Adventure across the rolling hills of Nekoland as a heroic feline in the Neko Dungeon puzzle RPG. Neko Dungeon was developed by Gilp Studios, an indie game development company based in Brazil. This free mobile game was recently released for early access on the Apple and Google Play stores–and it has become my new obsession for its huge potential, adorable graphics and challenging gameplay. ❤
Since the Neko Dungeon mobile game is in early access, this review will be a little bit different. It will not only incorporate a new rating system, but this rating will be based off of the game’s potential. But first, I want to give credit and say thank you to Gilp Studios for being so open to questions and giving me such an amazing featured image for this review ?
Neko Dungeon Summary
Neko Dungeon is a fantasy mobile game featuring rogue-like, dungeon crawler gameplay where you fight all types of monsters, overcome obstacles, gather coins and loot chests. These adorable yet fierce cats use their unique talents to explore the land by battling ambushes and barreling through treacherous dungeons. Opportunities for character buffs, weapon upgrades and spells will be your key to defeating dungeon bosses and becoming the hero you are destined to be!
This puzzle RPG offers rogue-like levels and role playing elements reminiscent of strategy board games such as checkers, chess or Dungeons & Dragons. The game is driven by the acquisition of currency–coins and blue crystals–to increase your character’s magic slots, attack power, max health and inventory. With these newly-found skills you defeat enemies to find pieces of special artifacts that unlock new characters and introduce new mechanics.
Neko Dungeon is a puzzle RPG the features simple yet challenging 3×3 puzzle games where you move across the board to pick up coins, spells and weapons to defeat enemies such as wasps, evil mushrooms and colorful gelatinous blobs ⚔ Pass the level and you will progress further down the winding trail and closer to the next dungeon.
Wonderful potential for a subtle story.
If you have read any of my previous Thoughts and Review editions, it’s pretty clear how much I love a great game with story. However, that begs an important question. Should mobile games, including Neko Dungeon, need a story?
Personally, I think small additions of story would be highly beneficial to the genre. While Neko Dungeon is not driven by a story currently, it definitely has potential. Since mobile games often do not have/require an in-depth story (nor would I expect them to) I think this game could really benefit from a subtle form of story. This would not only set the game apart from other mobile games, but it would also pair really well with the game’s fairy tale atmosphere.
This story doesn’t necessarily have to in-depth. A sense of atmosphere could be created with simple comics, brief clips of dialogue from other unlocked characters, etc.
Graphics and Sound ?
Colorful graphics and tavern music create a storybook experience.
Neko Dungeon honestly has the cutest graphics that I have ever seen in a mobile game. The art style is not only unique but also has a hand-drawn feel that reminds me of a storybook–a perfect pairing with the game’s fantasy genre. The animations are simple, similar to moving pieces on a tabletop game and are not overly distracting.
Next up, sound ?
I was honestly pleasantly surprised by Neko Dungeon’s soothing tavern-like background music. It’s super unique and has a very identifiable sound. The mobile game has a couple different scores, depending on what level or menu you’re in.
Uniquely challenging but rewarding.
Unlike other mobile games, Neko Dungeon balances the line between easy and difficult. While other mobile games are only about instant gratification and burning through levels, Neko Dungeon seems to focus more on challenging dungeons, buffered by sets of easier levels.
In the beginning, our character starts out with 10 health, 1 spell slot, 2 pocket inventory slots. Each level is completed by either 1) gathering enough coins or 2) defeating the dungeon boss. At the beginning of each game, you get an opportunity to buy an additional stat buff or health item. To fend off the waves of monsters, you must travel the board and pick-up swords of varying attack powers. But that’s not all! The terrain is also sprinkled with the occasional curve-ball, such as 90-degree angled traps.
Just like any other heroic neko, your character is not immortal. While coins can be exchanged for stats such as increased maximum health, greater weapons damage and different spells, sometimes the forces of evil get the best of you. In case your brave neko should fall in battle, you’ll be given the choice to accept death, trade crystals for full life or watch an ad for 50% health.
However, there are circumstances where the game seems to stack the odds against the player and require an exhaustive number of attempts to pass certain dungeons. However, once you succeed those levels which seem near-impossible, the feeling of accomplishment is amazing! So while difficulty is something that Neko Dungeon could improve on, I think that a healthy amount is really beneficial (at least for gamers like me).
User Experience ?
Super cute tutorials, without excessive hand-holding.
In general, Neko Dungeon has a user interface that is very easy to interact with and understand. My favorite positive experiences with this mobile game include its cute but prompt tutorial, decent amount of mechanics and lack of importance for in-game purchases.
This puzzle game has an adorable tutorial at the beginning of the game and for each new character that you unlock. These tutorials are quick yet helpful–in contrast to other mobile games that have exhausting tutorials–and they are paired with adorable visual graphics.
There are just enough mechanics in this mobile game to keep you interested, but not too much as to overwhelm you. The game provides 5 different windows to switch between, whether you are completing puzzles, previewing available characters, purchasing buffs and more.
Another greatly positive aspect of this game is that even after completing the first map and unlocking a new character, I never felt as though I needed to make in-game purchases to make the game easier and ads were usually only shown if you opted for them. While these are things that might change with future updates, they are definitely appreciated.
One aspect of Neko Dunegon’s user experience that could be improved is the size of the action boxes for Viki the Witch. These action boxes are a little on the small side, and it’s definitely miss the button and mow over the enemy instead of using your powers (which can easily end the game).
Thoughts for The Future ?
Overall, Neko Dungeon was a refreshing experience as compared to the many busy, cookie-cutter mobile games. With winning qualities such as challenging gameplay, adorable graphics and engaging mechanics, Neko Dungeon is definitely a worth-while mobile game with significant promise.
While it is very challenging at times, once you FINALLY beat pesky bosses the immense sense of accomplishment is totally worth it, in my opinion. Areas of improvement are in no way game-breaking and could easily be expanded upon in future updates.
So, if you should be itching for a good mobile game that is as easy to pick up as it is to put down, then Neko Dungeon may be the early access game for you! It has sure caught my attention (and that’s saying something coming from a traditional PC and console player). Neko Dungeon mobile game is currently available for early access players for iOS on the Apple store and Android on Google Play.