Review Pixel Dungeon
It's a little like exploring the sewers of Minecraft
Author: Jay Feldman
Date: 02 Jul 2017, tested on ASUS Nexus 7 (2013)
Decent graphics, interesting plot, one-finger controls
Small fonts, challenging controls, animation is a bit laggy
Pixel Dungeon for Android has a very retro sorta feel to it. It’s a little like the original Zelda in quest style play, but this one takes place in a deep, dark dungeon.
Pixel Dungeon feels a little like exploring the pixilated underworld of Minecraft. Your objective is to search this eerily lit dank dungeon while looking for …something to do? The game feels a little sparse at the moment, or perhaps I just didn't get to the fun part yet. Basically, you wander around collecting objects that will help you on your quest, but again, I have no real clue what that quest might be. Along the way, you will encounter beings that can help you, and others that mean you harm; you’re never quite sure, cuz it’s a really bad neighborhood, in a mythic dungeon sorta way.
The controls work fairly well but have a learning curve. You’re carrying a lantern and can only see your immediate vicinity, so it’s easy to lose your bearings. Just tap the screen where you want your little guy to go, and he’ll bravely waddle on over. I think I ran into a mouse that might have actually been friendly, but I killed him anyway because his friends were biting me and I decided not to trust any of them. I probably should have tried talking to him first.
The game features text based clues that will help you figure out what this quest is all about. Unfortunately, the text is rather small and intentionally pixelated to fit the game environment, so it’s really hard to read at times. For that reason, I think this would be unplayable on a smaller screen. The presentation in general is a little small and sparse. Something needs to be done to present everything better so it can be enjoyed.
Speaking of graphics, they’re decent and effectively create this retro pixel environment. However, retro doesn’t necessarily mean crude. The presentation movement needs more refinement. Animation is a bit choppy and only augment what’s challenging about the controls.
Pixel Dungeon has a lot going for it but needs to figure out what it’s about, then communicate that to its players in a clear, well presented manner. There’s lots of potential here and I think retro quest fans will appreciate this one.