Ever imagine what it would be like to be the only person left on a world? I honestly did not know what to expect from seeing the images and reading the synopsis of Away Shuffle Dungeon for Nintendo DS. It appeared to me as if the developers were attempting to put too much into one game. Is it a classic RPG, or a puzzle style game? It is both and very innovative and original in its approach. Majesco Entertainment is the developer and I admit this game is just as addictive as any Mario title I have played.
Albeit the story line in Away Shuffle Dungeon lacks originality in the protagonist who is named Sword, try not to let this confuse you. Yes, the main character is named Sword. There is a mysterious phenomenon that whisks people “Away” and your job is to negotiate dungeon mazes, monsters, and improve abilities, armor, weapons, and musical instruments. You collect clues as well to help solve the mystery and ‘save the girl’ as well as other citizens of this world.
Away Shuffle Dungeon’s graphics are pretty good and the characters appear a cross between Lego’s and Nintendo Mii’s. The music and sound is developed to draw the player in at tense points of the game and easing them back when shopping or rummaging through people’s houses. There is also an emphasis on playing a musical instrument, which I never attained or got to. But Majesco has a keen ear and employed it well in making this game.
This game does offer a Raid Battle Mode for 2 players. This is a co-operative environment where you can join forces to battle bosses. As you progress through the game you can increase health, weapons, and armor and you pick up a fupong, which a little sidekick. Your fupong pet casts spells and can increase its size and capabilities as well. You can take care of your pet and help develop it as a supporting character. This is another added feature of the game.
An added point on the interface; I used mainly the D pad and lettered buttons A, B, X, Y for movement and attacks throughout the game. I did not utilize the touch pad in all my interactions. Also you will move from a 3D environment to a 2D one as you enter dungeons. 3D environments are where shops and personal interactions reside as well as boss fights. 2D environments are reserved for the dungeon maze interface. It works well together moving through corridors from level to level and one world to the next to rescue the dwellers in this world. As for replay value of Away Shuffle Dungeon, I can see it is a high possibility given how the dungeon mazes are shifting and changing. You collect treasure in the dungeons as well as searching for clues and people to rescue.
Away Shuffle Dungeon is rated E for Everyone and I can see it as a solid game marketed for both boys and girls. Though the genre appears to be geared to younger players I admit to having fun with it as well. I rated this game a 7 out of 10 due to its innovative design and interaction. Also the twist in the story where everyone is whisked away with the exception of the main character, Sword, made it interesting. Especially when you began solving clues, finding pieces of the puzzle, and navigating the timed and constantly shifting mazes, and finding people and getting them back to their homes. I felt this was a perfect game for the Nintendo DS, light, affordable, and fun without a lot of overhead.
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