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The Keep - Dungeon crawling on the E-Shop
Old 09-14-2014, 02:22 PM
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 6
Default The Keep - Dungeon crawling on the E-Shop

I don't post here very often but wanted to offer a quick review of a new e-shop game called The Keep. It reminded me of Legend of Grimrock and other dungeon crawlers I've played over the decades.

The graphics are good. It was like a better looking version of Orcs & Elves for the DS. No water-logged environments however. The 3D is good, I had it maxed out but the creatures in the game looked more like animated polygons. Spell effects are done nicely

There are a handful of different dungeon textures from old mines to your typical dungeon walls, you'll be searching for buttons or switches to find extra runes and potions which you will need for the final boss fight. I missed about half of the hidden secrets in the game but still was successful in completing the game after exploiting a certain enemy.

You gain set experience for leveling up - if you swing a sword and you strike for 20 pts of damage, that 20 points goes into your swordsmanship skill. 20 pts of magic damage goes to your spellcasting skill. If you don't connect with the attack, you do not receive experience.

The music is pretty good, I was surprised throughout the game with different tunes playing. I was expecting it to be bad and turn it off in the settings but it compliments the game quite well. You can hear rats and other monsters if they're nearby around the corner or down the corridor.

In between levels you get more of the story, there is a narrator voice who offers a brief explanation of events telling the story of the hero you play, and the same voice audibly reads out any scribbling or signs on the walls you encounter.

The controls were something I was partial in getting used to - collecting runes and casting spells was fun and easy. The 3 different choices in control schemes had me using the D-pad for movement and turning left or right while the circle stick offered a strafing left-right move without turning first. It didn't seem to have an option for using the top left/right shoulder buttons for strafing which would be my only gripe about the game.

There are 10 chapters, with each chapter hosting up to a few different sections of dungeons. There are timing puzzles and pressure plates, as well as the walls with repeated spells being launched out of them. It was Dungeon Master or Legend of Grimrock in portable form and I got about 15-18 hours of play from start to finish and that was after grinding/exploiting the one enemy. You'll find a variety of scrolls to offer new spells if you have the right runes, and you keep coming across new armor pieces to upgrade what you're wearing. Some have different attributes like 25% acid resistance or +25% critical hit.

I managed to hoard every item I came across until the last 2 chapters. The inventory screen has a lot of room and in this game you never have weapon degradation, you don't need to give food/water to your character, and there is no load capacity. I had at least 5-7 large boulders in my backpack most of the game with every other note, scroll, dagger, and potion I was carrying and still moved at the same speed.

For $12.99 I consider it a great purchase if you like these kinds of games. You don't have to do any mapping yourself like Etrian Odyssey, the automap fills in as you explore the dungeons and it's pretty easy to switch between seeing the map, the attack grid where you swipe your finger to swing a sword, and the rune screen where you can chain runes together for a spell.

I would have given this game a 10/10, but docked 1 point for the lack of shoulder button strafing. As long as you aren't surrounded by enemies you can keep dodging left and right to get additional attacks in on your foe. Similar to the Dungeon Master two-step but you don't need 4 blocks to do it. If you find any enemy that keeps healing itself such as the Ghost Orc first seen in Chapter 7: Underground Floor 1, use it to grind your levels up. The final boss isn't easy at all.

Graphics: 9.5/10
Sound: 9.5/10
Gameplay 10/10
Controls: 8.5/10

Last edited by fjenna89; 09-14-2014 at 02:35 PM.