Developer: Inu to Neko
Publisher: Fruitbat Factory
Release Date: Jul 31, 2018
Edited by KnightAvenger
Dungeon Girl is a mix of a visual novel and an RPG with the core gameplay that is a variation on the match-3 genre, developed by Inu to Neko and recently localized into English by Fruitbat Factory.
The story is all told in a visual novel ADV style and it’s kind of weird. The introduction is pretty short and then you’re thrown right into the gameplay and only get story as tidbits when you reach certain levels of the Dungeon, which serve mostly as a sort of a tutorial, and when you buy certain skills for characters, which unlock and show you a short story related to that character. They are all short, simple and written plainly so the game isn’t really meant to be played for the story but for the gameplay, which is also slightly weird.
The basic gameplay consists of dungeon delving using a grid made up of a number of different symbols. While that isn’t unusual, what differentiates it from most other match-3 games is that it isn’t about moving single symbols around to match 3 or more of the same symbols but about setting up as many of the same symbol one next to each other and then clicking on that symbol on the grid and destroying all of those symbols that are connected to it. It is not the first game that does this variation. It’s been done in the past, but, as far as I’m aware, it’s never been popular enough to get its own sub-genre name. Another difference between this game and other match-3 games is that in most of them, the grid only shows up during combat and serves as a battleground, but, in this game, it is used for dungeon delving itself as well as fighting. The different symbols are Attack, Heal, Work, Search and then special ones that show up at times. Those are Treasure, Material, and the one that allows you to go down to the next level of the dungeon that appears once you fill the search meter by destroying enough Search blocks. As you can tell, there is an Attack block which is used to damage monsters that sometimes appear but also just general purpose dungeon delving symbols.
Outside of that, you have the aforementioned Search bar and the Health bar, and, when not in the dungeon, you have options to either mix two items you have into a new one, the ability to unlock new skills and stories for your active companions (three that you took to the dungeon with you), a screen to look at all the items you have unlocked so far, and options.
Speaking of options, the game has a weird resolution and does not have any in-game options to change the resolution or go properly into Full Screen (instead, having to Alt-Enter, which keeps the game at the exact same resolution but adds black borders around it to make it full screen). It is really unusual. Also, I haven’t been able to find a legit Exit Game button anywhere, instead of having to use Alt-F4 every time I want to stop playing. This can be attributed to the game being originally made in Japan. Since PC gaming isn’t as popular there as it is in the West, Japanese players mostly accept the games as they are and don’t care. Most of the time, the developers don’t know much about what players outside Japan want, especially when they are smaller devs, which does explain it but it is still an issue for many people.
The visuals of the game are basically the same as all the other games by the same developer, even having some characters in common with some other games they made. It’s a colorful anime style when it comes to sprites and backgrounds. There is voice acting for the story bits, only during the gameplay when certain actions are done by the player. For what little of it there is, it’s done acceptably.
If you are into match-3 games and their variations, have played through all the other good ones like Puzzle Quest or Ironcast, and don’t mind the $11.99 USD price tag on Steam, or if you do mind the price tag but don’t mind waiting for a sale, I can recommend it. It’s rather casual in its nature when compared to those two I mentioned and a lot less thought is put into it, but it is still pretty okay, especially on sale.
- It’s got interesting, if unusual, gameplay
- The stories can be interesting
- Voice acting is good, even if there isn’t a lot of it
- It can be too mindless
- Lacks any in-game resolution options
- Writing is pretty basic
Faris gives Dungeon Girls a score of 5.9 out of 10 (59) Moé Blobs.