Here we go again then, another Ratalaika game review for you to mull over. Ratalaika is heavily known in the gaming sphere for their easy to complete indie games and when on PlayStation, easy to obtain platinum trophies. I like a good platinum trophy myself and their games are normally cross-buy so you get two for the price of one. Their games do vary in length and quality though so let’s see where Devious Dungeon 2 sits on that spectrum. I did play the first Devious Dungeon so we can do a bit of a comparison between the two.
Storywise there not much on offer really. Your an adventurer meandering through an endlessly changing castle vanquishing its many monstrosities. That’s about it really. It’s a game that’s not going to win any awards for it’s writing but lets at least hope the gameplay is good. It’s an action title that contains platforming, roguelike and RPG elements, it had persistent upgrades and items to find and unlock.
As in the first game, you must find the key located in each self-contained level and then proceed to find the door it unlocks. This moves you onto the next stage where you repeat the same game of key hunting and monster bashing. The levels are procedurally generated so there always a bit of exploring to do. The levels are filled with beasts, treasure and secrets to uncover. The stages sometimes do involve a bit of platforming too but this is very light platforming and not very difficult at all.
Combat is roughly the same as it’s predecessor, you have one attack button and that’s it. The combat is simply a task of learning enemy types and their attack patterns and altering your attack technique accordingly. It’s all very simple but suits the type of game well. Due to the fact you are running quickly through lots of randomly generated stages, an over the top combat system would slow down the action. It’s nice just to fly through the levels at breakneck speed and not have to concentrate on combos or extra buttons.
At the end of each zone you are presented with a boss, these bosses were always quite simple and again just a task of remembering attack patterns and attacking accordingly. These bosses were a bit too simple for me really, I would have liked to see the developers push the boat out and make something completely different and a bit larger. Some screen-filling boss that has outrageous attacks would have been a great addition to the game.
All the loot and moolah you gather throughout the stages can be spent between mission on new weapons, armour and trinkets. All these do though is slowly raise your stats as you progress through the game. Some of the weapons have bonus status elements such as poison or burning but overall your money will be spent on pushing up your invisible stats. You do get lots of cash and you also get a bonus depending on how long you lasted since you last death.
Each zone is split into 4 mini-zones and a boss. Each mini-zone is split into three stages and these three stages must be completed in one life to save your progress through that zone. It’s a nice system that leads to some weird situations. I often found myself with a very small amount of health, in the third part of the zone just running to find the key and avoiding all enemies. There are health potions in the levels but they are few and far between and I did not want to start the mini-zone from the start again.
You do get experience points as you defeat your foes. These experience points lead to your character levelling up and each time you do you can pick to add a point to one of your three stats. You can permanently add a point to your attack, your health or your critical chance. One good thing about this system is that it also refills your health and it saved me a few times from certain death.
From the outset, it’s very clear that this game is very similar to the first but it does do a few things differently to mix things up a bit. Firstly instead of the one character to play, in Devious Dungeon 2, you have three classes to choose from. These classes all have varying abilities and different attack styles. Another new addition is the map of the castle, it now shows with distinct zones to battle through instead of just a list of levels like the first game. It does not offer any gameplay benefits but it does look better.
You now have quests to complete as you wander through the levels, things such as killing a number of enemies or destroying a certain number of objects will now award you with bonus cash to spend. Also dotted through the stages are mini-bosses, these bosses have an increased pool of health but award you with bonus experience points and a stack of cash to spend on those sought after upgrades and gear.
Graphically the game is identical to the first. The art style is very simple but clean and bright. The pixel art is quite nice but not as good as other games I have played. The enemies and boss designs are good enough but perhaps their variety needs to be improved. I did notice a lot of enemies repeated from the first game and I would have liked more new enemies to contend with. Sound-wise Devious Dungeon 2 is very basic. Basic music and basic sound effects, while not being very memorable or unique in any way they do their job accordingly.
Devious Dungeon 2 performs fine most of the time. I did, however, notice a few frame drops in places and for such a simple game this is quite surprising and irritating. Luckily it was not very often and apart from that, I had no performance issues at all, no bugs or gameplay hitches whatsoever. I cannot believe this is pushing the PlayStation 4 to its limits though so I would expect a well-performing game.
While being very similar to its predecessor, Devious Dungeon 2 does do a few things to improve its overall gameplay. Mini-bosses, classes and quests do improve the game overall but I don’t think it’s enough to differentiate itself from the first title. The gameplay, while being fun does eventually start to wear thin. A lot of enemies were taken from the first game and I would have liked a lot more fresh and intricate enemy designs, especially on the bosses. This title is cheap enough to be enjoyable, cross-buy helps and if you’re a trophy hunter you will love it for its generous trophy list. I just find it hard to recommend it to players with it being so similar to the first game in most aspects and its repetitive gameplay.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*