If you didn’t think passing away was bad enough, then why not battle through a maze of lost spirits and dungeon keepers along the way courtesy of Seenapsis Studio’s A Long Way Down. Sound good so far? Well, they also forgot to mention that the maze isn’t exactly complete and will need you to fill in the gaps. Therefore any carpentry experience is recommended.
A Long Way Down is a mesh between an RPG and a Deckbuilding game with equal elements of both which can come across as playing 2 separate minigames in one (win-win in my book). The first half of the game you are moving across the map and gathering resources. Once you encounter an enemy you enter a battle phase where you use your resources against the enemy to defeat them.
You jump right into the story as Sam who has recently learnt that he is dead and currently his soul is stuck in purgatory, He is definitely not having the best of days. Luckily he has a friend with him that guides him through the basic tutorial until the dungeon master appears. From here you are shown how the game is played. I enjoy the way A Long Way Down has set their story by not giving away too much in the beginning. It allows me to be just as confused as Sam at times.
Once you have full control of your character your main goal is to advance through the maze defeating several ghouls and avoiding traps to get to the boss. Kill the Boss to descend into the next level. Level by level the enemies get stronger and thus the cards you collect do too.
A long way down has 2 battlefields to contend with at any one time. Firstly you must navigate the maze for each level. As someone who loves finding the best strategy for a game, there is a lot of planning involved here that I could get my teeth into. Like a giant game of chess, you must always be thinking 2 or 3 moves ahead. The Dungeon Keeper has a lot of monsters at his disposal as well as traps he can lay down to halt your progress. Your advantage comes in the form of Armouries, Campfires, Chests/Shrines and Slabs. Not surprisingly, the armoury will allow you to equip and improve your armour and weapons. Campfires will heal your character and Chest hold cards and items you can use in the battle phases to deal with enemies. Slabs are sections of the map that you can fill in (or destroy) to allow you to manoeuvre past enemies or get to key locations on the map. They are also a good way of blocking enemies or creating choke points as some slabs have walls on a particular side.
Now to the battle phases. Once you have engaged with a monster on the map, you are thrown into the battle phase. This is where you use all the cards you have acquired in the maze to take down your opponent. Cards can have many effects including Damage, Heal, Poison, Buff and Debuff, just to name a few. Different enemies will bring different challenges therefore decks that have a balanced number of aggressive and defensive cards will rule the day especially the further you go into the depths of the afterlife.
Since the maze is the only place you can improve your armour or gather more cards you must consider both battlefields with every decision you make. Yes, you can make a quick dash to the Boss and try to take him down but most likely you are not powerful enough. Yes, you can gather all the resources on the map to build up your deck however this gives the dungeon master plenty of time to surround you with traps and overwhelm you with many of his minions. As in life, there needs to be balance.
As a whole, I am not the biggest fan of the way the game looks. I can appreciate the artwork that was involved with the characters/demons and the eerie darkness does come off well but in my opinion, there is a lot of potential to make this game look a lot more frightening especially in the battle scenes. With that being said A long way down did grab my attention with the strategy involved already so there was no way I was going to stop playing. My attention was gripped further with the addition of allies and how I should set up their individual armour sets and cards.
Towards the later stages of the game, I was completely invested in the story of Sam and what his eventual conclusion will be. The variety of monsters didn’t waiver at this point and I still needed to have my strategy head-on as every battle was challenging.
A Long Way Down
A Long Way Down is a well thought out strategy game which will provide a constant challenge for new players. This alongside great storytelling has all the makings of a game I will come back too again.
- Limitless Strategy
- Great Storytelling
- Engaging gameplay
- Art work takes away from the game
- Card animations are very limited
- Forgettable graphics
- Graphics 0
- Gamplay 0
- Narrative 0
- Audio 0
- Technical 0