Right now everyone is going gaga over the Nintendo Switch, but I am too much of a cheapskate to buy new hardware so I’ll continue to play on my 3DS… an old 3DS at that! Given my frugal nature, I often scour the e-shop for good deals. A few days ago my bargain hunt uncovered an inexpensive gem titled Brave Dungeon. For just under a fiver I got my mitts on a game that contains two of my favourite things in the whole world – turn based RPG combat and cute anime girls! The game’s premier waifu is a scythe wielding treasure hunter named Al who players need to guide, as she navigates dungeons in search of precious magical items.
Al’s spelunking adventure will see her traverse a total of five dungeons. Like a Megaman boss selection screen, you are able to tackle each level in any order you desire. Be aware however that enemies get progressively tougher each time Al descends down to a dungeon’s lower floor. If your party wipes don’t despair though, because the game has no death penalty. Whenever the player’s group is rendered unconscious Al is whisked back to the safety of town, where she can regroup and select an easier location to level at. How I wish that Dark Souls were this merciful. What do you mean I have lost an hour’s worth of souls just because I stepped on a concealed trap? Damn you Miyazaki!!!
If you detest random encounters you’ll be pleased to hear that Brave Dungeon doesn’t have any. Combat only occurs when Al steps on a monster tile. It’s impossible to bypass battles forever though, as a locked door blocks the stairway leading down to the next level. To unlock the exit Al needs to locate the floor’s key, which predictably is protected by a powerful guardian. Once a floor has been completely mapped out you get the ability to escape from battles, but I seldom took advantage of that option. Why miss out on valuable experience points? Besides, fleeing from a fight is cowardly and like Marty McFly I won’t tolerate anyone calling me a chicken.
My rating for Brave Dungeon is four stars. The game is a fun bite sized dungeon crawler that should appeal to retro gamers. It only takes around seven hours to clear the story, which is a fair length given the game’s low retail price. Best of all additional content gets unlocked once the final boss is vanquished. Not only does a bonus dungeon open up, but you also get access to some mini-games and New Game Plus. In terms of visuals I liked Brave Dungeon’s sixteen-bit pixel art and cute character designs. The foes you come across are so adorable that I almost felt bad about pelting them with offensive magic. For the greater good I was however forced to slaughter a horde of penguin torpedoes, cartoony spectres and muscular snowmen.
Brave Dungeon is a good game for fledgling RPG players because it isn’t too tough. Spending currency, procured via dungeon exploration, on stat boosts turns Al and chums into overpowered mob slayers. Trading loot for restaurant tokens also helps augment your team’s strength. Said eatery cooks meals that raise attack, defence, mind and agility. Which attribute gets increased is a mystery though because, like a McDonalds manned by inept staff, the food you get served is chosen at random. With minimal effort I completed the game using a team comprising of Al, the fairy healer and… a cat girl. Who can resist the allure of feline femmes? I can’t and the same goes for the folks who pledged $900k towards the Nekopara Kickstarter. For the record, I didn’t donate towards that project. As mentioned before, when it comes to spending cash I am a skinflint.