Super Dungeon Explore second edition has been a long time coming but with the limited release of Devil Island it’s finally here. Super Dungeon Explore is a dungeon crawling game based on side scrolling arcade games. One player takes on the role of Consul, they control the monsters, while upto 6 other players take on the role of 16-bit heroes inspired by fantasy, video game or pop culture icons.
The players build a dungeon from 3 tiles and the consul chooses 3 Spawn Points, a Mini Boss and a Dungeon Boss that the heroes will face. Each round of the game two heroes activate followed by a Consul turn where the monsters go and new monsters spawn as players battle their way through the dungeon in an attempt to destroy the spawn points and defeat the final boss.
There is a plethora of super dungeon content out there to collect and paint, making for a fun and varied game each time. However the Devil Island core set is a little more limited, coming with 3 identical spawn points, one mini boss and one boss, meaning you will need to collect more models if you want to change up the experience. Devil Island is also set in the mystical land of Kagejima, rather than the games original Crystalia setting. This means that this set draws its inspiration from japanese myth and legend rather than video games like the original.
Devil Island is also the debut of the “Legends” System. This is a campaign system for Super Dungeon, where players embark on a series of linked adventures with alternate victory conditions, overall shorter games and loot & treasure items that can carry over from game to game. The system is very simple, it has branching paths, where players can choose where to go next or their choice can be dictated by events that happened during the mission. In terms of campaign depth it feels fairly akin to games like Mice & Mystics, although the game play is more complex than that.
However, the lack of variety in the base box does make each mission feel more samey as you will always use the same four heroes and the same enemy models for each mission. The missions themselves are fairly simple, move across the map, collect objective points, find a specific item etc. Overall we enjoyed our plays and the game always moves forward, even if the heroes lose.
Despite that, and despite the fact that “Legends” has been a long time in coming, I’m not sure that Super Dungeon really needed a campaign system. For me, the fun of SDE is mixing and matching different heroes monsters and bosses and fighting your way through, I’ve got plenty of campaign games in the collection and with Super Dungeon Explore I think I’d rather play one offs, but if more Legends content is coming with a greater variety of monsters and missions I may well change my mind.
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