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Puzzle Dungeon


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MarcusPuzzle DungeonPuzzle Dungeon is a funny little adventure game from eyehook, the creator of Color Box. The title conjures up any number of different genres; perhaps a match-3 game like Puzzle Quest, or an RPG, or even a hidden-object adventure. As you will quickly find out, Puzzle Dungeon is none of the above. It is a simple, casual roguelike, the descendant of classics such as ADOM and NetHack.

You start off with your stalwart adventurer on the surface, and descend into a randomly-generated dungeon of ever-increasing complexity. On your journey, you will encounter various nasty creatures who are out to stop your progress. Use your mighty stick and cloak to fight them off and continue through the dungeon. Along the way, you will also come across treasure chests and gems. Open the chests to find gold and useful random items, and mine the gems for more money. Use the gold at one of the slot machines located randomly throughout the dungeon to win even more items.

Treasure chests and gems are where the "puzzle" part of Puzzle Dungeon comes from. Landing on a chest presents you with a puzzle screen; line up a column of yellow boxes by moving them two-at-a-time left or right. Alternatively, you can use a skeleton key, if you have one, to bypass the puzzle. Landing on a gem presents you with a simple match-2 game. Clear the board by matching one of two block types, either vertically for the light ones or horizontally for the dark ones. Or, again alternatively, you can use a spade to dig your way through most of the level if you happen to have one.

Analysis: There have not been many javaScript-based roguelikes, so Puzzle Dungeon gets some credit for being one of the first. It also saves your progress, which is important, since it's not always possible to make it through the levels in one sitting. And it has some nice graphics, with well-illustrated monsters and good item icons. It is also legitimately fun to play. But this little game does have some flaws which keep it from true greatness.

The main problem is the promise of more gameplay unfulfilled. During the first few levels of the game, you are taunted by a character who gives you a cursed cloak, which eventually becomes a legitimate defense against creatures. Sounds like the makings of a system to upgrade items, right? And with a number of extra slots in your inventory for equipped items, you'd be right in thinking so. But, after the last cloak encounter, he never shows up again. And, after 100 levels, there doesn't appear to be any other way of collecting equipment.

Why 100 levels? After 100, the creatures are undefined, and so the game is not able to generate level 101. It really makes the game feel either A - unfinished, or B - abandoned. Either way, Puzzle Dungeon could be truly fun if the developer were to add in some more equipment and more levels, or else a new quest that allows you to ascend back through the levels from which you came.

Another minor quibble is the complete lack of sound. While that wasn't a problem for the classic roguelikes, a more modern approach would allow for some sort of soundtrack and simple combat sounds, if nothing else.

Puzzle Dungeon is a fun little diversion, a game that you can sit and play for a few minutes of hack-and-slash action and then let be. The lack of sound actually makes it somewhat office-safe, and the fact that it saves your progress makes it easy to pick up and put down quickly. If the developer would revisit the title, I think it could become a classic.

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21 Comments

Seeing as how this game is written in javascript and run entirely in the browser, it's super easy to fiddle around with it.

The below are cheats and will probably ruin your game experience, they will also DESTROY YOUR SAVE. This is your only warning.

To use the below cheats, simply open up the game and paste the lines into the address bar of your browser (works in firefox at least) and don't forget to press GO!.

For a more comprehensive cheating experience, you could go install Firebug for Firefox and deconstruct the whole game for fun and non-profit. (Javascript experience required).


To create a sword called Sword of Madness that deals 12 damage and equip it - (the stick deals 1)

javascript:function cheatSword(){var sword = new Array("SWORD_HARD", "Sword of madness", "Looks a bit like the stick!", "club.gif", 0, 0, 0, null, 12);ITEM_DB.create(sword);ITEM[sword[0]].type = ITEM_DB.TYPE_WEAPON;ITEM[sword[0]].dmg = sword[8];PC.weapon = ITEM.SWORD_HARD;}cheatSword()

To create a Yeti Cloak that has a defense rating of 15 and wear it (regular cloaks have 0 or 1).

javascript:function cheatCloak(){javascript:var yeti_fur = new Array("YETI_CLOAK", "Fine yeti fur cloak", "It smells minty fresh.", "cloakGray.gif", 0, 0, 0, null, 15);ITEM_DB.create(yeti_fur); ITEM[yeti_fur[0]].type = ITEM_DB.TYPE_ARMOR; ITEM[yeti_fur[0]].def = yeti_fur[8];PC.armor = ITEM.YETI_CLOAK;}cheatCloak()

For OVER NINETHOUSAND GOLD!

javascript:function cheatGold(){PC.gold = 9001;}cheatGold();

To jump to level 99:

javascript:function cheatLevel(){DUNGEON.level = 99;DUNGEON.generate();}cheatLevel();


Or for all the above at once:

javascript:function totalCheat(){var sword = new Array("SWORD_HARD", "Sword of madness", "Looks a bit like the stick!", "club.gif", 0, 0, 0, null, 12);ITEM_DB.create(sword);ITEM[sword[0]].type = ITEM_DB.TYPE_WEAPON;ITEM[sword[0]].dmg = sword[8];PC.weapon = ITEM.SWORD_HARD;var yeti_fur = new Array("YETI_CLOAK", "Fine yeti fur cloak", "It smells minty fresh.", "cloakGray.gif", 0, 0, 0, null, 15);ITEM_DB.create(yeti_fur); ITEM[yeti_fur[0]].type = ITEM_DB.TYPE_ARMOR; ITEM[yeti_fur[0]].def = yeti_fur[8];PC.armor = ITEM.YETI_CLOAK;PC.gold = 9000;DUNGEON.level = 99;DUNGEON.generate();}totalCheat();


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Anonymous March 30, 2009 7:43 PM

Man, a plus 1 stick would be awesome.

About lvl 30 my character cannot hit certain monsters anymore, so when I ran out of teleportation scrolls or other helpful potions I would get cornered and die.

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Oh my God, it's like the only part of Azure Dreams that was ever worth playing. Sometimes you want depth, drama, powerful characterisation and sweeping music.

And then sometimes you just want to collect things and bash other things with a stick. I am not a complicated woman.

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I like dungeon crawls very much, though they were either really unintuitive or ascii. This one is really simple and has quite a funny plot, I guess. Of course, not comparable to dungeon crawl stone soup, but I guess I enjoyed it.

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This game definitly has the makings of being fun, but there is WAY too much here that needs improvement, at least to me.

First of all... I'm level 39 currently.
I have, bloody cloak, and stick. Fairly obvious, you have that at like level 10. When I got the cloak upgrade, I thought, GREAT, now some monsters can't hurt me.

Turns out, only the bat can't hurt you now... and I haven't run into one for the last 20 levels.

When I first ran into the wisps, and the dark horrors (approx level 20) I thought, GREAT, weapon increase soon. 19 levels later... NOTHING.

Has the makings of a good game. But, I'm at level 39, and I'm not expecting anything new for the rest of the 61 levels. I hope I'm wrong but, so far its 'dark horror, potion of invisi. Wisp, potion of strength...' etc etc... kind of boring and routine.

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i ran into the same problem as JIGuest, around the same time.. at which point I decided to read the 2nd 1/2 of this review... and realized that i just went through 30 levels and in the end the game is going to just stop at level 100 w/ no advance in plot... pretty disappointing... =( it seemed so promising with that annoying old guy....

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Anonymous March 30, 2009 11:13 PM

Got to like level 60-something and still dont have anything but the stick and the second cloak. Do you ever get anything more?

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Tiny Toaster March 30, 2009 11:14 PM

This game became a breeze once I realized three things:

1) Fighting enemies does not make your character stronger.
2) All treasure chests can be solved in about five seconds if you know what you're doing.
3) Invisibility potions and rage liquids are basically "Get Out of Level Free" cards and are the only items worth trying to get from the slots (aside from health potions).

Unfortunately, the game also stopped being fun once I realized these three things, as it devolved into a basic strategy of buying invisibility potions in order to reach gems for money to buy more invisibility potions. This could be a good game with some adjustments, but they'd have to be pretty major adjustments.

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For a game that calls itself "Puzzle Dungeon", the puzzle aspect could have been incorporated a bit more thoroughly. Once you realize how one of the very few puzzle mini-game varieties works (chests, gems), they become insultingly easy; more irritating and stalling than fun and challenging. The fact that you have to "solve" them over and over again, on nearly every level, doesn't exactly help. Different puzzles and an adapting difficulty curve would have better suited the potential hinted by the whimsical story and presentation during the first levels.

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Anonymous March 31, 2009 12:25 AM

Just finished it and I have to say, after level 25, it is the same, for 75 more levels. Stop there if you want to play at all, I beg you.

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Anonymous March 31, 2009 3:28 AM

Hey, thanks for the review, Marcus! I've done a quick update and now something a bit more special than an error message happens at level 100. Hopefully I'll find the time to add a lot more monsters, loot, Bob-based intrigue, and puzzles in the future. :) Thanks again!

-eyehook

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I managed to make it to level 50 before I figured out that nothing was going to get any different here.

[Edit: To recommend a game please feel free to use the "Submit" - button on top of the page ~ Greetings, Kayleigh]

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The dark horror and wisp make for a somewhat annoying 'you must have this item to proceed further without problems' barrier; since you can't hurt them without the rage potion, and they follow you around, if you don't have either a teleport scroll, rage potion, or invisibility potion and don't get more, you'll eventually find yourself blocked by one or the other. This seems like a good *start* to a nice game but it desperately needs more fleshing out to be really good (different puzzles later on, more 'story' [not Oscar material but definitely pleasing enough to keep things flowing], new enemies with different behavior or at least some way of convincing me to fight them rather than avoid them, etc.).

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ninjaman123 Author Profile Page March 31, 2009 9:07 AM

nice cheats gzur. i beat the game much faster than i would of

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Why go through all the trouble of the javascript code above when a simple:

javascript: function wickedCheat() { ITEM.CLOAK.def=50; ITEM.BLOODY_CLOAK.def=50; ITEM.GRAY_CLOAK.def=50; ITEM.STICK.dmg=50;} wickedCheat();

Changes attack and defense on everything you can use and DOESN'T BREAK YOUR SAVE.

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In addition to my previous post, both @gzur's level and gold script won't break your save either and can be used in combination with my previously posted script.

The Gold and Level scripts only need to be run once per game as gold and level is saved in a cookie, the weapon/armor script I posted needs to be run every time you load up a game in order to get the bonuses... VERY IMPORTANT! Especially on higher levels.

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Wes: Nicely done :)

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Digging

You can dig through walls, but if you have your rage active it takes it away.

Stuck?

Use dig to go through a wall and yes you can still kill them, but you have to use a rage potion or you won't hurt them after at least 25 levels, probably later.
Digging works with or without the rage potion.

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eyehook April 2, 2009 1:21 PM

New weapon that can kill wisps and dark horrors, and tips to survive them.

A new weapon that can kill wisps and dark horrors becomes available at level 30. Until then, use your spade to dig an escape route, use a teleport scroll to escape, use a liquid rage to boost your damage, or use an invisibility potion to sneak past them.

Also, using a magic map before digging will help you plan a better escape.

Have fun!

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Magic slots

If you get all jokers you get 500 gold

Save feature

It only saves at the beginning of every level after you complete a level, it does not save when you lose. so if you lose you can close it and come back to the higher level you were previously on.

Monster difficulty

After level 60 or 70 you have to use rage or you are going be running out of potions fast.

Monster specialties

the dark horror(in a black cloak) and the wisp(white light ball) can only be hurt if you use liquid rage.
When using rage- The sand worm dies after 3 hits after whacking you for 2 whole hearts. The imp(red devil guy) gets you for a half heart, you have to hit him twice. The flaming skull gets you for one whole heart, you have to hit him once.
invisibility surpasses all enemies. If you do not want to fight then use that and get the spade and key to make things go faster.

all in all it was a good game, though I would have preferred more upgrades. even though it was sorta short and not too many upgrades I found close to no game errors. very rarely a picture would show in the wrong spot, but it was probably in my inventory and it very quickly loaded the correct scenery.

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link is broken

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