Tuesday, 28 August 2018 12:00

Jade's Dungeon Descent Review

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Jade’s Dungeon Descent is a dungeon crawler sliced directly from the meat of Shuyan Saga, a 2017 graphic novel release that was developed and published by Lofty Sky Entertainment. Jade’s Dungeon Descent was merely an unlockable at first, but July 2018 saw it launch as a stand-alone entry that fervently promised “no grinding and no upgrading.” Aptly self-entitled a micro-game, Jade’s Dungeon Descent proffers a reasonably fun experience that is over nearly as soon as it’s started.

Plopped Into Another Game’s Story

Jade’s Dungeon Descent appears to have experienced no editing regarding making it comprehendible outside of the world and the lore of Shuyan Saga. You play as Jade, a ferocious warrior with a lethal flying kick, as she ignores her master’s sage advice and searches for a serpent demon that she’s convinced will help her save her people. What’s wrong with her people, you ask? Jade’s Dungeon Descent doesn’t exactly explain that to you, nor does it give you context about the world in which it exists.

What you do know is that you’re now trapped in the labyrinth of catacombs under a temple, and must conquer a variety of traps, puzzles, and enemy followers of the serpent to attain your ultimate goal. Of course, calling this a “variety” might be a bit strong. You’ll mostly just be rolling furiously past timed spikes and arrows and kicking the snot out of monochromatic hoodlums.

Click Your Way To Victory

You might look for a menu for controls, but you won’t find it. Why? Because all you’ll need is that handy-dandy clicker on your mouse. You’ll use it to move, you’ll use it to activate objects, and you’ll use it to perform surprise combos on enemies. Since there’s no tutorial or guide for these combos, you’ll have to just fumble your way to a move that does serious damage and ensures that you stay alive. You can also roll and guard, and you’ll have to watch your stamina bar as you navigate these fights — it replenishes slowly. Very slowly.

Your adversaries are hooded followers of the serpent demon you seek, and they’re there to test you as you advance. You’ll need to do some serious crowd control at points, and at other times you’ll be doing a one-on-one battle where more finesse is needed. Or, you know. Just more vigorous clicking. The puzzles you’ll encounter are easy, to say the least, and utilize some of the most basic dungeon-crawling tropes out there. Jade’s Dungeon Descent doesn’t intend to be difficult, and it certainly succeeds in that regard.

Brief, Bland, And Casual

At the end of the day, Jade’s Dungeon Descent is completable in less than an hour. While the price point already suggests that this is the case, the fact that this brief title doesn’t feel whole outside of its Shuyan Saga packaging makes for a rather strange experience. For those that didn’t play Shuyan Saga, the surrounding story won’t make much sense, which causes it to be difficult to become immersed in this dungeon crawler as a stand-alone entry — and then when it ends so abruptly, it’s even more jarring.

The gameplay is easy and entertaining, but it doesn’t offer anything new or imaginative. It’s relatively addictive due to its casual nature, and while you won’t be convinced by the storyline, you’ll at least be carried to the end by the click-happy combat. The accompanying soundtrack is delectable, and the snippets of graphic novel art that you get throughout only incentivize you to play the original Shuyan Saga, if you haven’t already.

Intentionally Orphaned

Jade’s Dungeon Descent is a strangely niche entry. Players who know what it is will likely already have access to it through Shuyan Saga, and players who don’t know what it is will get blindsided by the whirlwind of the Shuyan Saga storyline that clips you, and then carries nonchalantly on. This begs the question: Who is this game for, really? Regardless, it’s an entertaining little bit of fun that will have you madly clicking your way to a win in no time.


The Verdict: Average

Jade’s Dungeon Descent is dungeon crawler that requires rigorous clicking and an infinitesimal amount of intellectual power. With less than an hour of gameplay to offer and a storyline that exists exclusively inside of the initial, and larger, title’s plot, it’s a neat toy that ultimately feels naked and afraid outside of itsoriginal Shuyan Saga packaging.

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Taryn Ziegler

Taryn is a digital content strategist with an avid appetite for literature and gaming. She graduated from the University of Washington Bothell with a degree in Culture, Literature, and the Arts, and since then has been engaged in copywriting for businesses from AutoNation to DirtFish Rally School. While she'll happily play most games set in front of her, Taryn heartily prefers a good ol' turn-based strategy RPG, such as Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia and Divinity: Original Sin.

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