The iPhone as a gaming platform does one particular genre really well – the quick-hit puzzle game. But I have been looking for something a little more substantial, something that I can sink my teeth and time into. For a long time I found myself being disappointed. But, much like waiting for a bus, after a fair amount of time searching, two games came along at once that ticked the appropriate boxes, Dungeon Hunter 2 and Braveheart.
I will get onto Braveheart in another review, but here I want to discuss Dungeon Hunter 2 from GameLoft. Having never played the first game, I was not really sure what to expect. With a name like Dungeon Hunter, I was fairly sure that it would be a generic dungeon crawling RPG and really didn’t expect to enjoy it. Sometimes it is nice to be wrong.
But I was not completely wrong, there is a lot of generic stuff to be found in Dungeon Hunter 2, not least of which is the story. Once again we are faced with a Kingdom in peril and it comes down to the player to reclaim their throne and bring peace back to the land of Gothicus. All fairly standard stuff.
Also of a slightly generic nature are the available classes – the strong Warrior, the stealthy Rogue and the magical Mage. But upon reaching level 12 it gets a bit different, offering two specialisations for each class, giving variety in choices and how the player approaches the game. Players are given points to distribute between their attributes as they progress and also to unlock various abilities which allow the player to further customise their character. There are a huge number of different skills available, ensuring that each playthrough is substantially different from the last.
Playing through more than once is really encouraged by the addition of higher difficulty levels once the game is completed. Also, there is quiteÂ alot to experience during the adventure in Gothicus. There are a variety of different locations with distinctly different environments and a large number of potential adversaries to pick fights with. Then there is the treasure. Loot drops are plentiful in DH2 and the player will soon find themselves having to pick and choose between what they keep and what they turn into gold.
Where the game excels is in it’s pure hack ‘n’ slash fun. There are two different control methods, which both work well. Using a touch control method, the player just touches the screen where they want to go. It is not the most precise control method, but works well in this particular case. Much preferred though, is the virtual control stick which works incredibly well and allows much more freedom than the touch controls. All in all, everything is nice and responsive. Whichever control method the player chooses, the compelling nature of the simple button mashing gameplay is thoroughly enjoyable.
Not everything is perfect though. From a visual point of view, sadly the game just does not look great. The sprites and scenery look alright from a distance, but get too close and things start to get very messy. There is also the matter of multiplayer. The game offers co-op multiplayer at it’s most basic for up to four players locally and online. But it really is very basic, offering no interaction with the other players beyond standing by their side whilst fighting monsters. It should also be noted that multiplayer is not an option on all iPhone/iPod Touch models, as I found out when sitting with a friend for some co-op action. Their first gen iPhone simply didn’t have the option of multiplayer at all.
But these are just little hiccups in what is otherwise a pretty damn good action-RPG on the iPhone. Whilst it would have been nice for the game to look a little better, and a deeper co-op game would be welcome, the fact is that the game offers compelling gameplay, which is what matters. Dungeon Hunter 2 has plenty of competition on the App Store, but proves itself to be one of the best of it’s genre.
Dungeon Hunter 2, from GameLoft, is available on the App Store for just Â£3.49