Darkest (Anime) Dungeon

HIGH Great character designs.

LOW Long random encounters and randomized dungeons.

WTF The Healer making excited sounds when damaged.

As a massive fan of Darkest Dungeon (DD), I went into Mistover hoping for a comparable experience — the two are similar in many ways, as I’m about to outline. Did I get what I was after? Well, unfortunately, yes and no.

For those who don’t know Darkest Dungeon or its genre, both it and Mistover are (at their most basic level) turn-based RPGs that focus on difficult dungeons. DD shows things from a side view, while Mistover employs a grid-like 2D view for both combat and dungeons. Between dungeon runs in both titles, players return to town where they can train, recruit members, and buy more equipment.

The first thing to notice about Mistover is how similar the art style is to Darkest Dungeon — the bold lines and textures harken directly to the work of Red Hook Studios. For me this was a good thing, as it’s an interesting art style. Luckily Mistover manages to make this style its own thanks to anime-inspired character designs and impressive skill effects.

Darkest Dungeon randomized its levels and Mistover does as well, but I found the randomization to be clunky as it often made me run from one end of an area and back again just to get keys to open a chest. This randomness loses a lot of the artistry, claustrophobia, and charm that I would want. Further, the camera’s perspective shows more of the floor and less of the artistic backgrounds, making the visuals feel dull. This might be a very personal nitpick, but it drew me out of the levels more than I would like.

The quests, for the most part, left much to be desired. I liked how the town’s characters were woven into tasks the player will be carrying out, but too often the quests often consisted of “explore X% of a map” and the like, and rarely paid off in any interesting way. This is, admittedly, a weakness in Darkness Dungeon as well, but thankfully the characters helped give Mistover much-needed spice.

On the plus side, the character designs fare better than the environments and I could easily differentiate classes and style of play by their looks, and Mistover offers a variety of things including a witch that flies on a broom, a samurai ronin, a grim reaper that deals black magic, and more.

Unfortunately, while the characters and their mechanics were enjoyable, the actual gameplay is lacking. The random encounters take far too long, and even at the beginning of the adventure several enemies are capable of almost one-shotting characters. I appreciate challenge, but Mistover doesn’t scale difficulty well — it was common to get killed in one turn by a generic enemy, only to have the next battle in the same area drag out for ten minutes. Worse, the enemy designs don’t match the quality of the player’s characters. The fights that aren’t over immediately are boring to sit through and boring to look at.

I wanted to like Mistover. While I initially came to it hoping to find something that delivered on its obvious promise of being similar to Darkest Dungeon, what I got was more like a poorly-balanced work-in-progress. With annoying encounters and dull dungeons, it falls far short of the game it was so clearly inspired by.

Rating: 5 out of 10

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by KRAFTON. It is currently available on PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PC. Approximately 15 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was not completed.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Blood, Violence, and Suggestive Themes.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: All audio is in Korean or Japanese (no English) so all information is presented via text. This text is not resizable. There are no audio cues necessary for play, so this title is fully accessible.

Remappable Controls: Yes, the controls are remappable.

Nikki Waln
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