Dungeon Land is a brand new game published by Paradox Interactive that has a very charming cartoon style to it. The aim of the game is a hard cooperative experience where either you have three people work together to overcome the AI controlled dungeon or to add a fourth player into the mix who will control the dungeon itself. If you lack the required amount of players bots will fill in the blank spots but they tend to not be very helpful besides the warrior bot who will do a good job tanking. I'd personally say that without the intended amount of players, you will not have nearly as much fun.
One of the cool aspects of Dungeon land is its theme. The entire game is made to be like an amusement park run by an evil sorcerer, the dungeon maestro. The goal is to beat his dungeons and get some gold (an in-game currency) to purchase various upgrades. This game also harkens back to table top dungeons and dragons, especially in the DM mode where the map is set up like a game board, even having various kinds of dice in the backdrop.
There are 3 classes to play, mage, warrior, and thief, with each also having 3 different weapon sets which slightly change their play styles. The mage's primary role is support. Not only does the mage start with an area of effect healing potion, it also has the ability to make another player immune to damage for a short time. The mage's three choices in weapon are a fire, ice or lightning wand. Fire is focused mainly on damage, frost is defensive and lets the caster stun targets, while lightning is a bit more focused on support and is a middle range for damage between fire and ice. The warrior's focus is tanking and does significantly less damage than the other two classes. The warrior's three weapons are a hammer, lance, and sword and shield combo. As one would suspect, the shield has the best defensive capabilities while the hammer does a bit more damage and has an aoe stun. The lance is a middle ground with a bit more mobility. Finally the thief's main focus is to deal damage. He comes with a back stab that will one-hit kill most enemies which may sound incredibly powerful now but it is certainly a needed tool once you see how hard the game can get. The thief's weapon choices are daggers, a rifle, and a bow. The dagger is fast paced damage while the bow is slower but pierces through multiple foes. The gunner is again a middle ground.
Concept art of the 3 classes:
Cooperation is Key
Although there are 3 classes you do not need to take one of each but the game seems to be designed around having all classes. At the very least the mage seems to be a requirement to make a good deal of ground through the dungeons with his immunity beam and heal. When playing with 3 players through the game, the lowest difficulty is “hard” mode and that is no understatement. You start only with 3 lives which can be gone through fairly rapidly, if you don't work together and play off each other's strengths to the T then you are not going to make it very far. For me, this is rather refreshing. The game does not hold your hand and is quite challenging from the get go. Alternatively if you play on DM mode, where one player controls the dungeon, you can set the difficulty down to normal, easy (50% less damage taken) or even very easy (90% less damage taken).
The DM mode is really the heart of this game. Even on the lower difficulty settings, the DM can still easily kill the other players if the cards line up right for him and a bit of strategy is employed. The only control over what abilities you can use as the DM comes down to the ability select page before the match starts. Using in-game currency, you can unlock all sorts of monsters, spells, traps, tricks, and even different bosses but once the game begins you are given a hand of cards which will have random monsters/abilities that you had previously selected. Periodically you will also draw an additional card so the longer the players take to get through the room the more potential damage the DM can do. The DM also works off a mana system where each card takes a certain amount of mana to play. This is to balance against using too many powerful abilities together. The DM can also take control of monsters directly one at a time to use them to a deadlier effect for the basic AI isn't exactly that smart.
What this game comes down to is multiplayer. If you have no one to play this with, it is not for you. Even just having one other person is lackluster and I can only recommend this game to you if you have 2 or 3 other people to buy it with you. The game itself is $10 or you can get a 4-pack on steam, saving you the cost of one copy. Words can only say so much about this game and it is best to either experience it yourself or to at least see a proper play through of it. That being said I present you with a 4-player DM mode run through from Totalbiscuit.