From Toad’s Treasure Tracker to the original Legend of Zelda games, I love puzzle games. 80s-style puzzle games are my favorite for many reasons, and Dungeons of Dreadrock is a great addition to the genre and one that I had a blast playing from start to finish.
Your adventure begins when you meet your protagonist and his brother. His brother was chosen by the elders to defeat the King of the Mountain, or so you think. You quickly realize that your brother is in danger and your character, defying the will of the elders, comes in to his rescue.
Dungeons of Dreadrock does a great job of teaching you mechanics as you go. Start slow with a few undead to avoid, then teach you how to use your sword etc. You move around a grid, using either the left stick or the D-Pad (I used the D-Pad because it seemed easier not to make a mistake in movement). The further you go through the game, the harder the puzzles become and the more you have to remember them, which is part of the fun.
Sometimes the game baby you by letting you know you’re missing something important in the level, while other times it lets you make mistakes over and over again before trying to help explain what is happening. For example, there was a level where you had to kill enemies on the upper level and then throw them to the next level in order to activate certain panels to open the next door. On my first, second, and even third try, I didn’t figure this out until I used a hint! Most levels have 1-3 levels of clues, while some of the larger levels have 3-7 levels of clues. Each hint level has a confirmation screen so it won’t give you the next hint without you asking. This system allows you to take the advice you need when needed, without having the whole problem solved for you.
One of the most underrated aspects of this game was the use of music. Music wasn’t playing consistently across levels, so when music was used it was for very specific reasons. The music added so much emotion to scenes that needed to be emotional, while still feeling epic when they needed to be epic, and finishing each level with a theme that was almost a breath of fresh air and a sense of relief knowing that you have solved the puzzle. .
I was impressed with the variety of puzzles throughout this game. Whether it’s finding items, pressing triggers, or using a “beast” to open doors for you, each level looked brand new, which is sometimes difficult for puzzle games. There were very few times I felt like something was repetitive.
At the end of every few levels there is a fireplace where your character can rest. During these times of rest, your character dreams that something is happening in the dungeon. It usually has to do with your brother being dragged lower or having a dream about the big bad talking about his evil plan. It keeps the story moving, and for me, it was compelling enough that even when I had planned to take a break, I was drawn in and continued on my journey.
One small complaint I had was the button mapping. There’s not much to support other than your weapon throwing and item use. However, the choice to put the “restart level” button in the top middle (X button on the Switch) made me rage several times. I would be in the middle/end of a level and accidentally press it instead of the item use button and everything would reset. I wish the restart button was the bumpers or the triggers or even the select button. Although it’s a VERY small thing, it’s one of the only things that frustrated me during the game. Other than that, I never encountered any glitches, crashes, or anything that break the game.
I played the majority of this game with my partner in crime, Regan, who helped me solve a number of puzzles. We had a lot of fun playing the game together on both the TV and the handheld. Having a partner to help solve the puzzles also led to using less hints and feeling accomplished when we solved a puzzle.
Dungeons of Dreadrock is a fast-paced game that, for us, lasts about three and a half to four hours. Meanwhile, we enjoyed the puzzles, the story, and the assortment of enemies. The ending was pretty quick, but in my opinion, I left the door open for maybe a sequel. I would love to see more of this world!
Dungeons of Dreadrock is set to release for Nintendo Switch on May 12, 2022 and will launch with a 50% introductory discount.
Dungeons of Dreadrock is packed with creative puzzles, fun enemies, and a story that keeps you going. Fun to play alone or with friends!
Adam is a musician and gamer who loves his partner in crime, Regan, and their two pets Rey and Finn. Adam is a fan of Star Wars, NFL football, and gaming in general. Follow Adam on Twitter @TheRexTano.