items, armor, and weapons, as well as using XP to improve base skills.
Slowly building up the little knight, I became strangely attached to my stubby-yet-burly hero. While at times stages did start to feel a little tired, the draw of finally unlocking the King's Armor or buying the Dragon Bonecrusher hammer always kept me playing.
The touchscreen controls have been stripped back to a streamlined minimum. Movement control sits under your left thumb, while attack and jump sit under the right. It isn't groundbreaking, but it is impressively responsive. This is an essential trait in Devious Dungeon because, when you're low on health and only a few XP away from leveling up, there is nothing worse than dying due to wonky inputs.
Both Devious Dungeon's visuals and audio manage to walk an interesting middle ground between old-school 16-bit and the high definition (HD) era. The HD screens give the faux-90s art an oddly defined feel, while the range of colors bring the world and characters to life.
It isn't just the aesthetic that makes the game stand out, the shear variety is also striking. There are a number of environments available for the creation of the subterranean caverns that you explore, so on any given turn you may find yourself running from locations like a dank prison to a moss filled cave.
Add to this a huge range of loot and items that can be equipped to your character, and an increasingly diverse roster of foes, and the result is a game that constantly impresses.
Getting down with the dungeon
For me, Devious Dungeon is the ideal bite-sized platformer. Its small, ever-changing levels let me indulge my addiction in short bursts, while its forgiving RPG leveling system keeps me coming back for more.