The Fall of the Dungeon Guardians

A first-person, party based, grid-based, real-time, very heavy tactical combat based RPG dungeon crawler that focuses on using each character’s ability in the most effective way. Although it is a real-time game, movement is grid-based and there is an active pause feature that should be used for giving commands to your troops.

Pros

Many aspects of the game’s difficulty can be adjusted. There is the usual how much damage the enemy does or how much health they have. Then there are the helpers with options like enabling auto-mapping before you find the magic map or whether you want auto pause at certain times. I cannot remember another game with this many options for tweaking the difficulty level.

The puzzles in The Fall of The Dungeon Guardians are quite clever. There is no hand-holding or even hints as to what to do. Eagle eye observation is also required for some puzzles. Many times I have passed an area and did not notice that key thing that was required for a puzzle.

In general, I hate puzzles, but I was quite impressed with how they were presented in the game. Most likely I will get stuck and start reading walkthroughs though.

The controls are very easy to use and the whole game can be controlled entirely with the mouse alone. For people like me, there are plenty of shortcut keys and they are fully customisable as well.

The music sounds nice. Unfortunately, there are only a handful of tracks so it does keep repeating. The good thing is, it does not grow annoying with time.

The graphics look very nice. It is not the best, but it still looks very nice. The animations are fluid. The lighting gives a nice dynamic effect to monsters as well as the surroundings. Objects and the environment look well detailed, although the number objects seem a bit sparse.

Cons

There is plenty of loot to collect and upgrade your party with, but there are no shops or people to buy and sell with. It makes sense because you are in a prison dungeon, but also makes the game more boring.

The characters feel very bland. There is banter between them, but they say the same thing over and over again just using different words. Every now and again they will say something useful, but overall their conversations act more like sleeping spells.

Despite the myriad of options to tweak the difficulty of the game, there is no option for monster respawning. The developer did say that they wanted players to think tactically rather than being able to grind their way to higher levels to defeat bosses, but the side effect is, backtracking to explore missed areas becomes very boring. Inspired by Might and Magic, but also more boring than Might and Magic. There are options for so many other things, why not monster respawning?

Other Points

For an RPG, The Fall of the Dungeon Guardians has a reverse difficulty progression. Most RPGs get easier as you level up and so you can explore more areas. The areas you have explored tend to get easier to deal with. In this game, areas already explored become downright boring and new areas are more difficult to get through at your higher level than the previous areas at a lower level. And this is not including boss fights.

Biases

I have never played any of the Legend of Grimrock games.  I probably would not have played Fall of the Dungeon Guardians either, but it came in a nice bundle so I thought why not try it out.  Maybe one day I will try out Grimrock too.

I am one of those rare RPG players that did NOT like Eye of the Beholder.  I found it too difficult when I played it years ago.  But I am a big fan of active pause like in Baldur’s Gate and Star Wolves.  Sure enough, I think active pause is what made Fall of the Dungeon Guardians more enjoyable than Eye of the Beholder.

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