I was asked to let you all know that Blue Mammoth have released a browser-based MMO called Dungeon Blitz. This post here, in fact, but it would be rather amiss of me if I didn’t play it and let you know what I think about it, which is exactly what I did. My gaming time is becoming more scarce and much more precious, so is it good enough to make me want to find some time for it?
Dungeon Blitz is an internet browser game, there’s nothing to download at all and it’s very easy to start playing. There isn’t a lengthy login or account creation process to go through. As soon as you access the site you’re straight into character creation and asked to choose your class out of the three available (Paladin, Rogue or Mage). The rest of the character creation is rather basic, you have a few different hairstyles and faces; you’re able to change the colour of a few things, but the characters remain very similar to each other, although there is enough different between the classes to compensate for most of that.
Once you have created your character, in my case a mage, you are asked to create your account. Which wasn’t a ball-ache, I just needed to enter a login name and password. Future visits to the site seem to remember those details; I’ve never had to login again anyway.
As with all games these days, the first part of the game is the tutorial. A brief introduction to the game and the controls, and the controls for Dungeon Blitz are easy. W,A,S,D cause your character to jump, run left, drop a level, run right respectively, while left mouse button uses your basic attack. Special attacks are performed by clicking on the action bar or pressing the required shortcut key. In the tutorial a talking parrot tells you all about that stuff, you fight off a few goblins, a few goop-shooting bats and a giant purple octopus, nothing to strenuous..
Then you hit dry land and are directed to go to a village, well a few houses with some trainers, shops and few stereotypical NPC’s hanging around. People show that they have quests by way of a glowing exclamation mark’s above their head.
“I wish that games would think of other ways to show people have quests. Is it just me or does a disproportionate amount of games these days go with the glowing exclamation mark/question mark thing. “
Anyway, you pick up quests which will invariably have you disappearing into little instanced dungeons. You kill things, you get loot, you kill more things, defeat the dungeon boss, leave and buy new things, skill up etc. The gameplay of Dungeon Blitz is not mould breaking but it doesn’t really need to be. There’s a small crafting area as well, that let’s you craft various potions and bits of equipment, but like the rest of the game this is casual crafting designed to embellish the game. It’s not a game in itself and you wouldn’t log on just to craft or make money, real or virtual.
Combat reminds me of Diablo II. There are often many enemies on the screen at once and combat devolves into a button-bushing exercise. Most of the time combat was nothing more than hitting left mouse button enough times to build up your mana bar enough to use a special attack, which never really felt all that special, then back to the button bashing. I prefer games with an auto-attack function, or at least a method to stop you reducing your mouse and keyboard to splinters of plastic from hammering them to holy-hell.
Dungeon Blitz can be played either solo or in groups, but Blue Mammoth admits that the game really opens up when you play it socially. I found it difficult to get a group going, but I also have to admit, I have an issue with spamming people for invites so maybe didn’t try as hard as I could have.
Blue Mammoth also claims that you can spend as little as ten minutes playing Dungeon Blitz, and this is true. Each instance takes about ten minutes of mouse-button bashing to complete, which is another way that they have tried to make this game accessible to the gamer who doesn’t want to invest hours upon hours into the game. That’s not the only thing of course, as I’ve mentioned already the control method is simple and easy to get to grips with, there’s no account creation or download, there’s a simple character creation process, followed by standard RPG MMO gameplay.
Well, that’s a fairly varied review I think. So, I’ll boil it down to good old ‘Pros and Cons’.
- Easy to access browser game
- Short and simple account creation
- Simple control method
- Bright and colourful graphics
- Familiar RPG gameplay
- Combat seems rather mouse-click heavy
- Limited character creation options
- Solo gameplay is rather basic, and shallow.
Dungeon Blitz isn’t bad. The visuals are eye-catching and you do feel dragged in to at least try it, but once you’re there playing, there’s not much to keep you there certainly not as a solo gamer anyway. I know that they are not trying to compete with the larger scale MMO’s directly but as a gamer it’s difficult not to compare them. I have a finite amount of time with which to play games, so do I play the bright and bubbly shallow 2D scrolling MMO, or the multi-billion pound powerhouse MMO’s that seems to cater for my every whim.
That leads to the subject of cost, maybe that’s the angle. Maybe Blue Mammoth are catering only for the crowd who doesn’t want to pay for online games. If that’s the case there’s Runes of Magic, Battlestar Galactica, even Champions Online and Star Trek Online (Which the chaps from Blue Mammoth have worked on) have their own free-to-play versions which still seem like better alternatives. So what are we left with? The fact it’s a browser game and you don’t need to download anything, or own a Facebook account to play it? It doesn’t seem like that would cater for many people.
I can’t see me going back to it, but I am rather unforgiving on MMO’s due to my time constraints. Games need to hit me hard and knock me for six to gain my attention. I’m just struggling to see which market this is being aimed at.
But please don’t take my word for it. Try Dungeon Blitz out for yourself at www.dungeonblitz.com. You might like it, in either case let me know what you think below.