[Review] Dungenious – RPG, Dungeon Crawler and A Quiz

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A different take on dungeon crawlers and quiz games, Dungenious combines the two genres to make learning process into a game. And it’s actually fun.

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Developer: Noizoo
Genre: Educational
Price: $2.99
Download from Google Play | iTunes

If learning from flash cards helps you master a subject, you probably know a good deal of online tools. Likewise, if you like quizzes you must have gobbled up a lot of them. Dungenious is a new breed of a quiz-based game that adds RPG and dungeon crawling elements, and who would know this formula would be so successful.

Gameplay

Dungenious lets you choose a hero from a boy and a girl, and off you go to battle pesky monsters in a grid-type dungeon. But before you jump head over heels into the danger, choose your subject first. There are some 50 topics built into the game and more if you like to use your own flash cards. More on that later.

The topics include Media, Nature, Music, Arts, Mathematics, Geography, Languages and Technology. Each subject has sub-categories. For example, Nature is abundant in birds, butterflies, dinosaurs, trees and leafs, gemstones, galaxies and nebulae. Perhaps the easiest one for the fans of the movies would be Media, where sub-categories include Hollywood stars, classic actors and movies, Academy Awards best pictures, Directors and Movies. The Languages category includes French, German, Hungarian, Spanish and Italian, each with even more sub-categories. Mathematics is awesome for kids because it covers sums 1-10, 10-20, 20-200, times table and word calc. Overall, anyone will find a topic of interest, young and old, and provided you can add your own flash cards there is no limit to the learning possibilities.

The app works with quizlet.com, so all you have to do to add your custom made flash cards is to log in to your quizlet account, create your set, note down its number in your browser address bar and enter it in the Dungenious settings window. Go to Dungenious → Settings → Quizlet Content → scroll through the intros → Add New Package → enter the package number and hit download a new quizlet. Now you can learn your flash cards and play a game.

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Now, the gameplay is fun and fast-paced. Your hero moves one tile at a time on a grid infested with all sorts of dungeon dweller creeps. Piranha rat, for one, is absolutely repugnant and deadly, and moves two tiles at a time. Of special interest are the enemies that hold a book or a letter – these teach you new stuff. Then there are chests that come with special quizzes and give you loot.

The loot comes in the form of different special attacks, like balls of fire, rain of fire, or the ability to freeze your enemies, or push them away, and the like. Every time you open a chest and clear a quiz, you get to choose one special ability from the three available ones, and even upgrade your existing special moves.

Sometimes you will be able to increase your life count, or your genius points, which recharge your special abilities. Another nifty perk is the ability to heal yourself or replenish your lost lives.

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Moving requires some strategy because you know, the devil is in the details. It appears you can start attacking a monster from afar, provided you face it, and you are in the same row or line. Thus, sometimes you are able to take a strategically important vantage point and take down incoming enemies one by one instead of trying to flee them.

You will also be able to upgrade your strike power, which is great since by default you only deal one point damage to an enemy. When you upgrade that skill, you will be able to take out most common enemies with one blow only.

Of course, there are boss enemies with lost of lives, and regular enemies on steroids with lots of lives, and those darn rats with piranha heads, and many many more monsters to slay.

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So, how do you slay them?

Once you step on a tile from which you can launch your magic attacks, each turn you take the game challenges you with a quiz. Pick a correct answer, and you deal damage to the enemy while it is unable to attack you. Pick a wrong answer, you do not deal the damage and the enemy either attacks you, or moves closer, depending on where it is on the grid.

There are three difficulty levels in Dungenious – learn to walk, teach me and try me, with the latter being the most challenging one. Depending on your skill level in each specific subject, you will either skip the first two and start with the “Try me” right off the bat, or not.

The quiz is time-based, and the faster you pick the correct answer the stronger your attack. The chest quizzes task you with matching six items into the pairs of two while the regular quizzes task you with finding the correct answer in the multiple choice question.

The pace is pretty quick, and some of the unlockable perks can either reveal the correct answer, or slow down the timer.

Even though you have a chance to raise the cap of your lives and even heal yourself, once your last heart is done, your are dead as in perma death. Should you wish to start over, you will begin with stage 01 all over again. However, the game is clever to not offer you the same flash cards over again. It does add them in the gameplay, but it considers that material as learned, provided you did good in your previous gameplay session. So, it throws in the new flash cards and makes sure you don’t forget the previous material.

Design

Visually, the game is pleasing, and the further you go in the dungeon, the better it looks, and the more varied are the areas and the monsters. The flash cards are visually easy on the eyes and let you focus on the quiz at hand. That said, Russel Crowe looks ridiculous in those glasses.

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Difficulty

The difficulty of the game is not hardcore. It’s quite moderate, fit for an average player and since you can add your own flash cards, you can study basically anything, without limiting yourself to the built-in set. The way the game is now, it is especially valuable for kids learning math or a foreign language, students of arts, geography and biology, or big movie fans. Technology topics look nerdy enough to non-initiated, so chances are anyone can find a task to enjoy.

Performance, Price

The game runs smooth, no hiccups. The only thing I miss here is the ability to customize the quiz timers, and here is why I think it should be there. Since the game is kid-friendly, you should be able to adjust the timer to meet any kid’s reading skills. Likewise, some quizzes don’t imply too much reading at all while others are text-based, like the inventions. Again, provided not everyone is an adult, the game needs the setting to adjust the quiz timer.

Dungenious is a premium game worth $3, no ads, no IAPs. You can replay your weakest quizzes to ensure the subject is covered in full.

The Verdict

All things considered, Dungenious is the best thing that ever happened to quiz games, combining the learning flash cards with RPG and dungeon crawling, loot and skills, plenty of monsters each with special abilities, and simply good-looking environments. If any of that sounds like fun to you, buy the game, you won’t regret it.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Gameplay
Design
Replay Value
Difficulty