This one technically came out before the end of the year, but since we didn’t do a new games round-up last week due to their not really being enough games, it has snuck into this week’s batch and I’m certainly glad it did. Dungeon Reels, as the name implies, is a dungeon crawler blended with a slot machine. This is not a new concept. King Cashing did this more than a decade ago, and Tower of Fortune just shy of a decade ago. And Dungeon Reels itself has been out on Android for a couple of years. It speaks to how good a mashup the two genres make that multiple games can successfully use the concept and not feel like they’re treading the exact same territory.
So after building up quite a following on Android Dungeon Reels is now available on iOS, and to be honest it might not look like much at first glance. It is very sparse graphically and its interface isn’t going to win any beauty contests. It’s a product of just a few people who you could tell were very passionate about the game but probably aren’t professional artists or anything. Don’t get me wrong, it’s charming! But this is a “gameplay first" type of game, and thankfully that gameplay is extremely engaging.
When you think about it, if an RPG plays out based on dice rolls, whether that’s behind-the-scenes or right out in front, it makes sense that another random determiner like a slot machine reel can take its place so well. Perhaps that’s why this mashup continues to work so well. In the case of Dungeon Reels they go a step further than similar games and there’s almost a deck-building aspect to it. You can unlock new sets of modifiers to go on your reel and you’ll add to the reel throughout each journey. The reel acts almost like a deck of cards and there is a lot of strategy behind which modifiers you add to your reel or, sometimes more importantly, which ones you choose to remove.
It takes a few runs to get familiar with all the symbols and nuances in Dungeon Reels, but once you do this is a game with a heavy “one more go" aspect to it. Once you make your way through the map, which offers some leeway in terms of what path you choose to take, and beat the final boss you can begin anew on a harder difficulty. The game is free to download with ads, but there are numerous reel sets you can unlock to add even more to the game. You can buy packs of gems as IAP to buy these sets, or earn gems just through playing and unlock them that way, and an IAP purchase of any kind will disable ads while still allowing you to reap the benefit that watching the ad would have given you. It’s a very agreeable pay model.
Like I said Dungeon Reels probably won’t blow you away visually, and it might be a concept you’ve seen before, but I’m pretty sure you haven’t tasted this particular flavor of dungeon crawler and slot machine mashup. It’s free so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be downloading this one as you read this.