Review: Dungeon Encounters is made for the Switch
There are certain types of games that reach certain brands and hence captivate you. Atlus’ Etrian Odyssey is difficult, but in a way that makes sense, and pushes people to move forward with the need to draw every nook and cranny of a map. Now Square Enix Encounters in dungeons hits those same kinds of notes, especially on the Switch. It traps you. Especially with the illusion that you can play a little game. There are no short sessions in Encounters in dungeons. Never. You will need to finish one more floor. Or save one more ally who died because of you.
On the surface, Encounters in Dungeons looks like a game with little to no story. Except that it absolutely is. A labyrinth filled with monsters has appeared next to a town. In response to the new threat and the death of his daughter at their hands, Guyselblanc founded the Academy. It is a place where adventurers congregate. Each arrived with their own reasons to explore the depths of the dungeon.
While there isn’t a detailed storyline as you explore, I found that I couldn’t help but get attached to certain allies. My initial group included Rwenzo, Maynasar, Guyselblanc and Elva. Why? I thought they looked cool. I didn’t even check their profiles until we were on our way. Maynasar mostly spoke to me. A mother supporting her family, she turned to adventure when other employment opportunities dried up. I did not know that White Guysel had created this guild. Once I realized that Ntleyana, the person mentioned in Rwenzo’s story, is a KO-ed ‘wandering’ adventurer somewhere in the dungeon, I decided that their ‘story’ ultimately involved them reuniting. and to work together for the same cause. While all of these setups are brief, each is so detailed. They make you want to succeed.
Of course, having said that, I have to admit that my pride caused Rwenzo, Maynasar, Guyselblanc and Elva to be killed. I got too arrogant on the sixth floor. A group of enemies made up of enemies like black bears and an alligator took them down.
Encounters in Dungeons forces you to make do with it. Automatic backups are the only options. You can’t get a second chance or bookmark a trip. You are limited to Adventurers in the Academy or that you come across in the labyrinth. As all four died, I had to start over. Nanga Pahr, Lhaulagi and Juloche were the only people left. I sent them first to find Sesspare, who was hanging out at 0036.32, since I had room in the evening. The coordinates of characters, events and places of interest all pass through the floor first, then the exact position on the map for that floor. After that I sent them to find Rodovich at 2.92.93. That way, I still had two people to turn to if the rescue attempts went wrong. Which was wise, because a sculpture on the fourth floor ended up petrifying Lhaulagi. When someone is turned to stone, only finding a shrine to heal them can get them back. (The first is at 7.32.33.)
Little by little, it grows in you. I picked up at Encounters in dungeons on the switch. Although minimalist, the layout of the map and the way the path changes from colorless to beige is satisfactory. Especially since you get ability points for tracing complete floors or reaching tile milestones. This allows you to visit a capacity station to increase the range of skills you can use in the field or in combat. You start with nothing. Eventually, you learn Fiend Scouting to passively see enemies around you. (These also appear as numbers. Which you can refer to in a textbook to get an idea of ââwhat you’ll encounter on a floor.) Eventually, you learn to do things like flee combat or heal allies. wounded. While you have to go all the way around to find stairs or healing points, the ascent and descent skills eventually allow you to go up or down. Eventually, you will be able to “see” the adventures labeled “wandering” on the map. You grow. You’re better.
This growth also applies to characters and stores. When it comes to enemies, when you find one, you learn their details. These include statistics, where they can appear, and what is connected to them. They might drop some. Items in the store may also vary depending on who shows up. With the characters, they can have certain predilections. Maybe they come with some equipment. Someone could be healthier than others. As they level up, their skill points (PP) increase. Since all equipment has a cost in PP, this limits what it can handle. In turn, this changes their physical defense (PD), magical defense (MD), and the amount of physical or magical damage they can rely on each time they attack.
Even the combat system can get surprisingly deep. Allies and enemies have an ATB bar, which determines when they can attack. Their PD, MD, and health points (HP) are all displayed at all times. Before HP can be drained, PD and MD must be reduced to 0. Each ally can equip two weapons. And depending on the weapon type, it will deal fixed or random physical / magical damage and hit one / all enemies. Not to mention some enemies, like the Flying Gargoyle, will always dodge physical attacks. Or the Lamia you meet at the start will be the first enemy with an attack (Mindleech) that bypasses PD and DM to hit HP directly. Considering my bad luck with Sculptures – which ended up petrifying Nanga Pahr on a run to the shops outside the maze – I tended to retreat the second I saw more of them. one on the opposite side.
But what I particularly liked was how Encounters in Dungeons rewards you for being an observer. There are a lot of events which are basically little puzzles. They direct you to certain coordinates. If you manage to get there, you usually get a worthwhile item. It also rewards you for keeping track of things. That’s why i think Encounters in Dungeons is the best on the Switch. I have a whole list of notable points on each floor. You begin to recognize combinations of numbers as you would with pictures. 01 and 02 are always stairs. If I see 06, I’m heading there to heal as soon as possible. And if I see a place in the maze that I can’t reach that doesn’t have a hidden path leading to it, I write down the exact coordinates so I can use any terrain ability to get there.
There is so much to Encounters in Dungeons. People might not even notice it at first glance. But the systems in play are so compelling and rewarding. Find a new article. Defeat a group of enemies who have confused you before. Successfully hunt down a wandering adventure. Save a group of fallen allies who died earlier because you overestimated your abilities. It is exciting. And given the nature of the Switch, it’s even more satisfying to play. Encounters in dungeons there in any situation and taking tons of notes. This is one of my favorite surprises in 2021.
Encounters in dungeons is available worldwide on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PC