Dungeon Rampage for Facebook is a simple multiplayer action RPG heavily inspired by popular titles such as Blizzard’s Diablo series and the venerable arcade game Gauntlet. Players take control of a hero and battle their way through a series of randomly-generated dungeons with up to three friends in an attempt to level up, acquire loot and defeat as many monsters as possible.
Dungeon Rampage keeps its gameplay simple to ensure the action keeps flowing. Players may move their character through the top-down perspective dungeon either by clicking with the mouse or using the arrow keys on their keyboard. Alongside this, players may have up to three weapon skills equipped at any one time, which are assigned to the Z, X and C keys on the keyboard. Tapping one of these keys unleashes a basic attack combo, while pressing and holding prepares a more powerful “charge” attack which deals more damage, but leaves the player open to attack while preparing.
Defeating enemies rewards players with experience, coins and gold stars. If playing with other people, all of these items are shared equally among players. Gold stars fuel a special meter in the bottom right corner of the screen, and when this is full, each character type may let loose with their own unique special ability. This typically takes the form of a very strong attack, temporary invincibility or both, and is generally best saved for encounters in the dungeon that feature a swarm of enemies.
Upon completing a dungeon, a summary screen is shown where players may see how many enemies they defeated, what treasures and equipment the team found in the treasure chests throughout and how much bonus experience they were awarded. Following this, they are taken back to the town screen, where they may improve their characters’ statistics if they leveled up, purchase new items, recruit new heroes or simply head back out into another dungeon.
The game provides access to one of the six character classes for free. The Berserker is a melee warrior who can take a lot of damage, referred to as a “tank” by fans of the genre. He is a good choice for beginning players. Upon earning a few hundred gold coins, players may then recruit the Ranger character, who is more fragile but moves more quickly and can attack at long range with her bow. Other characters available include a Sorcerer, Battle Chef, Vampire Hunter, and Ghost Samurai, though unlocking these characters requires hard currency.
Similarly, unlocking new appearance options for heroes also requires hard currency, as do items which allow players to resurrect themselves upon death, special weapons, storage space upgrades, pets and keys to unlock new dungeon levels — though the latter may also be acquired by either waiting or asking friends via Wall post. If anything, the monetization of this game errs on the side of “excessive,” with players wanting to unlock all the possible character combinations and appearance options potentially looking at a hefty Facebook Credits bill if they aren’t careful. There does not appear to be a means to earn hard currency through play, though the game does feature an offer wall through which players may earn gems.
The game also features banner advertising underneath the game canvas, though this does not contribute to players’ gem accounts if they click. It regularly displays the sort of sleazy adverts regularly seen on less reputable websites, including the infamous “one weird old tip” ads along with misleading banners which simply display large “Download” and “Play” buttons, or invitations to download unknown plugins. The content of the ads isn’t necessarily the fault of the developers here — rather, it’s that of the ad network. which appears to be CPX Interactive. The banner does feature a small “advertisement” note in the corner, but some users may be easily misled if they haven’t come across ads like these before.
Monetization issues aside, Dungeon Rampage is a fun game and the implementation of multiplayer works well — players may either invite online friends into their games or be matched up with random other players. The gameplay brings to mind a misspent youth in front of a Gauntlet machine, and there’s certainly plenty of content here for players to unlock and discover. It’s a shame that so much of it is locked behind a paywall, however, particularly with regard to the available characters. Many players who enjoy this genre like to play a specific character type, so to be locked out of being able to play in the way they prefer unless they pay up seems a little unfair. Perhaps the monetization of the game could be balanced a little better in the future, with more characters available through soft currency, but a greater number of customization and vanity options available for those who are willing to open their wallets. As it stands, playing the game for free feels more like playing a rather limited demo as opposed to playing a full game which is improved through paid items.
The underlying gameplay is solid, but the monetization needs some significant rebalancing for players to feel like they’re not being forced to pay up for a satisfying experience.