Tiny Dangerous Dungeons

No Danger Too Tiny

Just like the game title implies, Tiny Dangerous Dungeons, is "tiny" albeit short in terms of its length. The short length does not mean you get a little value out of your money as the game is priced at $0.99. In gauging the value when it comes to short mobile games, it is never about the quantity of the content, but rather the entire experience. This game is originally a Flash-based browser game by Jussi Simpanen and now it has expanded into a polished and perfected mobile game.



Tiny Dangerous Dungeons is an open-world Metroidvania that employs the original Game Boy visuals (the original 2-bit olive green palette, not the Game Boy Color one). You have to run back and forth across the levels to get the items needed to access the previously unreachable parts of the dungeons. There are four tools that will help you in completing the entire dungeon, all of them are mandatory, an example is the power that allows you to push blocks out of the way. These tools do not have a single purpose also, as they do have secondary uses. The throwing knives can also be used in pushing blocks from the distance, so it is not as redundant as you might think it is. At first, you are just going to jump around the dungeon with no special tools. As soon as you acquire these tools, the once very linear dungeon will open up robust and interconnected paths and levels. You control with the on-screen buttons, the left-right movement buttons are located on the left side of the screen, while the rest of the actions are in the right side. The controls are good, but not the best, it could definitely improve since I find the controls “resisting” my inputs, as if there is a little bit rubber band that stops my character from moving to the direction I'm pushing him into.



There are checkpoints that both saves your progress and restores your health. You start with only three hearts, but you could upgrade this when you are able to discover the hidden places where they are stashed away from your reach. When you finally found the final treasure, you could always replay the game for speed running. The game also supports an achievement system and leaderboard, hence you chase all of the other records and discover the hidden treasures that you might have missed in the first run. Or you can impose some restrictions to yourself, like completing the game with only one health, and without saving! Applying Rogue-like rules in a Metroidvania game should be fun for those up for the challenge. The skill ceiling for this game is not as high as other games, but still skill-based enough that you need to practice (only when it comes to speed-running and challenges, if you take it slow, you do not need much skill.)

The graphics stick to its roots, staying faithful to the retro artstyle. Nothing really much you can improve in a very restricting color palette even though you know the game could look a little bit nicer if 16-bit graphics are used instead. But that is entirely up to the artist's vision. The music is also fine, as well as the sound effects. Again, because the game is channeling the Game Boy era, you would not expect anything further than what you would hear decades ago from the handheld console.



Yes, the game is short, and there is not much “content” to fool around and get overwhelmed instead. There is no grind, there are no in-app purchases. It is what is: a perfect bite-sized mobile game with lots of personality and quality level design. There may be better platformers out there, mechanically, but this one is fine as a throwback title with a decent gameplay.
4.7 / 5.0
 
review by Jasper Nikki | May 6th 2015


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