At its core, Dungeonoid 2 Awakening is a bat-and-ball brick breaker like Breakout or Arkanoid. But this sequel puts its own spin on the classic formula by combining brick-busting mechanics with scrolling fantasy stages full of traps and enemies.
Instead of static screens, each level spans winding tunnels and corridors filled with magic bricks to smash. And you’re not just knocking bricks – the environments come alive with witches flinging spells and skeletons lobbing bombs that you’ll need to avoid. Fail, and you’ll lose one of your 3 hit points.
Making things more intense is a timer counting down on every stage. You’ll need to balance quickly clearing paths and discovering secrets with managing the relentless clock. Time bonuses help, but the pressure is always on.
To fight back, each of the 4 playable classes has their own special attacks, unlocked by building up a power meter. Unleash powerful screen-clearing skills, but use them sparingly. Gear collected from shattered bricks can also boost your abilities, or occasionally debuff you too.
It’s a fresh remix on arcade classics like Arknoid and Breakout. By combining familiar ricochet action with scrolling fantasy stages under tight time pressure, Dungeonoid 2 hopes to stand out in the crowded bat-and-ball genre.
A Retro Fantasy Backdrop
Dungeonoid 2 dresses its brick-busting action in a tongue-in-cheek fantasy story starring knights, wizards, thieves and clerics. An evil sorcerer has summoned a “horrific demon from the underworld” to destroy the world. Someone has to step up and knock some sense into him – literally using a magical crystal ball.
The setting draws heavily on old-school 8-bit fantasy, feeling ripped right from the pages of a 1983 D&D rulebook. Skeletal riders patrol creepy graveyards under blood red moons. Merchants hawk wares in medieval marketplaces. Ancient traps and secrets lurk in crumbling ruins.
Cutscenes, artwork and manuals all provide delightful throwback flair. While the plot about stopping the demon rift is wafer-thin, the retro charm shines through. It’s enough to propel the campy action through 6 themed stages like haunted castles, goblin mines and magical academies. Boss battles add climactic ends to each chapter.
From dank dungeons to pixel forests buzzing with pixies, the environments are colorful and varied. It’s a loving homage to fantasy games of yore, presented with vivid pixel art and quirky characters. Don’t expect deep lore or epic worldbuilding – the story is merely a vehicle for bouncing balls off skeletons’ heads. But for old-school RPG fans, it’s a nostalgic trip that superbly sets the mood.
The developers clearly had affection for fantasy games of the late 70s & 80s. While no one will be moved by the plight of the rampaging demon lord, the heavy retro theming offers familiar fun for anyone who grew up storming through dungeons on their Apple II.
Brick-Busting Meets Magical Mayhem
At its core, Dungeonoid 2 sticks to the bat-and-ball basics – angle your paddle to ricochet a ball into bricks and smack them apart. Tapping left or right on the controller angles the paddle horizontally; time your shots to keep smashing through each fantasy corridor like human-sized pinball.
In classic block-breaker fashion, shattered bricks reveal bonuses that can lengthen your paddle, capture balls, slow things down or boost damage. Helpful when so many obstacles fly your way. Unlike its single-screen forebearers though, levels scroll continuously, pulling your view through traps and secrets. It keeps things dynamic as you discover new bricks and enemies.
That unique gimmick crafts a different kind of brick-breaker. Instead of a methodical assault against static walls, everything flows on rails like a shooter. Bricks stream from all angles – beneath, ahead, diagonally. Stay light on your feet since tied-down areas quickly pass.
Adding to the chaos, wicked spells barrage from bellowing wizards and cackling witches, forcing constant movement. Skeletal archers loose arrows too. Let them strike and you may end up with reversed controls or shrunken paddles. The only defense is cracking back with pinpoint shots. Each class packs screen-clearing specials too, perfect for sticky situations when the pressure mounts.
And oh does the pressure mount thanks to a tight timer. Every stage must be cleared before the clock expires, else it’s game over. Time bonuses help but don’t expect much slack. The clock becomes the ultimate foe.
It remixes the methodical brick-busting formula into a high-stakes race against time. With special attacks, scrolling traps and devious enemies, it modernizes bat-and-ball gameplay for today’s gamer without losing the arcade essence. Just be prepared to think and act quicker than ever before thanks to that unrelenting clock!
Pixelated Perfection, Tunefully Crafted
Dungeonoid 2’s pixelated fantasy lands burst with color and character. Lush forest thickets and gothic castles brim with magical life. Glowing particle effects accentuate the action as bricks shatter. Simple yet smooth animations, from the fluttering capes of skeleton warriors to the paddle’s sharp rotations, add old-school video game charm.
The visual presentation nails the whimsical retro aesthetic. It feels ripped from an early 90s SNES or Sega Genesis classic. Rich environmental details like swaying grass and flittering fireflies further immerse you, even if keeping track of your tiny ping pong ball grows tricky at times.
Matching the visual punch is an energetic chiptune soundtrack mixing driving melodies with thumping basslines. Each stage features its own theme, from the ominous organ pipes underlying haunted manors to the mystical harps serenading magical glades. It’s the perfect audio backdrop for bouncing balls off undead heads.
Crisp, arcade-like sound effects add satisfying clicks and smashes with every ricochet too. Power-ups arrive with a distinct chime, letting you instantly identify beneficial boosts. Happy tunes turn ominous when the clock ticks low as well.
Both the pixel art and music capture the essence of late 80s/early 90s gaming eras. It’s a beautifully-realized retro fantasy world brimming with color and personality. Even when frustrating ball physics strike, the splendid sights and sounds motivate you to try just one more time.
Frustrations Crop Up
As inventive as Dungeonoid 2 aims to be, several nagging issuessap away the fun. Tracking your ping pong ball through the elaborate Gothic backdrops grows troublesome amidst pulsating spell blobs and explosions of shattered bricks. And without clear sight lines, unfair deaths become inevitable.
The scrolling stages sound great on paper but make carefully plotting ricochet angles and bounces difficult. One second a clear path exists, the next skeletons or ball-stealing traps materialize from the side. Gauging upcoming obstacles proves nearly impossible, forcing clumsy reactions over strategic shots.
That lack of control gets amplified by the relentless time pressure too. While the timer injects urgency, trying to balance brick clearing with time capsule grabs before sudden deaths from off-screen traps feels frustratingly demanding. Especially when special attacks, critical for boss takedowns, consume precious seconds unlocking.
The lack of gameplay variety doesn’t help either once the quest stretches past the 2 hour mark. Core mechanics grow repetitive as you enter yet another creepy crypt or enchanted tower with similar traps and enemies. The four classes handle identically as well, offering little incentive to replay.
Most egregious though is the fluctuation between brainless steamrolling and controller throwing defeats. One minute power ups rain down, ballooning your paddle and damage output to boring degrees. The next, cheap losses against unseen hazards stoke rage. That turbulent difficulty curve needs smoothing.
Make no mistake – when the ball physics click, Dungeonoid 2 enthralls as both brick breaker and fantasy adventure. But between visibility frustrations, punishing time pressure, repetitive environments and erratic difficulty, enjoying the journey becomes testing. Refining those blemishes could have removed the final barriers between like and love for this ambitious reinvention.
A Fresh Remix That Falls Short
At first glance, Dungeonoid 2’s fusion of Breakout brick-busting with a fantasy RPG quest seemed like a can’t miss proposition. Trading static screens for scrolling corridors and menacing enemies makes classic bat-and-ball gameplay feel fresh again. When the ball physics click and power-ups align, this inventive remix delivers hours of addictive fun.
But problematic issues around chaotic visuals, unreliable difficulty and repetitive pacing prevent Dungeonoid 2 from fully realizing its ambitious vision. Losing track of your ball amidst overstuffed Gothic backdrops leads to unfair deaths. The relentless timer also pressures more than pushes. What should inject thrilling urgency instead aggravates.
And while the imaginative environments dazzle at first, the core brick-breaking grows repetitive after a few hours without enough gameplay variety or balancing to incentivize replays. That leaves a package brimming with great ideas and personality, but lacking the polish to stick the landing.
Retro gaming fans with fond Breakout/Arkanoid memories should find the most joy here. Dungeonoid 2 smartly modernizes the bat-and-ball formula, even if only half its ideas fully connect. Just expect to battle occasional frustrations around cheap deaths and repetition after the nostalgia fades. Streamers looking for a fresh gameplay twist may enjoy it too.
Everyone else though may want to look elsewhere. Because while Dungeonoid 2 reaches for greatness, it falls painfully short. Diehard brick-breaking fans may still get a kick from its ambition. Just don’t expect the classic it could have been.
Dungeonoid 2 Awakening
Dungeonoid 2 Awakening modernizes the bat-and-ball formula in inventive ways, blending Breakout-style brick busting with a fantasy RPG aesthetic for an ambitious and creative remix. However, issues around chaotic visibility, unreliable difficulty, and repetitive pacing prevent it from achieving greatness. Retro fans will still find nostalgic enjoyment, but most players are better served looking elsewhere.
- Inventive mix of brick-breaker and fantasy RPG gameplay
- Colorful retro pixel art visuals
- Smooth animations and arcade charm
- Catchy, atmospheric chiptune music
- Creative themed environments and enemies
- Chaotic visibility and tracking of ball
- Unreliable and spiky difficulty
- Punishing time limit creates frustration
- Core gameplay grows repetitive over time
- Classes lack differentiation on replays