Welcome to our Is that a good free mobile game series. In this series we look at games from both the App Store and the Play Store and review them. At the end of the article we try to answer the question – Is the current game a one of the best smartphone games? Is it a good free mobile game? For this review, we’re looking at Dungeons of Dreadrock by Prof. Dr. Christoph Minnameier!
Is Dungeons of Dreadrock a good free mobile game?
Your Answer Upfront:
I really don’t have anything bad to say about Dungeons of Dreadrock and I always try to find faults to point out (this is not out of the desire to be mean or critical of any game or developer, but it’s in an effort to inform our readers and letting them know what to expect). This is what a premium game looks like and should look like. Except this is a free game that you can get right now.
What happens when you have one unknown developer with a clear passion for old-school dungeon crawlers and a simple mission: create something new, but familiar for the next generation of gamers?
I’ll tell you what happens. Games like Dungeons of Dreadrock happen.
Our credentials as massive nerds and major gamers over here at Best Smartphone Games is fairly well established by now. We spend our days (working or during our free time) in and around the gaming industry and we’ve learned a trick or three throughout the years (which, without tooting our own horns, we’re sharing with each and every one of our readers every time we review a game or expose the industry’s inner workings).
Naturally, we’re always looking out for old school RPGs to play ourselves and recommend to others (or warn against).
Today’s focus is, obviously, Dungeons of Dreadrock, an adventure game that includes action, exploration and fighting but mainly focuses on puzzles.
A Game Developed by a Computer Science Doctorate Professor
The developer is a complete unknown and unless you’re willing to do the research, he’s likely to remain an unknown blip in the sea of indie developers. I don’t normally take the time to write about devs, but Prof. Dr. Christoph Minnameier has earned his shout-out (at least in my books).
He’s got a few games under his belt but, as far as I can tell, Dungeons of Dreadrock is his first actual release and I’m glad he finally decided to bring his work to the masses.
I digress. This isn’t a Developer Profile article (if you’re interested in reading something like that, let us know in the comment section below!).
What is Dungeons of Dreadrock?
Dungeons of Dreadrock is a free to play title that brings back memories of mid-late 80s RPGs with a puzzle twist. With 100 hand-crafted levels, this is definitely not the longest of games out there, but it makes up in quality.
At this point in the review I usually stop to have a (lengthy) rant about how the game’s microtransactions and in-app purchases are rooted so deep into the game that it’s impossible to progress without having to buy into some ridiculous VIP package. Well, this is a bit embarrassing. And surprisingly refreshing. The game (as mentioned earlier) is completely free, is not feature-locked in any way and has a whole ONE in-app purchase to remove in-game advertisements at a very reasonable price ($2.99).
Going back into the meat of the game, you get exactly what’s advertised on the box. 100 levels to delve into, innumerable enemies to get past in one way or another and a mission: save your brother.
The handcrafted levels are designed with a bit of a difficulty curve in mind, with the obvious, easy ones serving as somewhat of a practical tutorial (by practical I mean it’s not some pointless series of prompts. You actually progress through the story while learning how to play). The deeper down the dungeon you go, the enemies get stronger and the puzzle aspect of each level makes you think harder.
Fortunately, you don’t have to be an RPG specialist and you’ve got hints available after a while (how long until those hints show up is more or less up to you through a helpful option in the settings menu).
Dungeons and Ogres – atmosphere and sound design
The dark atmosphere certainly brings back memories of other, more established titles. Something that definitely helps with this atmosphere is the sound design which definitely gives you a sense of danger just around the corner (even though you kind of already know what’s around said corner).
A fun little tidbit that shows up early in the game is the chase mechanic. Specifically, the multi-level chase, where you find yourself trying to outrun and outsmart an Ogre. Most people wouldn’t look at that more than once (or twice), but, to me, that makes the game more cohesive as opposed to it just being a series of rooms filled with X number of enemies or Y number of puzzles that eventually repeat themselves.
I previously mentioned that there’s “only” 100 levels and made it sound like a bad thing. Considering that they’re not procedurally generated, it seems like an appropriate number. If you’re looking for a game that will provide near-endless replayablity, this might not be entirely suitable for you. Before you draw any wrong conclusions, I’m going to make it clear: not every game is designed to be played endlessly with the expectation of new things with each and every level.
Because the levels are hand crafted, this allows for more control over the finer aspects, be it the puzzles or the atmosphere. This is one of the game’s strongest points and one of the reasons I will gladly recommend it to anyone looking for an excellent dungeon crawler that is almost guaranteed to not bore you (actually, I’ve found that it has the exact opposite effect. “Just one more level” is something I’ve said to myself more than once during this review). I’ve found it to be suitable for 10-minute sessions and multi-hour sessions just as well.
I’ve spent around 9 hours playing Dungeons of Dreadrock on my iPad 6th Gen, which got me through a considerable chunk of the game without once feeling that it was dragging on or getting boring. Did I mention this game is entirely free? Because it is! I highly recommend that you drop the small free to remove the in-game adds, not because they are bothersome, but to encourage the developer to keep doing what he’s doing.
While my focus has been on the iPad version of the game, you can just as easily get it (for free, ad-supported) on Android (and iPhones, obviously) and for the low price of $2.99 you can also get it on Steam! (Looking at the game’s dedicated website, the Nintendo Switch logo leads me to think that it will make its way onto the Switch e-shop soon, presumably for the same low price).
I really don’t have anything bad to say about Dungeons of Dreadrock and I always try to find faults to point out (this is not out of the desire to be mean or critical of any game or developer, but it’s in an effort to inform our readers and letting them know what to expect).
This is what a premium game looks like and should look like. Except this is a free game that you can get right now.
Needless to say, I wholeheartedly recommend you check out Dungeons of Dreadrock and I’m not willing to give it anything less than a full 5-star rating.
How to download Dungeons of Dreadrock?
Dungeons of Dreadrock is available for Android Phones and Tablets on the Play Store and for iPhone and iPads on Apple’s App Store. If you want to play the game on an M1 equipped Mac, you can read our article on How to play iOS Games on a Mac.
You can use an iPad and to stream the game to your Mac if that’s what you wish. Or maybe you can try and setup an Android Emulator on your Mac to play it that way. We’ve covered Android Emulators for both Intel and Apple Silicon macs so you can play Android Games wherever you are.
Where To Next?
We have more reviews of both free and premium mobile games, such as Metal Slug Attack or QB Planets! We also have other articles with tidbits and interesting facts, like this article that answers the question “What is the Number 1 mobile eSports Game” sorted by the prize pool.
If you want to stay up to date with our articles, make sure to give us a follow on twitter. Or, leave a comment bellow telling us what premium or free smartphones games you enjoy!