DungeonLand is an easily misunderstood game. I don't necessarily blame its publisher or marketing department, but perhaps its just the gaming mindset today. At first glance it's easy to mistake it for an Action RPG in the same vane as Diablo or Torchlight, but as we learned from our interview, DungeonLand has more in common with Gauntlet than the aforementioned titles. After putting several hours into the title, I can easily see that reference, but there's other inspirations there including hints of Smash T.V. and a model of unlocks that feel similar to free to play titles. The biggest draw though isn't necessarily the nostalgia, but just how well the game's characters work for co-op play.
There's no huge overarching story in DungeonLand, instead there are different theme parks to choose from, each with their own motif. The entire feel of the game is a bit silly and the bright colors and over the top character and enemy design accentuate that. Even the music and sound effects are a bit goofy, so it's obvious the game isn't taking itself too seriously.
While there's not a huge difference between the parks themselves, there is a nice variety. One level focuses on animal creatures with enemies ranging from bees to monkeys while another is more fantasy based with orcs and fat purple dragons making an appearance. The levels are broken up into sub-missions, two areas you need to traverse and then a boss area. To clear each section of a mission you'll need to kill all the enemies and the enemy spawners. Along the way you'll be smashing crates and barrels and picking up plenty of loot like gold coins, gems, and other goodies.
There are three classes to choose from in DungeonLand - Mage, Warrior and Rogue - but in saying so you are only getting one third of the story. The characters themselves actually have unlockable sub classes, yielding different play styles for the roles they'd typically fill. The Mage can subclass himself into a Fire or Ice mage for example, or the Rogue can choose to wield a gun or a bow instead of the normal throwing daggers. There's trade-offs here that becomes immediately apparent, especially in co-op play. For instance if you mix the knife throwing Rogue with an ice Mage; the Rogue's throwing knives combined with the Mage's ice wall will take on the properties of that element, freezing enemies in the process. These elemental combinations can help greatly with crowd control, which is crucial for survival in DungeonLand.
So while the combat system of DungeonLand seems simple at first, with a basic attack, potion based skill and a secondary skill that's limited by a power gauge, it quickly becomes deeper as you combine the classes together and support each other. There's an additional layer added by using the gold you've collected to unlock active and passive abilities for your character. For instance, while the Mage normally has a temporary ability that makes a person invulnerable for a short period of time, you can unlock the ability to heal instead - completely changing up the dynamic of play.