A variation on the Bejeweled “match 3″ formula, you are gradually escaping from a dungeon. It plays a bit like Warriors End, although you are plowing through monsters rather than fighting one opponent. You also collect crafting materials to upgrade. Graphics and music fit the 8-bit standard so popular as “retro” at the moment.
This could be amusing on a mobile platform, but it does not offer a lot if you sit down to play for a block of time. Like Bejeweled, once you understand how the system and its few specials work, you have mastered the game. There is not much Raph Koster fun here, but it is a small variation on a comfortingly (or stultifyingly) familiar formula. Running the dungeon would pass a bus ride nicely, but it will not satisfy an itch for deeper play.
I found myself disappointed by the treadmill nature of the upgrades. You know this formula from MMOs: enemy hit points rise at least as quickly as your weapon damage, so your numbers increase but you do not become more powerful. Many flash games with similar upgrade systems make the improvements still feel meaningful by sending you through the weak enemies before getting to the big ones; that can feel boringly repetitious, but you really do notice when your Super Upgraded Sword clears ten enemies in less than a second and you zip through, rather than starting somewhere level-appropriate so every monster still takes the same amount of time despite your thousands of gold pieces spent at the blacksmith.
On sale at Steam for a couple of days as I post this. A full playthrough has a few hours of content; going for all the achievements will take longer, especially since there are two for low level runs. With the game’s upgrade and score systems, I’m pretty sure you can get those two by upgrading slowly, carefully keeping your score low, then sprinting for 10,000,000 all at once (and start over completely if you get a good but not perfect score that ends the “low level” part).