Game Review: bit Dungeon II – Steam

Title bit Dungeon II
Platform: Steam
Available on OS:Windows, Linux
Genre:rouge lite, ARGP, action, borderline arcade
Date completed:September 2021
Game number:12 of 1005 (<1%)
Information on game

Summary review: A relatively simple 3/4 view 2D Legend of Zelda homage with a surprisingly compelling keep-on-playing incentive.
Graphics: Relatively simple but definitely gets the point across. I think the amosphere of the graphics really contributes to the “vibe”.
Music: I like the music. It doesn’t make me want to turn it off nor does it make me want to buy the sound track. It’s there in the background providing amosphere and that’s the way I like.
Controls: Controls work without any issues: move four directions and an interact button. How much more do you need, really?
Replayability: Something about this game kept me coming back. I felt like a learned a little more each time I went through and choosing a different specialization was still fun.
Total score: 90 / 100 – A thoroughly enjoyable 2D rouge-like that is easy to waste a few hours on.

Introduction

I actually played this game off and on over the past few years. I was was working on a project that involve really low end PC hardware and was trying to decide which games would run well on it. To say this one runs on a potato is putting it mildly.

I hesitate to call this game an “RPG” as that genre usually has an emphasis on story, which this one doesn’t really. I could also call it a rouge-lite game but I also hesitate to call it that because it’s not brutally hard which I associate the word “rogue” with. Perhaps the best description is “2D Zelda homage with rouge elements”.

A worthy homage

The starts with your character wearing hardly anything sitting next to a camp fire. Nearby is a what looks like a cave: this turns out to be where you can pick your initial “style” of play. There apopears to be a hermit-like character and it’s amazingly reminiscent of the screen in 8-bit Legend of Zelda.

There’s the knife-shield combo, the two-handed/no shield type (giant swords and archery), and there’s a magic class. Once you choose you’re set loose to explore the world, which is randomly generated.

You move one screen a time up/down/left/right. Walking up to enemy will make the character auto-attack. You can also manually attack and if you have a shield hold that up to block. Enemies on a prior screen will re-spawn every time you visit that screen.

You must avoid enemies when necessary initially because you have very little health and mana to draw from. Eventually enemies will drop different random items: armor, rings, emulates, and different kinds of weapons, spell books and black orbs which act as currency. There will be a convenient window to show you a comparison between what you have and the stats of the new item to help decide if the items should be swapped out.

As you discover the endges of the map and grab more gear you’ll come across a few random things like an endless maze (two actually) immediately reminiscent of NES Zelda. There are also a few caves with NPCs to give you hints how to make it through the maze.

Do this long enough and you will find your first dungeon. These again will remind any player of NES or SNES Zelda of the labyrinth necessary: find some keys to unlock the next door, kill all enemies to make all the doors open once more, and eventually run into the dungeon end boss.

Before that though you’re going to die, probably many times. You will spawn back at the last camp fire you sat in front of (this is like a check point) and will keep your currency. You can actually earn extra lives. That seems random though.

Don’t Stop Believin’

I recycled that from a prior review. I’m keeping it.

When – and it’s a pretty solid when – you get the game over screen you just start over again, a little wiser perhaps. Learn the best gear combos, learn the best dungeon order, get an idea where to get the combination to make though the mazes and where the characters are that will sell you gear.

Eventually you will unlock the dark world where final dungeon is. It feels like I didn’t explore every inch of the dark world but I did find it an interesting variation on the play style up to that point and the final dungeon was good I thought as well.

Pushing it to the limit

One thing I’ll say about this game: you can just keep going and going and going ifyou want. In one run through I lost track of where the next dungeon was so I just kept wandering around and eventually I was level 110 or so.

This can be both good and bad: felt like I was pretty much invincible, but the gear being dropped didn’t scale with my level so my options were limited at some point and I can’t tell you how disappointing it was when I inadvertently died before the game’s end boss. From level 100+ down to level one. All that gear and progress lost. I had to take a break after that.

Now some negatives…

I can’t really think of anything negative to say about this game. Anything I could come up with would just be a criticism of the rouge-like genre in general.

This isn’t going to be a dark souls-like experience and I don’t think it’s nearly as casual as actual Legend of Zelda but there’s nothing inherently wrong with it.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for something relatively simple to learn but not necessarily instant to finish, this is a good few hours of fun. If you’re a really big fan of the 2D Zelda games and don’t mind rouge-elements I think you will definitely love this game.

I’ve already purchased bit Dungeon III but haven’t decided yet how much I want to commit to it.


Metadata

Method of control used XBox one gamepad
Controllable via both one analog stick or digital four-way (“HAT”) yes
Hardware requirements: potato
Supports 21:9 aspect ratio screens?n/a
Device(s) tried on GPDWin v1, AlienWare Laptop
TVn/a
Initial setup required No options
Sound setupGPDWin speakers and headphones
Total time to completion~15 hours (I lost track)
difficulty levelNo difficulties to choose from
Steam UID331440
Random assortment of meta data

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