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Ethan Walton-Jones - Sergeant Llama

2 May 2023

Dungeon Drafters

Dungeon Drafters is an adventure, roguelike, dungeon card game Developed by Monolith Studios and Published by DANGEN Entertainment. Set in a fantasy world where cards are magic, embark on an extraordinary adventure as you explore unique regions, find rare, powerful cards and use strategy and combos to defeat the most challenging enemies as you build the deck that will save the world.

Set in the world of the 4 Corners, you are part of a large group of brave adventurers who aim to reseal away a dark being known as The Stranger, who seeks to bring chaos to the balance of the 4 Corners. You must travel to a forgotten corner of the world of the 4 Corners and explore and fight your way through dungeons using the magic of cards whilst making friends with the other adventurers and crafting the ultimate deck that is capable of restoring peace.


Upon starting the game, you will be asked to choose which of the six characters you want to play as. Each comes with their own unique deck of starter cards, but don’t worry if you decide you don’t particularly like their starter deck - you are free to branch out to the other decks as soon as you unlock cards for them! There is a lot of freedom with the card selection and deck building, and it is important to keep a good balance of cards whilst maintaining high firepower and survivability. To bring a particular card type, you must have its corresponding rune equipped into one of your five rune slots. Also, if the card has a power greater than 1, you must use additional slots for the same rune type to bring them. For example, if you wanted to bring a two-power Traveller card, two of the five rune slots must be the Traveller rune. Each rune allows for ten cards of its type to be in the deck, so the two traveller runes would allow for twenty traveller cards in your deck. Each type of card has its particular strengths, and experimenting with each of them to find what works best for your playstyle is the best way to build your deck.


After you are satisfied with your deck, head to the stagecoach to take you to one of the dungeons. There are six different dungeons to explore within the world of Dungeon Drafters, each having their own theme, ranging from deserts to forests to sunken ships. Each of the dungeons are free to explore instantly after completing the tutorial, so there is a lot of freedom handed to the player. However, it’s probably wise to steer clear of the tower initially, as it can be quite a bit more challenging just getting out of there compared to the other areas. Each dungeon has a randomly generated layout of rooms, with each room being different from the others. Other than the entrance and exit, the main rooms consist of basic rooms where you need to kill all the enemies to progress, puzzle rooms that offer up chests and shards (the main currency). If you can complete the puzzles whilst fending off attacks from enemies and challenge rooms, you may be offered a reward for completing a potentially tricky challenge. Upon entering one of these rooms, you draw up to a hand of five cards from your deck and gain three action points. Each movement, attack or use of a card uses one of these actions, after which it will switch over to the enemy’s turn. On your turn, make sure to check what the enemies will do, then move and play cards to avoid their attacks. Each use of a card will send it to the discard pile, where you won’t be able to use it again for a while, so try to avoid being wasteful. At the start of every subsequent turn, you draw another card from the deck unless you have five or more cards already in your hand, as well as refilling the action points back to 3. There are restrooms that allow for a quick heal and bring any discarded cards back into your deck via shrines. These shrines can sometimes be found in the exit areas, as these exit areas allow players to delve deeper into the more tricky parts of the dungeon. While exploring the dungeons, watch for shards and booster packs in chests and on the floor. If you manage to get out of the dungeon, these booster packs can be opened up and will present you with five more cards to use in your deck. The cycle of going into a dungeon, fighting things, and getting out again can feel a bit repetitive at times, but experimenting with different cards and trying to complete the various quests given to you can help keep the game feeling fresh each run.


The controls in Dungeon Drafters are straightforward, WASD for movement and attack and most of the time, a simple mouse click or two is all that is required to play a card. The controls are very friendly to new players. Each of the cards clearly shows exactly where in the dungeon room it can be cast, as well as what its area of effect will be, how much health the target will have remaining or if it won’t affect them. Some of the UI can overlap, such as the description for the cards is placed right over the top of the end turn button, meaning you have to wait for it to go away before you can press it. Other than this and the odd spelling mistake here and there, there aren’t really any glaring negatives to go over. One thing that could be improved would be the tutorial. I don’t mind the fact that it is short. Still, there is hardly any introduction to the different effects both cards and enemies can induce. So it’s left up to the player to go find the page in the guide to read over and learn all of them.

As with many turn-based dungeon games, Dungeon Drafters makes use of a 2D pixel art style that is very charming. Each of the characters, dungeons and enemies are nicely designed, being clearly distinct from each other whilst blending in superbly with the theme of the areas. Each of the cards are also visually appealing, with the majority of them clearly showing what they are likely to do just from the design, except for a couple that left me scratching my head as to what exactly I was looking at. The art style in Dungeon Drafters is synonymous with its genre, suiting it perfectly. The music, composed by Leonardo Lima, ties in well with the art style, using classic orchestral adventure music spiced up with a retro, 8-bit effect that gives it a fresh but familiar feel. Hiroki Kikuta is also present in the OST, who weaved his magic to craft the beautiful soundtrack for the arena. The soundtracks in the dungeons can start to feel a bit repetitive after spending a few runs in the same one, so switching to a different dungeon can be a good idea to avoid getting bored or annoyed by it.


Dungeon Drafters is an excellent addition to the extensive roster of dungeon crawler games. The turn-based strategy and an enjoyable deck builder that allows for a large amount of freedom combine to create a delightful experience that leaves me constantly thinking and coming up with different combinations of cards I can use to defeat my enemies as fast as possible. The gameplay can potentially feel repetitive at times, but the different possibilities with the cards and the uniqueness of the dungeons help keep the game fresh even for long game sessions.


The Bad

- Lots of Freedom with deck building
- The charming pixel art style
- Good character, dungeon and enemy design

- Some UI could use rearranging
- Many effects have no introduction or explanation other than in the guide.

The Good

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