I find your game very unique, what was your inspiration?

I had a number of inspirations for Dungeon Hearts.

  1. I don’t really like puzzle games, so as a game designer it’s a fun challenge to take something you don’t like and put your own spin on it. Moving outside of our comfort zone is how we grow and improve our craft. I thought it would be fun to get rid of the turn-based nature of most puzzle games and make it feel more like an action game.
  2. Being a big fan of JRPGs, of course I’ve always wanted to make one of my own. But as the artist/designer/programmer of Cube Roots, it would take me a long time to create one from scratch, so I decided to take my favorite parts and get rid of everything else. First and foremost I play most RPGs for their battle systems, so I wanted to design one that had a more active element than simply pressing Attack repeatedly. Story is important to RPGs as well of course, so I wanted to see if I could hide a story in the game without showing it explicitly, and see if anyone could decipher it.
  3. The Japanese gaming studio Sting (now Super Sting I think). They make a series of games called The Dept Heaven Series, my favorites of these being Yggdra Union and Knights in the Nightmare. Both games combine systems from different genres in an interesting way. The both have steep learning curves, but once you get over that they are fun systems to explore.

Was this the first time you guys created a game, or did you used to work on other games/companies

Dungeon Hearts is my first full indie game, although I’ve worked at a number of larger studios over the years. It’s the experience I gained working in the mainstream industry that allowed me to create this game. I’ve also made a number of prototypes of other games before settling on Dungeon Hearts (such as TIMESCALE and Gaia) that I’d like to go back to.

Interview with the developer

(Thank you for spending some time answering my curiosities sir!)

Was it hard to put it all to reality and if so, what were some of the roadblocks or challenges?

Coming up with the system Dungeon Hearts shipped with was definitely a challenge, and required a lot of prototyping. When I started, I knew I wanted to take the basic concept of the match-3, but add in a system that allows for a deep and flexible combo system. The details changed a lot over the course of the project, I created and discarded lots of prototypes and experiments. At some point I should break out those old projects and do an in-depth examination of how the systems developed. I definitely did not succeed in everything I set out to do (there are still some control issues that need to be tweaked), and there seems to be a sharp divide between players who get it and are interested in exploring non-traditional systems, and those who expected a more traditional, casual experience and did not like the game at all.

What do you hope to bring to the community with this game?

I hope to bring an interesting mix of systems that people have fun exploring. I think it is too easy to get locked into specific genres with all the rules and preconceptions that go along with it. I do not really have any interest in creating a pretty game that plays like other games and is ultimately forgettable. I would rather have a game that is known for its interesting visuals and gameplay at the cost of alienating some players who are looking for a more traditional experience.

Stay alert for the final part of this review and the second part of the interview with the developer! I, personally, find it super inspirational and interesting to read!

I had never been so stressed over a matching game in my life, I was actually trying not to panic as each new higher level threw in new runes that benefit the enemies. I constantly had to learn what each new rune symbols meant and how to destroy or avoid them. Of course, thanks to the game’s bestiary it helped mea lot, sadly I only found out way later that it also had runes on it.

Those who are new to the game, >:O study this! it will help you plan your strategies and help keep your heroes alive. It also taught me how to destroy certain enemy runes.

Difficult?! Never give up! Never surrender!!

(Update: There is now an Easy mode! though try normal first to see how you fair. The post below applies to normal mode)

When I was researching this game, I found quite a number of reviewers rating it down. When I really looked into why that was so, I realized it was because they were simply not used to this kind of game. Now, the game IS pretty unique so it is understandable. However, they all agreed that it is a wonderful idea, wonderful blend, and even meshed together well, but they also thought it was too difficult to the point of it making the fun meter for them turn to 0. We can’t scoff them or judge them though because everyone has a different tolerance level, and everyone has different preferences. Some like the challenge of mastering things that causes them to wanna pimp slap people, while others would rather play a game with a relaxing atmosphere. I actually found myself trying again and again even though I kept losing at the first boss (I am so not ready for hard mode), even now, I am basing the review over my own personal capabilities as well as other people’s experiences. How well you yourself will do in the game, is entirely on you. I really do encourage you however, to try the game, who knows, you may be a Dungeon Heart GENIUS!!! 😀

Expect more things to get implemented 🙂

The developer told me that there will be, in fact, more contents to come 🙂 so let’s look forward to that!

Final Verdict

If you want to challenge yourself and fancy yourself as an awesome strategist, I really encourage you to play this game. Even if you’re a casual player, I would still recommend this game because it really makes you work your brain. this might even be too easy for some and they might thrive in the hard mode. Good thing about the game is that it randomly generates new battle sequences so you never know what new challenges you gotta rambo through. Dungeon Heart is a unique idea that was put into reality pretty well in my opinion. From the cute art style to the Stay on your toes gameplay, I think this is truly one heck of a brain worker game.