Toylogic Inc.’s Happy Dungeons is simultaneously what you’d expect and not at all what you’d expect from the makers of Xbox 360’s Happy Wars. You and some friends take control of the same type of cutesy little warriors and spell casters from Toylogic’s last game and roll, slash and cast your way through enemies.
XBLA Fans even had the opportunity to do some light building during the game’s E3 demo; we constructed a ballista to inflict heavy damage on the legions of baddies the game threw at us. There are a few key ways, however, in which Happy Dungeons differentiates itself from its MOBA predecessor. There are far fewer players per game, and they all fight as one co-op team.
“So Happy Wars is all about playing with a lot of people,” Toylogic CEO Yoichi Take told XBLA Fans through a translator following our demo session last week. “You can actually play it with up to 30 players. But for this one, I wanted to make a game that was something like cooperation with your friends, so this is only up to four players, so that’s a kind of difference.
“I wanted to make a party game — cooperative with friends. This is a pretty action-packed RPG but has a more party essence to it.”
The demo took us through a series of dungeon rooms, some of them full of so many baddies that they were surely exceeding the fire marshall’s maximum occupancy limit. Each character has basic attacks, a roll maneuver and a number of special moves that can be scrolled through and assigned to face buttons on the fly. As a dungeon-crawling action-RPG the game plays much like a happier, sillier take on Diablo, but with much less loot aside from coins. However, in the press release announcing the game, Toylogic promised more than 1,000 character creation items.
Just as Take promised, Happy Dungeons is a more accessible, party-like gaming experience than most action-RPGs. Most of the demo was goofy hack-and-slash fun that didn’t require too much thinking or strategizing. That’s not to say the action never ramped up, though. As we got deeper into the dungeon the game started throwing copious amounts of enemies at us. At one point the odds were so overwhelmingly against us that I had to ask Take if that was the norm. Was the game designed that way to force players to cooperate to achieve success?
It turns out that Toylogic had overloaded the demo with baddies to make sure E3 players had plenty to do. The final game will throw varying amounts of foes at players depending on their level. Sometimes there may also be fewer but tougher enemies. Sure enough, we had to battle our way through a boss fight at the demo’s conclusion after passing through a particularly ominous door.
Players won’t have to do it all with just three friends, though. As Take pointed out, small AI-controlled companions will sometimes accompany players, Known as “buddy bots,” up to three of these little guys will hop into the fight alongside players. Happy Dungeons will feature somewhere around 100 different kinds of buddy bots that will unlock when missions are completed.
“If you have those buddie bots around you, and you’re fighting with friends it feels like there are a lot of players around you, so enemies will be increased,” explained Take.
The bots will permanently travel with you, and Toylogic hopes that collecting and “growing” them to be stronger will be part of the game’s charm.
According to Take, players can expect somewhere around 60 different dungeons to plow through upon release, with each of them lasting about 20 to 40 minutes. The studio plans to regularly update the story every two months and also continually add more dungeons and enemies.