Dungeons of Elements is the ultimate casual “RPG”
Dungeons of Elements, an RPG puzzle game, is set to be open to the public by tomorrow and is one of the 4 games made by FrogDice. A company that has been around since 1996 sporting an online text RPG called Threshold that is still up and running to date. I was lucky enough to speak with the founder of the company, Michael, and get my hands on a copy of the game to test it out.
I would liken Dungeon of Elements to a lovechild of Dr. Mario and Dungeons & Dragons, it features crafting, collecting, achievements, a story and plenty of unique vibes to it to keep you entertained for a few hours here and there. It is essentially the ultimate game for casuals that enjoy this kind of thing. It’s a Puzzle RPG where you can customize your character to a certain degree, gather upgrades and even make gold and money in the game. I admit I was very confused when I first started playing it but after a while I could just imagine the passion and hard work poured into the game.
To put it bluntly, the game isn’t pretty, and that’s not a bad thing. The ideal that your video game needs to be pretty is one that has to be abolished and could potentially take a game like this and slant your view on it. I was very confused at first by the genre and graphical mash-up but as I started to play more and more it got more entertaining and I found myself growing to like the game more. Dungeon of Elements revolves around dropping pills on elemental enemies and sprites, with the option to remove them with daggers and swords that you may equip. Enemies drop loot and allow you to change the appearance of your character as well as craft new items from current ones. The game allows for a bit of roleplaying with the story involved, the ability to write a biography on your character and customize at the beginning, it opens up the RPG element and allows some fun on the side of whatever you are doing.
The only set-backs I can see people finding with this game will probably corner in on the $20 price tag (it releases for $9.99 for a short while however) and the clunky feel to it. The game isn’t clunky in a bad way, it just lacks polish in general that I’m used to in most games. Considering this was made by a team of roughly 6 people I’m able to understand why certain areas were left out. The price point might be an issue for some people because they might feel the game is worth $20, but founder of FrogDice, Michael, has been talking on their Steam Greenlight page about potentially adding it to Humble Bundles in the future. While I am a firm believer in the fact that every dev should get paid what they want, regardless of how outrageous the price may be, If I was looking at buying this tomorrow on the 24th I would have wanted to wait until I saw it go on sale for under $10.
Dungeon of Elements is a unique game with a mix of two genres that you wouldn’t normally consider to be in a game. It’s refreshing to see a company sacrifice graphics for gameplay and actually be honest about the fact. Dungeon of Elements doesn’t offer a “full” RPG experience but it’s a step in the right direction, this could definitely open up a market and potentially give people an experience that is unlike most games out there to date, I can say I’ve played plenty of FPS and MMORPG games, but I haven’t played many RPG Puzzle games. The genre could be something worth investigating after Dungeon of Elements hits tomorrow. I’d highly recommend at least checking out their Steam Greenlight page and seeing if the game is for you. Who knows? Maybe you’ll pick this game up in a Humble Bundle down the road. Regardless of where it’s acquired, this is a must try for everyone at some point, I can see Puzzle RPG’s becoming quite notable in a few years’ time.
In my opinion this is exactly what the video games industry needs, maybe not this game specifically, maybe not this genre, but the overall passion and creativity thrown into this. Game developers need to realize that video games shouldn't be about making something so realistic that you can obtain an immersion level over 9000, it should be about showing your fans and showing the world what you can do with what's in your head. That might apply to making games pretty and making the guns have realistic noises, having those Hi-Def shadows on the characters faces and sacrificing story and gameplay for a few extra shaded trees on the landscape so you immerse yourself more. But video games like this constantly prove why video games first become popular, they started as an escape from reality and from life. It's games like Dungeons of Elements that continue that silly little quest of escaping from all the real world things around you, not drawing yourself back into it.