Dungeons of Sundaria - PC Review

Dungeons of Sundaria by developer and publisher Industry GamesPC(Steam) review written by Richard with a copy provided by the publisher. Disclosure: I received a free review copy of this product from https://keymailer.co. #keymailer #DungeonsOfSundaria
Estimated reading time: 8 minutes 

Welcome to the Dungeons of Sundaria! A world full of adventure and fright! Where you can traverse sprawling dungeons and fight fearsome foes. Well, as long as you don't get poisoned. Or knocked out of the world. Or get blasted and suddenly take 90% of your health in damage out of nowhere. Or get a boss you can't skip stuck in an attack animation/phase where you can't hurt them. Ok, so the "fright" isn't necessarily from your foes.

Welcome, new adventurer, to Galdrin's Crossing. A town with not much in it, but it does have a number of missing villagers! Luckily for the local town guard, you are unnaturally brave in going off to combat kidnapping cult members in the local crypt. Don't worry, your traveling clothes should suffice, right? Well, turns out they will, at least until you start looting better gear.

Dungeons of Sundaria is a 3D hack and slash type title where the goal is to kill as many enemies as possible and steal their stuff, thus making you more powerful to fight stronger enemies! Oh, and investigate this whole cult business and the "great evil" behind it all. That's about it. Storyline isn't exactly a big focus in Dungeons of Sundaria, or at least it really doesn't feel like it has any real bearing on the gameplay at all.

So. Let's talk a bit about how Dungeons of Sundaria and how it works. You start off in town, but you don't really need to do anything there. You can, for all intents and purposes, immediately leave town and never need to return since you can access any dungeon right from the get-go, although you may get beaten by the enemies there.

So gameplay in Dungeons of Sundaria consists of going to a dungeon, clearing it out while equipping anything decent you find, and then repeating. You have a number of skills as well as a basic attack available, with more skills unlocking as you level up to a certain point. Combat is a 3D hack and slash while spamming skills and trying and failing to avoid some of the more asinine attacks from the enemies. Occasionally you'll encounter a boss, and beating them usually drops a chest with a decent piece of gear inside.

There aren't a whole lot of areas, but each are uniquely themed with their own interesting aspects and bosses available. Just make sure you're prepared to fight your way through a lot of the same enemies over and over to reach the ending though, although they do tend to change up a bit as you progress through each individual stage. Good news though, each dungeon is full of checkpoints, and dying will just put you back at a checkpoint, where you can also continue from later on if you need to take a break. Also good news, enemies that you kill stay dead even if you die and get sent back to a checkpoint, at least until you restart the stage.

Now, normally I quite enjoy mindless hack and slash games. Heck, I love Dynasty Warriors, and that's pretty egregious for being repetitive. Dungeons of Sundaria however, has a decent chunk of issues. I'm going to go ahead and ignore the fact that loading in assets sometimes takes too long, they don't necessarily load properly, or they load at weird times. I found this so annoying, but it isn't exactly game breaking. There are, however, some very serious other issues that need to be addressed, so let's get on that instead.

First up, and most egregious, is the balancing. Good god man, it's absolutely disgusting. You can go through a stage on a lower difficulty and steamroll everything without breaking a sweat, and then up the difficulty to match your level, only to find out that everything is either just as easy, or kills you in 1 to 2 hits. Status effects are also pretty awful, specifically poison, which every single archer seems to have, and has seen my health go from full to empty in literally under a second. It's dumb and awful, and if you have nothing prepared for it, you're basically just screwed.

Next up I'd like to talk about the long lasting Area of Effect Damage over Time skills that leave puddles on the floor for what seems like 5 minutes. These can be so brutally punishing that getting caught in them can literally mean your death even from full health depending on your loadout. Add to this that the stuns that enemies inflict on you can range anywhere from half a second to four full seconds, and they can be chained together, and you're asking for a bad time while playing solo. It isn't just magic and stunning that can be bad though, sometimes a melee attack can hit you and deal 80% of your max health for no good reason, and now you're sitting there dead wondering why.

Up next we get to talk about two in one, I suppose. While you can jump and dodge roll, and use this to clear gaps, the game is not made for platforming. It's clunky, it feels bad, and good god is it punishing if you screw up. Sometimes you'll fall into ice water that kills you in two seconds, sometimes you drop a ledge and die to fall damage. I'd like to point out that fall damage is rather brutal. Having fall damage is well and fine, but the amount you take in dungeons of Sundaria? Pretty mean. My favourite time is going down a large spiral pit, when a mob summons an imp that uses a magic attack to knock you back 30 feet, which puts you over the pit and you fall to your death. Repeatedly. I mean, a couple of imps on-screen together, and suddenly you find yourself seven towns over in the local dive bar surrounded by angry former boxers.

Dungeons are also pretty long too, and while it's fine playing solo, sometimes you just don't have the time or desire to sit down for a 2.5 hour long stint through an area without a bathroom or snack break to keep your party members happy. It is really nice that you can leave and return at will, but I'm pretty sure a group of people you aren't familiar with isn't going to be happy about you bailing on them while asking to reschedule or pick up another day.

Now while those are my core gameplay issues, at the time of writing this there are numerous bugs and glitches that I've experienced that are incredibly frustrating and, while not game breaking per se, are definitely not something you can ignore. So let's start by mentioning that any enemy that can move your player, whether by skill, magic, or some sort of mechanic, has the potential to move you out of bounds, causing you to fall to your death. While frustrating, it doesn't tend to happen all that often, as I've only experienced it about three times on different enemies.

Enemies aren't the only problem, as sometimes the environment works against you as well. You may find yourself getting stuck under floors, getting stuck in walls or other environment items, or just falling through the floor if you get caught in a bad way. Add to this that the targeting on some of your skills is finicky at best, and almost unusable at worst, and it can be quite the frustrating experience.

The absolute worst as a solo player though? Well, if you're fighting a boss and get really hurt, and you still have your items and healing skills on cooldown, what do you do? Well, run around and avoid attacks, right? Well, turns out that if you don't get hit while a boss is chasing you, the game considers them "disengaged", and will just fully heal them. Yeah, I wasn't happy to find that out.

There are other frustrating features that need resolving as well, such as quests being a little too vague or marked as "complete" even though they aren't, a crafting system that feels almost punishing when you can't get any decent rolls on your gear event after a lot of farming, or, and this is my favourite at the moment, being unable to progress the storyline quests because the NPC you need won't spawn into the dungeon. At least you can go to any dungeon you want, so it's not the biggest deal I suppose, but it certainly doesn't feel very good.

Honestly, I was really looking forward to Dungeons of Sundaria, and while I was feeling that it needed some polish after running the first dungeon, I thought it had really good promise. And then it just kind of...fell apart. The first area is pretty well put together, and other than, like, two bosses, everything was pretty reasonable to solo, and nothing felt totally unfair, other than the poison wizard, but at least there is a workaround for that. Starting with the second dungeon though? I just kept getting progressively more frustrated as time went on. This is when I started experiencing glitches and bugs, certain enemies were blatantly unfair for one reason or another, and I'd sometimes experience a damage spike that amounted to more than half my health with no idea why. Enemies ended up being either damage sponges that I just sat in front of and wailed on, or acrobatic acts where I couldn't take two hits without risking death.

Dungeons of Sundaria has some really good promise, it just needs some balancing issues fixed, or some methods of reducing certain damage types in a better method, and a bunch of bug fixes and maybe some adjustments for solo players in terms of stun length and chain stunning or certain attacks that just seem like instant kills. There's a lot of promise here, it just really needs some ironing out first. Wait for a few more patches and updates and check to see how it's coming along first before you invest too much in Dungeons of Sundaria.

Score: 5 / 10


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