Review: Lost in the Dungeon review – A card-based dungeon crawler that’s got a few too many problems

I just spent more than half an hour locked in a life or death struggle with a small rat. I’d slightly messed up the loadout of my character’s deck, so the rat was hiding from me and there was nothing I could do about it.

And that’s one of the problems with Lost in the Dungeon. For all of its difficulty, sometimes it gets its balancing so wrong that it’s laughable. And what should be a tense battle through some caves becomes an almost literal game of cat and mouse. Or barbarian and rat.

It’s not without its charm, don’t get me wrong, but I think it needs some tweaks here and there before it’s worth a wholehearted recommendation.

Game of cards

The game sees you taking on a series of dungeons using a deck of cards. You can choose your character type at the outset, then you head out into a starter dungeon to get your bearings. Shortly after that you will die.

The key to success here is getting out before things get hard. If you die you don’t take your loot with you. Finish a room though and you can back out, equip some new gear, and get a bit more gold.

It’s a battle of attrition, but for the most part it’s fun. This isn’t the sort of game where you feel like a hero from the outset. Instead you’re learning the ropes, figuring out the best way to take down your foes, and then dying some more.

Lost in the Dungeon iOS review screenshot

But, like I say, there are some balancing problems here. Sometimes you die because you made a mistake, but sometimes you die because the game has no interest whatsoever in your success. That can lead to early frustration, which in turn leads to throwing your phone in the bin.

When things are working well, there’s a lot of strategic fun to be had in Lost in the Dungeon. Other times though you’re a little bit too lost in the dungeon to actually be able to see a way out.

Another problem involves the potion cards in your deck. You dont’ seem to be able to swap them out, and you need to spend gold to use them. If you’ve run out, then you can end up with a bunch of useless cards in your hand that are going to take three turns to clear out.

Deck the hells

With a few more updates, Lost in the Dungeon could really be something special. But as it stands, there’s a few too many problems here to get through before you get to the strategic heart of the experience.

If that happens, then Lost in the Dungeon could rank among the most interesting solo card games on the App Store. Right now, it’s just one of the most interesting also-rans instead.