A little bit familiar.
If you ever played a modern roguelike game, you may already have a catch about the main elements to expect from pretty much any game of the genre: throw in a bunch of procedurally generated levels, fill them with randomly placed enemies, and make your deaths permanent… boom! There goes the standard roguelike. Of course, most of these games try to imprint their personal touch, adding some new elements into the mix. Unfortunately, Bit Dungeon Plus doesn’t follow this path and delivers nothing much different than the blandest roguelike experience.
As the name implies, you control a knight character that wakes in a random-generated dungeon filled with monsters. Within a top-down perspective (which reminds of The Binding of Isaac), you must hack n’ slash your way through every enemy of the room, until a key appears. Only then, you can open a door to one of the adjacent rooms and repeat the process.
While Bit Dungeon Plus reminds visually and thematically of others roguelikes – especially of Quest of Dungeons –, its combat takes place in a real-time action flow. Enemies will roam the room or follow you, depending on their patterns, trying to take you down with their short-ranged or long-ranged projectiles. In order to give them back what they deserve, you can swing your current equipped weapon by pressing the A button, or you can choose to spend your mana pools to activate magic attacks with the X.
As a melee ranged warrior, you can also hold the B button to raise your shield and block enemies’ attacks at the cost of a stamina bar. This mechanic, however, works better in theory than in action. There is a slight delay between the moment you press the button and the moment that the action of blocking takes place. Due to that, I found myself resorting more to hit and run tactics, especially when facing monsters with close-range attacks.
As you progress through the dungeon, enemies and obstacles (crates, rocks, etc) may drop potions to restore your health and mana, or chests that contain better gear to increase your odds of survival. Even though you have a huge character sheet, with many different statuses, Bit Dungeon Plus doesn’t have a proper RPG progression, with an experience system of some sort. Instead, you can become more powerful by equipping these new pieces, or by choosing between three magical orbs, which have a chance to appear once a room is cleared.
As you clear the dungeon from enemies and open your way through the current level, you’ll eventually find the door to the boss room. These encounters with behemoth creatures unlock the access to the next level, but they often fall short as a simplistic battle again a bigger version of the same creatures you have encountered before.
In the end, this is the overall feeling that persists through the entire Bit Dungeon Plus experience. It does have its qualities; above all, it has pleasant pixel art graphics that are accompanied by a catchy chip tune-like soundtrack. However, due to its clumsy combat mechanics, it doesn’t stand out from the crowd, delivering a roguelike gameplay loop like any other – just a shadow of what it could really be.