ds_titleOne of my favorite things about the App Store is the sheer amount of games that are based on a concept that is so far out there that you would sound like some kind of maniac pitching the idea to someone else. Dungeon Scroll [App Store] joins the ranks of really weird game ideas that just work, and work well, on the iPhone.

Created by Seth A. Robinson, an award winning game designer also responsible for the classic BBS game Legend of the Red Dragon, Dungeon Scroll is a role playing word game that resembles what I imagine the bastard video game son of Underworlds [App Store] and Textropolis [App Store] to be like.

In Dungeon Scroll, you fight the various monsters you come across in your dungeon crawl by forming words, or "casting spells", as the game puts it. Each dungeon has a set of foes you must vanquish to move on to the next, and each monster has their own set of hit points. Larger words do more damage, but you can only use each word once per dungeon. Because of this, there's a significant amount of strategy in the words you play in each fight. If the monster you're fighting only has a few hit points left, you want to use three letter words to finish them off, saving your bigger words for more powerful creatures.

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When you slay a monster, they drop treasure in the form of various bonus tiles. The most common type of treasure tile is an additional single-use letter, but there are also tiles which add damage to words, multiplies the damage of words, or in the case of the oracle tile, show you the best word you can form with your current tile set. According to the game's help screen, these special tiles are twice as likely to appear when you aren't holding on to any, so it's in your best interest to use them to get more.

Each monster you fight comes with its own time limit, cleverly disguised as your hit points bar which gets refilled after every fight. Find enough words to kill a monster before it kills you or it's game over. There's even more to the game though, certain enemy types like turtles are heavily armored and only four (or more) letter words will hurt them and there apparently are some super difficult dragons that appear later in the game with tons of hit points. Also, as you make your way through dungeons you will find books which will give you a choice of a statistic to increase, such as +5 to your health bar or +1 damage to each word.

Wrap all this up with a global leaderboard (that I'm currently #9 on, although not for long I'm sure), and you've got a game which is way more fun than I was expecting it to be when I first downloaded it. If you like word games, Dungeon Scroll is one that you really need to add to your collection. The RPG elements create a really unique experience, and the individual monster battles will have you finding words and strategizing when to play them instead of just playing absolutely everything you find like most word games.

There isn't a lite version available, but there is a free demo of the Windows version of the game available on the Robinson Technologies web site. It's also worth mentioning the PC version of this game sells for $6.95, so the iPhone port at 99¢ is being sold at a substantial discount from the original.

App Store Link: Dungeon Scroll, 99¢

TouchArcade Rating

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  • Mark

    Check out Bookworm Adventures from Popcap. Part 2 just came out and the principle is exactly the same.

  • Mark

    Check out Bookworm Adventures from Popcap. Part 2 just came out and the principle is exactly the same.

  • Cory

    take this from a person who had never really played a "word" or "spelling" genre type game, this game is great fun. it's peeked my interest in other word genre games that might have the extra element to it like this one does. i'll never hit anywhere near the top of the leaderboards, at least not until i train my brain some more, but the game is damn fun!

  • Cory

    take this from a person who had never really played a "word" or "spelling" genre type game, this game is great fun. it's peeked my interest in other word genre games that might have the extra element to it like this one does. i'll never hit anywhere near the top of the leaderboards, at least not until i train my brain some more, but the game is damn fun!

  • The Theory

    so glad I downloaded this. Thanks for the tip!

  • The Theory

    so glad I downloaded this. Thanks for the tip!

  • http://www.jindofox.com jindofox

    Mark -- Bookworm Adventures would be GREAT on iPhone (or for Mac, for that matter), but until it comes out, this is the closest we've got. It's not as colorful, but I like this puzzle/RPG hybrid almost as much as Puzzle Quest.

  • http://www.jindofox.com jindofox

    Mark -- Bookworm Adventures would be GREAT on iPhone (or for Mac, for that matter), but until it comes out, this is the closest we've got. It's not as colorful, but I like this puzzle/RPG hybrid almost as much as Puzzle Quest.

  • foolishwolf

    I want to buy this, but then again I don't. I see myself playing this for a day and then never touching it again.

    Hmmmmm... ah screw it. It's 99c

  • foolishwolf

    I want to buy this, but then again I don't. I see myself playing this for a day and then never touching it again.

    Hmmmmm... ah screw it. It's 99c

  • DotComCTO

    I really enjoy word games, so I downloaded this game this morning after reading the review. Hey...at $0.99, why not?! In just a few minutes, I was completely hooked. This game is really unique, challenging and surprisingly fun! I've only played through a few "dungeons" so far, but this game rocks! My only suggestions for improvements are: I'd like my health bar to drain a little slower on the earlier levels, and more importantly, I'd like to be able to take a break and save my location. Right now, if I want to stop the game because I have something else to do, it doesn't appear to save my "location". I basically have to quit the game and start from the beginning again. It's not the end of the world, but for a pick-up game like this, I think it's an important feature.

  • DotComCTO

    I really enjoy word games, so I downloaded this game this morning after reading the review. Hey...at $0.99, why not?! In just a few minutes, I was completely hooked. This game is really unique, challenging and surprisingly fun! I've only played through a few "dungeons" so far, but this game rocks! My only suggestions for improvements are: I'd like my health bar to drain a little slower on the earlier levels, and more importantly, I'd like to be able to take a break and save my location. Right now, if I want to stop the game because I have something else to do, it doesn't appear to save my "location". I basically have to quit the game and start from the beginning again. It's not the end of the world, but for a pick-up game like this, I think it's an important feature.

  • Ahiru

    freaking grabbed it!! gonna try it later

  • Ahiru

    freaking grabbed it!! gonna try it later

  • EatKodosDaily

    ACH, another $1 just flew out of my pocket!

    Darned App store keeps doing this to me.

    Oh well, at least I haven't paid for anything but nano racer that sucked yet.

  • EatKodosDaily

    ACH, another $1 just flew out of my pocket!

    Darned App store keeps doing this to me.

    Oh well, at least I haven't paid for anything but nano racer that sucked yet.

  • cookiemonster

    great take on the genre! loving this game

  • cookiemonster

    great take on the genre! loving this game

  • EatKodosDaily

    damnit, I've been addicted to this game all morning now :(

    I have summer reading to do, I can't afford to be... expanding my vocabulary... yeah... that's what I was doing... the English teacher will totally buy that and it's the truth too.

  • EatKodosDaily

    damnit, I've been addicted to this game all morning now :(

    I have summer reading to do, I can't afford to be... expanding my vocabulary... yeah... that's what I was doing... the English teacher will totally buy that and it's the truth too.

  • Yosh

    As soon as I read it I knew I had to get it. I love Bookworm and I love RPGs so this was just a must-have. I'm very thankful it's only a dollar too!

  • Yosh

    As soon as I read it I knew I had to get it. I love Bookworm and I love RPGs so this was just a must-have. I'm very thankful it's only a dollar too!

  • http://www.rtsoft.com Seth A Robinson

    Thanks guys!

    Just a note, the game does support automatic save/resume - you just hit the iPhone home button to close the app in the middle of the action any time during play. (Don't use the game's quit option!)

  • http://www.rtsoft.com Seth A Robinson

    Thanks guys!

    Just a note, the game does support automatic save/resume - you just hit the iPhone home button to close the app in the middle of the action any time during play. (Don't use the game's quit option!)

  • Wargizmo

    this game is awesome!

  • Wargizmo

    this game is awesome!