You guys know better than anyone how many games pour onto the mobile market on a daily basis. I check the Google Play Store almost every day just to see if there is anything new interesting, and curiously, this game instantly caught my eye, which rarely happens, really. It’s not even a new game, per say, it simply had great art that drew me. Why haven’t I heard about it before? I thought that it’s time to correct that and, if my hunch was anything to go by, I could recommend a great game to you guys. And not only was it a bullseye, but a literal jackpot. I thought of reviewing a few older games in the upcoming months (like I did with the Lost Socks a couple of months ago) just to see how do these games hold up today, but let’s turn to something that isn’t top grossing and is just a great mobile game. I present to you: Gumballs & Dungeons.
The game came out in late 2015. It had over 1 million installs, an amazing average rating (4.74) with a high rating count (~76k). It launched as free to play. And I have never heard of it up until now. Shameful. The developer is largely unknown, listed as Qcplay Limited whose only notable game is this one, with one more being credited to them. They seemed to have updated Gumballs & Dungeons regularly, as 2018 saw a few updates already. They were founded back in 2014. Not much more to say because, strangely, I couldn’t dig much about them. This gem of theirs didn’t grace the Top 10 anytime during its lifetime, but it did get to be in the top 100 in 14 countries and top 500 in 10 more countries. I hope they were satisfied, but I am furious that tons of dumber games are earning millions while I have never seen this gem before.
The official trailer is here:
But since it shows absolutely nothing (the company has money and skill, but their marketing skills are obviously lacking), I would find gameplay videos on YouTube if I were you.
Anyway, let’s get to the game itself. First off, it is listed as a strategy game, which is really strange because it feels more like an adventure game with RPG and building elements more than anything. Sure, it has a lot of things which differ in nature (including dungeons that look like RPG dungeons with items and abilities and all). Funnily enough, the game is probably inspired by a roguelike dungeon crawler game called Dungelot. And that’s your core gameplay experience. You go out in the dungeons, collect goodies, bring some items back to your ‘hub’ area where you can build a few things and upgrade them. You also collect new heroes along the way by freeing them from the depths of the dungeons and upgrade their skills (you also prepare them delicious food to strengthen them!).
The dungeons themselves are divided into levels, and each level consists of lots of tiles which you can flip over. So once you get into the dungeon, you start from the tiles closest to you and tap on a tile to flip it to see what’s underneath. Sometimes it’s an enemy, sometimes an item or something else entirely such as the shop. You wouldn’t believe how deep this game is for a mobile title; it definitely warrants playing it for quite some time. It is played in the top-down perspective, so this works well.
One thing that I find weird is that, while certain loot stays with you once the dungeon is done, most of your items that are useful for the dungeons themselves are practically deleted. Same goes for your levels and progression in that sense. So each time when you enter the dungeon, you basically start with level 1 (even if there are no standard levels) and with no gear at all. Generally, your task is to gear up as quickly as possible to make your descent into the lower levels easier. Finding permanent upgrades is the most important thing, though these are rare and come with some trouble.
While there are no ‘classes’ in the game in their standard form, you basically choose a path or a ‘title’ as the game calls it, which gives you certain stats until the end of the dungeon. And thus, a swordsman would have a crit chance on hit, and other classes would have their own stat boosts.
Now, remember that hub that I talked about? Well, your main building generates gold, and you will have several helpers who collect it. They also do that while you are out exploring dungeons, too, so in a sense, the game has an idle game feature. The amount of gold that they collect off-screen is limited, but can be upgraded as well.
Last but not the least, the game isn’t asking for your money glaringly. The developers took a very humble approach which I really respect and the game isn’t pay to win. However, it will take you quite some time to progress into the ‘meat’ of the game, so if you like to play mobile titles that you can turn off after 5 or 10 minutes, don’t pick this one up. I, however, am thoroughly enjoying it.