By: Retro Dreamer
Apple Arcade launched this week, and I was pretty sure that meant I wouldn’t play any other games, as I’ve got over seventy new, premium experiences to sink my teeth into. But I downloaded Retro Dreamer’s new high-score chaser, Dungeon Drop, and I keep finding myself going back to it to try and improve my score. It’s a very simple concept, but it’s executed well and has that “one more try” pull to it. It also has such fair monetization that I decided to pay to unlock the premium version to support the developers. It’s not often these days that we get such pure high score chasers and I really appreciate it. So continue reading to find out why you should give the game your attention and possibly your money.
As I said, Dungeon Drop utilizes a very simple mechanic. The dungeon scrolls upward and there are spikes at the top. The screen is made up of slidable rows, each with a gap in it. You need to slide each row so your hero drops through the gap, going lower and lower so the spikes don’t hit you. There are objects you’ll encounter, such as keys that open locked doors, torches that melt ice, gems that increase your score, and water that puts out fire. You’ll also meet enemies, some of which can only be defeated with a weapon, some that can be jumped on, and others that can be avoided completely if you’re careful. There are enemies that explode an entire row as you pass them. And if you’re not equipped with a shield or sword when you bump into an enemy, it’s game over. Things start out pretty manageable at first, but can get very hectic the longer you last.
The free version of the game is incredibly generous. It gives you one game mode with another harder mode you can unlock through play. There are also tons of characters you can unlock using the tickets you win. They’re randomized, but from what I can tell, you never get duplicates. There are no ads and no consumable IAPs, and no limits to how much you can play. But if you play for free, you have to use tickets to purchase continues when they’re offered. The premium version costs $2.99 and gives you free continues, plus two other game modes — Easy and Insanity. The easy mode starts you off with a shield and spikes bumper and it goes at an easier pace with fewer enemies to deal with. The insane mode has spikes at the top and bottom, so if you move too fast you’ll hit the bottom spikes and die. You need to adjust your strategy and go slower. All these different modes add variety to the game so it takes a lot longer to get bored of it.
What I also really appreciate are the plentiful leaderboards. Each difficulty mode has its own GameCenter leaderboard, as well as a no-continue one. So if you’re like me and try to not use continues, you can see how you stack up to other players’ scores. Most games don’t offer these, so you never have any way to tell whether your score is decent. Playing without continues against people who use them is just never quite satisfying. So I’m really happy that the developers included these. I can see that my strategy and skills could use some work, but at least I know exactly where I stand with others going pure and not using continues. The game even lets you just turn off revives in the settings if you don’t want to even be tempted to use them.
I’m still learning more about the game each time I play and improving my strategy. For instance, it’s risky to try and line up a long drop for a big score combo, but if you pull it off continuously, it’s so worth it. The pink exploding spiders are my nemesis and usually the cause for my death. But even when a death seems unavoidable and unfair, I don’t really get angry at the game. It does so much right and really has that hook to keep me coming back for more punishment. So go download Dungeon Drop and fall to your inevitable doom. If you enjoy it enough, consider unlocking the premium version to both access more of the game and support the generous developers.