Back in October 2018, Devious Dungeon released on consoles to a fairly middling reception. Largely regarded as a solid if somewhat unspectacular sidescroller, the game was clearly successful enough for the studio to develop a sequel. And now, that moment has arrived with Devious Dungeon 2. Question is, can the sequel improve upon the original, or is it just more of the same?
If you played the first game, then you will know what you’re in for here, with Devious Dungeon 2 largely following the same format as the original. You play as an individual determined to stop an evil creature called the Summoner, and recover untold riches from a haunted castle.
As you begin the game, you’re given a choice between three separate classes; barbarian, mage and rogue, which is a change from the first title, in which you were unable to select a class. Choosing the barbarian means you’ll be getting up close and personal with your foes, with the intention of button mashing them to death. The mage allows you to unleash spells from a distance, while the rogue is a faster paced character, allowing much quicker movement. And some stabbing. The range of classes add different dimensions to combat, allowing you to take a variety of approaches, and with Devious Dungeon 2 on Xbox One letting you have three save slots, you can realistically start a save with each class, and challenge yourself by adjusting to different play styles.
The checkpoint structure found in the previous game is also still in place, adding an interesting level of challenge not always present in similar games. You only receive a checkpoint once you’ve progressed through at least three stages without dying, with each of the stages being randomly generated. This means you’ll never play the exact same level twice, so learning enemy locations and item drops is a complete waste of time; you will never quite know what might be waiting around the corner.
The objective of each stage is to find the magical key that unlocks the portal to take you to the next stage, but scattered throughout the levels are pieces of treasure, which play a part in completing some of the game’s challenges. These can be found in the menu section, and largely consist of fulfilling objectives that you will likely do without even noticing. Each completed challenge rewards with you XP, ensuring that you level up quicker.
Every time you receive a checkpoint, you’ll be allowed to restock your items with Olaf, a trusty shopkeeper, who seems capable of some insane feats of teleportation. Or he just keeps following you and letting you do the dirty work. In any case, that doesn’t matter for you can buy new weapons, armour, potions and trinkets that have specific magical effects to help boost your character, all with the money you pick up throughout the stages. As you upgrade your weapons, you can purchase items that have specific statistical bonuses, including daggers that deal poison damage over time and weapons that freeze your enemies in place, to name a few. The customisation is fairly similar in nature to the first game, in that it is somewhat limited, but there seems to be a greater variety of weapons. There’s a satisfying sense of progression here too, and you can feel your character becoming more powerful as the hours pass. Defeating enemies grants you XP, which allows you to level up and increase either your damage output, health or your chances of inflicting a critical hit on an opponent. Standard RPG things, really.
There’s a solid variety of enemies you’ll have to contend with as you battle through caves, mines and dungeons. Some foes will charge straight at you at surprising speed, requiring you to deal with them quickly, while others are content to sit or hover and fire off attacks from range. The volume of enemies varies through the levels, and becomes more intense as you progress, turning up the difficulty. The boss battles help spice things up a bit, and the addition of new mini bosses add an extra layer of unpredictability to the otherwise formulaic structure. These enemies are tougher than the usual standard, and are found randomly wandering around the procedurally generated levels.
Unfortunately, the only issue with the gameplay is the same gripe I had with the first game – it’s repetitive. I mean, really repetitive. There’s no real variation in your objectives and after a while you will likely tire of killing enemies and finding keys. It starts to become a bit of a tedious grind, which will feel quite familiar if you already made it through the original Devious Dungeon.
This is the biggest frustration with Devious Dungeon 2, it just doesn’t feel like it has evolved enough from its predecessor. It’s not a significant step up, and if anything, it’s harder to be more excited about this one just because things haven’t progressed. Yes, it does expand in some gameplay areas, but it doesn’t ever feel like enough, which is a genuine shame. If you enjoyed the first one, then sure, you may enjoy Devious Dungeon 2. Just know that it very much feels like the same game.