The Hardest Dungeon
Many years ago, in the lands of Mamlukia, the first set of tarot cards was created, The Deck of Mulark. They were imbued with great power and those who wielded these cards could change the world. Because of this they were wanted by many who wished to wield their powers for themselves. The last of the Mamlukans retreated into the dungeons of Kalok as kingdoms fell, taking with them the Deck of Mulark. Many Mamlukans starved to death; only one family survived, but the deck was lost in the dungeons. Over time, replica tarot cards were produced, although their original purpose was long forgotten, until now.
You play as Jarvis, the last descendant of the once powerful Mamlukans. You were raised by your grandfather, who told you the stories of the tarot card deck and of your ancestors. After your grandfather’s passing, he left you a legendary tarot card. You decide to go and search the dungeons of Kalok, the resting place of your ancestors, and to search for the Deck of Mulark. It won’t be an easy task; the dungeon is filled with all manner of monsters and traps, but you’re not alone in your quest to recover the missing cards.
You start the game by choosing between keyboard and mouse and gamepad to play the game. Next, you’ll choose to either start a new game or load a previously saved game. While on this menu screen you can also reset your progress, and change the resolution using the plus and minus buttons in the top right corner; you can also exit the game here should you wish too. Choosing a new game will give you the options of playing either Softcore (autosave at checkpoints, and you can revive fallen members at checkpoints) or a Hardcore (no checkpoints, no revive after wipe and autosave frequently) game.
Upon choosing the type of game you want to play, you’ll then be given the option of choosing one of three face down tarot cards which can aid you while in the dungeon. Next, you’ll head to the Team Customisation screen, where you’ll find information about the six characters in your team. Name, Gender, Class and Age are found on the left-hand side of the screen, along with three skill specifications for each character; you’ll be allowed to choose only one of these skills to take into the dungeon with you.
On the right-hand side of the screen, there’s a biography on all the team members, letting you know about them and their history. It will also tell you about the Unique Talent each team member possesses, like Jarvis, whose unique talent is that he can block monsters and their projectiles with his shield. His weapon of choice is a javelin, so the pointy bit is in front of you for using one of three different attacks, and his shield is behind him. Holding down the Left Shoulder button will activate the shield (off-hand, letting go will restore your main weapon) and place it in front of you, providing protection should you feel the need for some. This is the same for all members of your team and their unique talents and attacks.
In the centre of the screen is where you can select each of the team members; when doing so, it will reveal their biography etc. It will also show you the stats of the current member selected. These stats vary for each member, but they all consist of Attack, Defence, Speed, Cooldown, Visual and Range. Each of the subjects is rated from one to six slots filled, with one being the lowest, and six the highest. Knowing a member’s strengths and weaknesses along with customising your members will be key for progressing. Once you’ve customised your team to your liking, hit the Ready button at the bottom of the screen to head off into the bowels of Kalok dungeon.
The six team members are Jarvis the Warrior, Boris the Axe Dancer, Grace the Ranger, Mercer the Pyromancer, Kate the Rogue and Natalie the Necromancer. Using a member’s strong points at the right time may just save another member and get you through to the next dungeon. There’s no point trying to use brute force with Jarvis or Boris if there’s lots of traps about, but using Kate the Rogue with her Unique Talent will slow down enemies and disable traps using her Disorientation Potion (releases a fume when shattered upon contact) while throwing her Toxic Potion into the mix to poison the enemies while they’re immobilised.
You start in the entrance hall of the dungeon, where you’ll find a trader, who will offer you potions, torches and food (drumsticks) if you have enough gold. There’s also a test dummy for practising on, as well as a chest, which, if you open it, will give you a reward if you can get through the next dungeon level. If you’re playing softcore you can also revive fallen comrades here; if you click on a checkpoint from within the dungeon it will bring you back to the entrance hall. To revive a member, click on the statue in the same room as the test dummy, and to return to where you left the dungeon go to the checkpoint in the last room. You can also re-distribute any attribute points you may have collected from levelling up; these can be changed at the large chest in the second to last room.
As you reach the end of the entrance hall for the first time, you’ll come across the cursed dungeon keeper, Oakor. He was cursed because he deserted your ancestors and now must serve as your guide through the dungeon as you search for your long-lost heirloom, The Deck of Mulark, a tarot deck imbued with awesome powers which can change the world. Once Oakor has finished talking you can set off into the dungeon; your adventure starts here.
As you make your way through the dungeon defeating monsters and bosses, they will drop items, like potions, drumsticks, gold, and torches that you can make use of. You can only have so many of these at any point, and this will depend on any bonuses you may have from tarot cards, loot like accessories, weapons and armour stored in your inventory. Unlike most games, these items don’t need to be given to a certain member; they’ll give you bonuses from just being stored in your inventory. The first twenty-two arcane tarot cards displayed in the Tarot UI will require ten soul energies to activate (one at a time) and can have game changing effects. The remaining tarot cards will provide passive bonus without the need to activate.
When defeating monsters as you make your way through the dungeon, keep your mince pies open for a key being dropped. This is required in order to exit the current level and can be found somewhere on the floor; walking over the exit with the key will send you onto the next dungeon.
By hitting the escape button you’ll reveal the options on offer to you. You can turn the Music, Sounds and Blur On or Off and you can change the games resolution by either clicking on the plus or minus sign, there are no more settings you can alter here. It does however, show you which keys do what within the game for both keyboard and mouse or with a gamepad. You’ll see how to pause the game, turn GFX on or off or display damage etc.
I didn’t think my gamepad was working as I couldn’t aim, but after a message with the developer, I found out that when using a gamepad it auto-aims for you, so you only have to move and hit the attack buttons etc. I’d recommend using a gamepad over using a keyboard and mouse. I started to enjoy the game more using a gamepad.
Review written by Piston Smashed™ for Zeepond.com!
Positives+ Good graphics and sounds
+ Challenging but fun game
+ Active developer
Negatives- No cards yet
Survive and manage your team members as you search for the legendary tarot deck of your ancestors in the dungeons of Kalok.
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Zeepond Rating: 7/10
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