Every video gamer has a favorite title category or genre. Since early computer entertainment, mine has always been the “dungeon crawler”. The premise is simple. Guide a single character or small party of adventurers through dank labyrinths, collecting treasure and defeating monsters along the way. As you do this, your character(s) will level up and your weapons & armor will improve. So describes the game we’re here to review. It’s called Castle Torgeath: Descent into Darkness; developed by Dungeoneering Studios and published by Black Shell Media.
As the game begins, you’re treated to a short intro as Castle Torgeath itself looms ahead. Then you’re tossed into darkness, with only a basic sword for defense and a small torch to light the way.
As your single character moves around the dungeon floor, keep an eye out for food, potions, and other collectibles. Like in many dungeon games, items are not plentiful here, so inventory management is key. Listen for scratches and other signs that denizens may be nearby. If you are a “flight stick” gamer, you’ll find the movement a little awkward; there’s no inverted Y-axis available for mouse look. I’m sure that will be added later. For now just remember to move your mouse forward to look down, which you’ll want to do often. Creepy crawlers like to sneak up and bite your ankles, and you need to be facing them to score a hit with your equipped weapon.
To ensure survival, you’ll need to eat and heal regularly. Apples and raw meat are both bright red and easy to spot. Healing potions are a dusky brown and can be missed among the rubble and refuse. Also, make sure to examine potential hiding spots, such as bookshelves and writing desks, as keys and other items may be hidden inside. One feature I particularly like is what I call the “key scavenger hunt”. Key 1 opens a chest revealing Key 2, which in turn opens a locked door.
From time to time, you’ll encounter non-player characters (NPCs). The first one you meet is a trader, and he may have items to sell. I found this guy to be really funny because he just stands in place amid a room full of spiders. He neither fears the giant beasts nor makes any attempt to help you defeat them. He just wants to barter.
As you wander, be on the lookout for traps. Some are disguised as suspicious carpets lying in the middle of a corridor. Others show up as spiked protrusions on a wall. If you’ve played other dungeon crawls you know the drill; watch where you’re walking!
So this brings us to the big question; is Castle Torgeath: Descent into Darkness worth it? Yes, it is. Priced on Steam at $5 (USD), the title is a bargain. At this point in its development, the game is noticeably unfinished. But it’s still a lot of fun, even without the inverted mouse option. I look forward to seeing the final product.
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