At first glance, Dungeonland seems like the typical dungeon crawler hack and slash. A team of a mage, a warrior, and a rogue go forth to conquer a dungeon that has been filled with monsters by an evil villain. While that cliché is true, the dungeon is instead a theme park, made by the Dungeon Maestro, created to kill off the heroes.
The story to this game is very straightforward. You are the good guys and the villain made a theme park filled with evil creatures. Other than that, there isn’t really anything more. While that may sound bad, I don’t think it detracts from the fun of the game. Dungeonland is more about overcoming the challenge of the theme park as a group than participating in a storyline.
Dungeonland is very reliant on co-op and is practically impossible to complete without some friends. Everyone shares lives, so having empty-headed, near-suicidal AI players really drags everything down. When you do have a competent, well-rounded team, however, there is a ton of fun to be had. Blazing through the trials and slaughtering monsters to the Dungeon Maestro’s dismay is extremely satisfying.
Even more entertaining than playing as the heroes is the alternate mode of playing as the Dungeon Maestro. You can summon monsters to attack the heroes and try to kill them off. In this mode you can also unleash magic attacks, traps, special monsters, and my personal favorite, pressing the “laugh” button. The laugh button causes the Dungeon Maestro to laugh manically and there is even an “evil laughs per minute” statistic at the end of the round.
When playing as the hero, it is a true hack and slash with the familiar button mashing, but with other buttons for special abilities and attacks, but the “Be the Dungeon Maestro” mode is more of a card game. You pick cards at the beginning that consist of monsters, spells, etc. and they are drawn from the deck during the round at certain intervals. It gives the game good variety with the different gameplay and adds more fun to the total package. The alternative gameplay also makes more fair for the heroes trying to get through the theme park because they aren’t bombarded by every enemy and power at once.
Overall, Dungeonland was better than I expected it to be. Most hack and slash dungeon crawlers have the tendency of getting repetitive and lacked a story and/or motivation to continue the game, but Dungeonland is definitely an exception. Good use of co-op and a great variety of gameplay with the different heroes and modes make this game a very entertaining $9.99.