When I was growing up playing games, there was nothing more exciting than coming home from school and getting your group of friends together to sit down and play a local multiplayer game. Whether it was cooperative or competitive, we would spend hours yelling at each other in excitement and frustration. With this in mind, it’s easy to understand my excitement for this recent “resurgence” of local multiplayer. For a few years, it seemed like it was the last thing on developers’ minds, but we’ve seen so many great local multiplayer games recently, I think it’s safe to say they are back in full force. Dungeon League is the latest of the bunch to pop onto my radar, and I found my time with it reminded me of how much fun can be had playing a game with friends.
Dungeon League is an extremely interesting concept. It’s a dungeon crawler that pits you against your friends in various competitive modes. Each match takes around ten minutes, meaning that you can get a fair amount of matches in on a local gaming night, or you can play a quick match with some co-workers during your lunch break (if you have access to a PC, that is).
Each round of Dungeon League lasts two minutes, and a player must win three rounds to be crowned champion of the match. The round objectives are randomly drawn from a list, and feature things such as a classic deathmatch and a Witches’ Eye mode, which has you fighting for control of the Witches’ Eye, and whoever holds it longer wins the round. On top of the currently available tournament mode, there is also a free-play mode, which allows you to grab a character and test out their abilities in a more friendly environment. This is great for getting in some practice, and deciding which character you’d like to play.
Speaking of characters, there are a few to choose from. You can play a wizard, paladin, warrior, rogue, and more, each with their own abilities and attributes. Starting a round prompts you to choose a team, and then to choose your character. All teams have the same character choices, and the only difference is the color that your chosen character will be. Obviously, teams also allow for team battles, so it doesn’t always have to be a free-for-all.
Once you have chosen a hero, you are given a stat point to put into one of your characters’ abilities. This means that you do not immediately start out with access to every ability, and must choose wisely. As you play, you will gain levels depending on your performance in the matches, and will get more points to allocate to your chosen character. On top of choosing talents, you will be given a small amount of gold to start with, and you can use this to purchase items from the store. You can hold up to two items at once, which will affect your stats and abilities, giving you an edge in battle.
In Dungeon League, your friends are not the only danger. During a round, enemies will spawn and attack you as well. You must be wary of your fellow players, enemies, and traps in order to survive and achieve victory. At some points, the game almost becomes a bullet-hell, as projectiles are flying everywhere and you find yourself dodging for your life.
Dungeon League is a unique game in its own right. It combines the fun of dungeon crawling, loot gathering, and leveling up with the competitive entertainment provided by local multiplayer games. The additional challenge of having to face players as well as enemies makes the game challenging, but adds a great layer of depth that makes the experience all the more enjoyable. Dungeon League will be available starting July 23rd on Steam Early Access.
As the game progresses through Early Access, there are plans to add many more game modes as well as different objective modes for Tournament. Hopefully we will also see the addition of more characters, items, spells, and levels to enjoy. As of right now, Dungeon League is well worth a look if you have a group of friends to play with, and it will be great to see how the game evolves over time.