This is my first encounter with the longish-running DROD series of puzzle-dungeon crawlers, and a quick check of our much-abused tag system suggests that same is true of the other nodes of the RPS Hivemind too. Thus, for a few precious moments, I can enjoy the lofty status of Hivemind Prime, until the Independent Action Guards activate and laser away the deadly fungal strands of personality that have infected my corner of the monstrous Brain Jar.
So it’s with the new, free demo of fifth DROD game Gunthro and the Epic Blunder that I join the party, and am immediately mildly confused because it’s a prequel to the events of the first four games. This didn’t prove too serious an impediment to a rank newcomer, fortunately, as DROD seems to have a fairly Princess Bride take on fantasy kingdom rather than a depresssing downpour of Important Lore.
Basically, there’s this guy with a big sword, right, and the kingdom’s in danger, right, and his adventures are being narrated years later by a descendant to his own child, right, but you’re in control, right, and you have to walk into monsters with your big sword to kill them, right, and there are loads of navigational puzzles such as hitting buttons to unlock doors in a maze, right, and it’s all very jolly and has likeably hand-drawn graphics, right.
The voice-acting’s on the school panto end of the spectrum, but surprisingly charismatic with it. This is a good-natured game, no grimdark here.
The puzzles are perhaps a little too dependent on hitting the right coloured blocks, but the directional combat system requires strategy and forethought rather than action, faintly along the lines of Desktop Dungeons. Have a go at the 44MB demo (for PC, snooty PC and hippy PC), or you can buy the whole game for $20. If you fall really hard for DROD, there are four other games and a slew of mods to indulge yourself with too.