I have rather specific criteria for what I consider a good mobile game for myself. For starters, I can’t do virtual analogue sticks. Maybe if I grew up with them like kids today, but I need the real thing. In fact, I much prefer turn-based games that I can easily put down and pick up again. If it can be played with one hand, it’s a bonus. Most importantly, I want to be able to have a satisfying session of play in a short period of time, but then have it draw me in enough to go for a longer session if I have time. This is all a roundabout way of saying that I judge mobile games by what’s best to play while I’m using the bathroom.
Do not pretend that you are above such things, dear Superjump reader.
Yes, I could have used a less crude activity that takes a similar length of time, such as waiting for a bus. But I don’t wait for a bus multiple times a day. So, this is my metric.
I am digressing, this article is not about my bathroom habits, it’s about the recently released mobile ports of Terry Cavanagh’s fantastic Dicey Dungeons. I subjected it to my particular criteria and found it to pass with flying colours.
If you’re unfamiliar with Dicey Dungeons, it’s a roguelike that’s a mix of deck builder and dice game. Each card of your small deck is an ability that requires particular dice to work. For example, you might have an attack card that does five damage but only can have an even dice put in, or a card that can repeatedly be used to poison an enemy but can’t have more than a three put in.
Dicey Dungeons is an ideal game for those new to roguelikes, as the runs are short and are designed to constantly push the player forward with success (at least in the beginning). Each dungeon run will consist of five floors followed by a final boss, and while the floors are randomised, the amount of enemies is constant, which allows the game to provide a guiding hand without being intrusive.
Dicey Dungeons has plenty of variety for those who want to go deeper into the game. There are six characters, each with their own unique mechanics. Each character has six episodes they can take part in, which increase in difficulty and add new rules and restrictions to your run. There are also two sets of bonus episodes, a Halloween-themed set and a brand new set called Reunion, which give the characters new movesets and enemy variants.
It's a breezy game that’s full of charm, helped by its bright, colourful artwork and sardonic hosts (the set-up of this game is that the characters are transformed into dice and let loose in a game show they cannot win). The fast pace of the game means that you can clear a floor or two in a few minutes (read: one trip to the loo) and it runs smoothly on my ageing Android phone. There were no hiccups or crashes even when I moved to another app and then back to the game. It’s every bit as good on my phone as it is on PC. It’s an excellent port for when you’re sitting... well, you know where. Just go play Dicey Dungeons.
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