A Quick Dungeon Crawler
Product: Dungeon Runner
Company: NC Soft
Date: 07/15/2007
Avaliable On:

Dungeon Runner is an unusual title to come from NC Soft. Yes it is an MMORPG, but instead of being something that you will invest lots of time into for quests and characters, it is all based around the idea of jumping in, prepping your character and running through a dungeon in about 15 minutes.

Dungeon Runner is being touted as a "casual" game, but don't take this title lightly; this isn't just some desktop card or puzzle game. Mark Tucker, Lead Designer of Dungeon Runner, explained that this game is "a casual game for NC Soft's typical hardcore MMORPG fans." This means that the target audience is still the company's standard group, but this is a game that they can pop into and play while they are waiting for their Guild Wars group to come together or waiting for a taxi. This is a title that doesn't require a lot of investment for the amount of payoff and fun you will have.

There are several ways this is achieved. One thing is that there is virtually no travel time. Instead of forcing you to run to the other side of a continent in order to join your group members, you can just pop over to them automatically. Beyond that, there is an auto-group feature that intelligently selects a group of similarly leveled players. While facing opponents, you won't be attacking one enemy at a time either. Instead, in order to keep the game action-packed, you will typically find a ton of enemies swarming you. Because of this, most of your skills are area based and affect enemies from all directions.

Dungeon Runners's price point should also appealing to gamers, free. Well mostly. There is a free account but, for the "price of a latte a month," you can get access to extra skills and other goodies. While this game is intended for NC Soft's core audience, it looks like it will also appeal to gamers who have avoided the MMORPG market thus far because of a lack of time to invest in a character or quests.

In general, it looks like NC Soft is doing a good job of creating a game that will appeal to both their standard demographic and other gamers.

J.R. Nip aka Chris Meyer

GameVortex PSIllustrated