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Bit Dungeon Plus Review (Xbox One)

Traverse deeper and deeper by defeating an onslaught of powerful enemies in Bit Dungeon Plus! Traverse several rooms filled with challenging enemies and defeat the boss at the end of each level. Gather loot and make your knight stronger with powerful spells and weapons. How far can you go with a single life?

Bit Dungeon Plus Review (Xbox One)

Introduction

Bit Dungeon Plus is a challenging and fun roguelike game with unique monster designs and loot! Traverse several floors and fight a colorful onslaught of monsters and defeat the final boss. Unlock runes, gather weapons, and choose the right magic spells in order to survive. Bit Dungeon Plus also offers a two player mode and the Tower of Babel!

Bit Dungeon Plus is available on Xbox One for $6.99.

Story

You are a knight trying to survive several floors of monsters and other foul creatures. This game has no actual story to speak of so let's get into the gameplay and why it is worth your time.

Gameplay

Here is the meat of this game! the combat, items, and monsters that your encounter in Bit Dungeon Plus the crux of the experience. Like many other rogue-like games, the player has to survive countless floors of brutal enemies while properly managing equipment and spells. Knowing when to use spells and developing tactics to tackle every room full of monsters is key to survival. Death will reset all your progress and but there is some progression available to make each attempt a bit easier by collecting special runes. These runes will help increase your attack, health, or critical damage once they are found, and can be used on new breakthroughs as an equip-able item.

Controls

Bit Dungeon Plus' controls are simple but mastering your attacks and spells requires a tactful approach. Shield is mapped to A, holding A will keep your shield raised and will absorb enemy projectiles. Your shield comes in handy in situations that requires blocking several fireballs. Your shield will eventually break and stun you if too much damage is blocked, the game shows a gray bar how much damage is being absorbed. The shield bar will regenerate as long as you avoid excessive damage to it. X is your main method of attack with whatever weapon you have managed to find. Attacking is not tied to an 8 direction grid, your attack animation and weapon arc only covers up, down, left, and right. Sometimes hitting enemies that are top left or bottom right from your knight can miss completely. Holding X unleashes a super attack and increases your movement speed to land your super. Y is used for spells and must be held down in order to unleash whatever spell you currently have equipped. B brings up the menu and shows your knight's stats and equipped items.

Bit Dungeon Plus Review (Xbox One) Undead Floor

Combat

Combat is simple but also difficult depending on which difficulty chosen and enemy placement. On higher difficulties the player has less chances of getting health potions and enemies become more aggressive. Each floor's theme will reflect the type of enemies that are faced, the medieval theme will have knights, archers, wizards, and rogues to fight. Each enemy will attack in their own unique way like wizards who have homing projectiles and can teleport. Knights will chase and attack the player while the rogues' stay hidden unless they are in close proximity. The Undead floors will have its own unique set of challenges and enemies also. Skeleton archers and Skeleton knights will attack in a similar way when compared to the medieval floors, but the Undead floors will spawn zombies that can revive after being defeated. 

Each floor's layout is the same, but enemy placement and enemy numbers creates variety. Often times, using magic will be the best bet in order to defeated as many enemies as possible in order to safely attack enemies with your weapon. Every enemy in the game will shoot a small red and white projectile in order to damage the player; excluding far range enemies like archers. The knight , for example, will chase and shoot the same red projectile; he doesn't physically attack you. All close range enemies attack in this fashion, but red projectiles for close range enemies doesn't have a huge range and varies from floor to floor. Some rooms have mini-bosses that are larger and more detailed versions of regular enemies. They have a higher health pool and their attacks are deal more damage than smaller enemies.

The final boss for each floor will always be the same depending on the floor's theme, the Undead floors will have a giant Skeleton King while the medieval floors will have a giant Wizard. Boss fights in Bit Dungeon Plus are lacking visual flare and defeating one isn't satisfying. Getting a guaranteed high level item is great but  the bosses need better attack patterns to stand out; otherwise they are simply huge versions of mini-bosses. Bit Dungeon Plus offers a variety of challenging enemies as the player progresses to higher level floors. The combat is never boring and keeps the player on their toes since death means having to start over.

Bit Dungeon Plus Review (Xbox One) Medieval Boss

Resources

Managing resources like magic, gear, and game mechanics are a must to achieve higher levels of difficulty. Containers on each floor may have coins that can be traded with a secret shop. The shop itself sells potions to replenish your magic or health and sells 4 chests with items. Each chest is marked with the cost of gold and the higher price the player pays the better the item. These shops, like everything else in the game, are random but pop up frequently enough. Enemies and containers also have chances to drop chests that contain weapons and armor. Chests will provide weapons and armor that will boost your knight's stats and the chest will hold your previous item unless your clear the floor's final boss.

Bit Dungeon Plu
s has a loot system similar to Diablo games in which rarity will determine stats and powerful effects. Higher rare items will have huge stat boosts while also having additional effects like life regen, instant kills, or increasing the amount of health replenished when using a potion. There are unique sets of items that have great art design and follows a theme. Similar to other loot based games, items have tiers and unique sets are design to match like a purple set of armor that makes your knight look cybernetic. Some rooms provide permanent stat upgrades that increases your health, attack, or critical damage. Choosing which stat to increase is largely dependent on the build the player is going for and also based on your current set of armor.

Magic spells and auras are attained after defeating a boss. Each aura's magic attack is unique and can have several different attack patterns. A lighting spell will spray across the screen in four directions, while other spells summon rotating damaging orbs surrounding the player. Many spells can stun enemies which is key to surviving difficulty rooms.

When backtracking through previous rooms, purple demons are munching on the corpses of fallen enemies. They are easily killed and have a chance to drop a potion or money. Also, there are blue ghosts that disappear quickly when revisiting a room. Ghosts will drop a guaranteed potion if they are defeated, but you have to act fast as they disappear quickly! Re-visiting rooms is key in order to increase the amount of money you carry and to find ghosts for healing. All of it is random but this system can be abused by constantly switching back and forth through a previous room until a ghost pops up.

2 Players & Tower of Babel

Bit Dungeon Plus offers a two player mode that plays exactly the same as the single player mode, but with a few exceptions. Both players need to manage all available resources like equipment and only one player can receive the permanent stat upgrade. If one player dies, the other can revive him or her but they still have only a slither of health. Two players can attacking the same enemy from different angles but there are two gripes when playing with someone else. It is hard to tell who is player one or two if both knights are wearing similar weapons and armor. Either player can bring up the map and stat screen at any time, which can obstruct the field of view in the middle of combat. Whoever gets the key to open the next room is the only one who can while the other has to wait. Two player mode is fun and a great option for couch co-op, there is no online matchmaking for this mode.

The Tower of Babel is a time based approach to the regular game play. You have a counter on the top screen that shows how much time you have left and enemies will sometimes drop hourglasses that increase your time. There is no final boss for each floor and instead the player gets more time added once a floor is complete. Time is also your currency when finding the secret shop, you can purchase potions and items using your remaining time. The Tower of Babel being a time attack mode is a great option in order change things up between the other modes.

Graphics and Sound

The design of the game is solid but there are some elements that need work. Enemy designs are fun and colorful and come in a variety of different designs. The entire game has an retro pixalted aesthetic for its enemies, items, level designs, and the UI. The game looks like a top down Zelda with each room layout being exactly the same except for enemy placement. Games like The Binding of Isaac will vastly change the layouts of the rooms, but Bit Dungeon Plus does not. The game becomes repetitive because room and boss layout are always exactly the same, and exploration is limited to a grid of randomly connected rooms. The map design is bland and shows which rooms that the player has been. However, there are small touches that stand out. One being the pixelated footprints if the player steps on blood, water, or other strange fluids.

Bit Dungeon Plus Review (Xbox One) Pixel Footprints

Enemies are designed to match the floors' theme such as the medieval knights and wizards. There are a handful different styles when it comes to floor variety and enemy design. Each theme also has its unique color pallet and matches the enemy designs and floor layouts. The game has breakable boxes that contain items and the box will change into a container that is suitable for that floor's theme. The Undead floors will have frozen pillars of ice as containers; all breakable boxes will change into a container that matches with the theme.

Bit Dungeon Plus is uses colors in clever ways in order to mix things up. Enemy attacks are always colored in white and red but some projectiles could have unique designs like fireballs, arrows, or purple orbs. A boss's room is always noted by a giant red door, which is helpful to know in case the player hasn't explored all the other rooms. Purple is used for the magic bar instead of the typical blue; magic potions and critical hits are also purple.

The sound design in this game is lacking and some weird choices are made. The music tracks can be easily counted on one hand but they are pleasant and lend well to the atmosphere. Attacks and projectile sounds don't stand out and are nothing special. Boss battles start with no music unless it is a long fight and the bosses themselves don't have unique songs. The music and sound design of Bit Dungeon Plus is one of the low points of the game which makes the repetitiveness all more apparent. Bit Dungeon Plus's art design is great and the use of color palates for enemies, floors, and UI make sense. The game feels repetitive because of the lack of different layouts for each room and the sound design.

conclusion

Bit Dungeon Plus is a fun, challenging game but suffers from repetition and lack luster bosses. The gameplay is fun and challenging but there is a lack of variety and features when compared to other roguelike games; Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy come to mind. Graphics and color variations gives the game a unique and interesting look, but still lacks a great music and sound design. Bit Dungeon Plus offers great amount of replayability and the combat is fun and addicting. Tower of Babel and 2 player modes are great additions that complement the single player. 
PROSCONS
+ Great Combat– Music
+ Additional Game Modes– Floor Layout Gets Repetitive
+ Challenging– Lackluster Bosses
7
Good

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