If you are in the mood for a challenging dungeon crawler, MISTROGUE: Mist and the Living Dungeons can scratch that itch. You will go through dungeons whose floor tiles can move up and down, or fall if you stay on them too long. Enemies are constantly prowling around, looking to hurt you as you walk by. Bosses are difficult and require proper planning before you take them on.
Learning how to fight, utilising your favourite weapon, and using magic is key to your success. There’s a lot to learn and you reset your level every time you leave. Traveling through the dungeons feels like an upward battle, but your experience pays off as you master your fighting style. There’s not much to do other than exploring dungeons and fighting enemies, as everything else is in the early stages. Despite that, exploring the dungeons is a good challenge that will keep you occupied for hours.
MISTROGUE: Mist and the Living Dungeons is currently in Early Access on PC for USD 19.99.
Story – Searching for Someone
You play as Mist, an explorer who is searching for someone who went missing years ago. Going through the dungeons is his only chance of finding him, and he discovers several clues along the way. He can’t do this alone, and he heads to town to meet with some friends who can help him.
That’s the basic story and it doesn’t get any more complex, just like Plasma. There aren’t any subplots or unique side quests, just diving into the dungeons and exploring. Since the game is in Early Access, there’s plenty of time for the game to properly develop its story and quests. As you explore the dungeons, you uncover clues leading to a story, but it doesn’t go too far.
Character interaction is minimal, as you just talk with a few people. You still get an introduction to each character and their role, but eventually the characters become regular NPCs. The game’s strength comes from its gameplay, which is the only thing you can truly experience right now.
Gameplay – Reacting to the Dungeon
Unlike other dungeon exploration games, MISTROGUE: Mist and the Living Dungeons has a dungeon that changes in real time. Floor tiles move up and down, sometimes collapsing after you walk across them. You must time your movements before crossing or you will fall off. Enemies are also moving around in real time, and can ambush you while you figure out the floor’s movements. It’s similar to Deflector in that something is always going on.
The floors change every time you enter, although the patterns stay the same. You must be aware of your surroundings and time your movements to avoid falling off the edge. While falling doesn’t kill you, it will take away a good chunk of health. Since leaving a dungeon resets your level and progress, you must ensure you are careful before you make a decision.
Fortunately, the game expects you to learn through trial-by-error. You are going to fail to get to a floor tile in time, or get overwhelmed by enemies because you weren’t paying attention. Death isn’t too bad; you lose the items you gained in the dungeon but nothing else. While it is frustrating to die, you eventually get better and refine your strategies.
You must level up to get more powerful, and enemies will gradually become stronger as you progress. Your true strength won’t come from levels though, despite being necessary to fight enemies within the dungeon. Equipment is where your power lies, as that remains consistent even when you leave the dungeon.
It’s annoying when your levels reset, but it is part of the challenge. As you improve, the levels won’t be a big worry as they supplement your combat skills.
Equipment – Different Playstyles
The weapons you wield affect the way Mist fights in dungeons. You can go with daggers that have high attack speed and deal multiple attacks, but have lower defense. Swords are slow but powerful and you get a chance to use them in the tutorial. You also have smaller swords that can absorb life at the cost of dealing reduced damage.
These weapons can be changed at any time, though it does cost money to purchase weapons from the store. You can also find them in dungeons, though it’s considerably rarer. It encourages you to learn about each weapon and the unique skills they have. Having multiple options gives you flexibility to deal with different enemies, but you can also stick with your favourite weapons.
It’s nice having the option to try out different styles and switch without any inherent penalties. Dungeon exploring becomes an opportunity to experiment, rather than a chore where you do the same slashes over and over again.
Audio & Visuals – Atmospheric Music & Smooth Attacks
Most of the visuals are simple models, but the attacks have the best animations. Regular attacks and skills look flashy and the animations are smooth. On the enemy side, you can clearly tell when they are going to attack and it looks great. The more sophisticated the enemy model is, the more powerful they are likely to be.
The music is also soothing to listen to while you are in town, and motivates you during a dungeon exploration. You won’t pay too much attention to it until you encounter a boss fight, but it is present as you explore.
MISTROGUE: Mist and the Living Dungeons was previewed on Steam with a code provided by Community Villa.