The isometric dungeon-crawling RPG is one that’s wildly popular, though the Diablo and Torchlight series are probably the most popular right now. Competing against titles like that can be daunting, particularly with how rabidly loyal gamers are to their particular franchises, which is why when a new dungeon-crawler is released, it needs to have a hook to make it different than what we’ve seen time and time again. With The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot, the hook is brilliantly simple: dungeon design. What may seem like an easy way to keep players captivated actually works as a counterpoint to what most of us have come to know as “basic gameplay”. In what can be described as a “Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup moment,” Ubisoft has taken two genres, both of which have a solid following, and merged them into a symbiotic playstyle that compliments the other perfectly.
The basic gameplay, that which will appeal to the isometric, dungeon-crawling, RPG fan, sees you playing as a ranger, warrior or, should you pony up some dough, wizard in an attempt to dash from room to room destroying minions, dodging traps, and collecting booty along the way. Booty being defined as loot, new weapons and armor that you can use to upgrade your character as his level increases. The need to define that is apparent because the writing of the game has a humorous tone overall. Your character, regardless of who you choose, has an aura of comedy about him that is enhanced by the story and dialogue the character takes part in. As you spew one-liners, you’ll make your way from castle to castle in an attempt to reach the end within the time limit. Should you succeed you’ll be met with treasure and riches which are added to your own treasury. Fail and your only rewards is the experience you had earned along the way.
There is method to character leveling as well, you’re not simply leveling up in an attempt to battle harder monsters and wear cooler armor -- although that’s been the staple of this particular genre for over a decade. Instead, your level and even treasure you collect is used to equip your own castle against invaders, looting under the guise of another player. Yes, just as you ransack castles with the hopes of walking away with pockets filled, others within the universe of The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot have ambitions of doing that to your abode. You’re not without your own set of tricks though. By leveling and using gold obtained through raids you’ve held, you can upgrade your castle and equip it with all the tools needed to create the ultimate defense. Traps, minions, and other goodies await any who dare step foot across your drawbridge. Not lowering it would be the easy way to avoid danger, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, you’re tasked with building rooms, installing additions, and creating the most dangerous path for others to jaunt through. You’re of course rewarded each time an enemy is vanquished, so there’s benefit to making castles difficult.
The inherent problem that TMQFEL has is the balance of players versus particular creatures. Because you can rank your creatures up, although you are limited on what you can place based on your own level, you’ll find that most players will drop a large number of low-level monsters, a couple of high level “big guys” and just enough healers in an area that players are forced to flee or will have to master the art of kiting. Once you decide that you want to kill everything in the dungeon, you’re wasting valuable time and often that leads to failed runs and frustrated players.
As a free-to-play game, The Mighty Quest for Epic Loot hits a lot of spots that players will enjoy: dungeon crawling, RPG, character building, world management, and FREE! The game is still in its “beta” period, meaning changes are coming often as they game hurles closer to the launch date. If Ubisoft can find a genuine balance of difficulty and fun, you’ll be hearing lots more about the game for years to come.