Janet Jackson sang: “The best things in life are free”, but the more cynical school of thought suggests: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” See also: “You get nothing for nothing.”
Well, quashing the latter two notions and no doubt pleasing Janet Jackson, Substantial Inc’s Dungeon Highway is entirely free. There’s no up-front cost on the App Store or Google Play, no ads and no in-app purchases. Splendid.
Technically, Dungeon Highway is an endless runner, but before you run off, let me stress that it’s surprisingly refreshing.
There’s no jumping, no sliding, no magnet, no in-game currency, and no concept of levelling up. It’s just you against the eponymous dungeon highway, tilting to move and tapping to shoot.
Here we’re running into the screen, Temple Run-style (as opposed to left-to-right), and you’ll notice from the screenshots that Dungeon Highway has a decidedly retro feel, with lovely big pixels.
Bizarrely, Dungeon Highway feels slightly 3D-ish, in the sense that I found myself trying to peek around columns. I even did that stupid thing where I’d move my iPad to the side to, eh, try and get a better view. Great stuff.
However, if I can wheel out another popular phrase: “All good things must come to an end”, and indeed your Dungeon Highway session concludes when you run into a column or collide with an enemy.
Speaking of enemies, there are plenty on offer in Dungeon Highway, including rats, pirates, skeletons, flaming skulls, slimy guys, wizards, scorpions, whatever the plural of Cyclops is, little red devils, a mini Dracula…
Each of those enemies ends in a glorious, bloody, pixelated mess if you happen to shoot them, as do you when your run ends.
In terms of power-ups, Dungeon Highway keeps things relatively simple. There’s a potion that makes you go big, meaning you can shrug off a single hit (think Super Mario going large and small), and a second potion that slows things down temporarily.
The third and final power-up pertains to your weapon (the default being a fireball), essentially initiating a burst mode, the only downside being that it has a slightly lower rate of fire.
Gripes? Nothing much. In typical endless runner fashion, Dungeon Highway might feel a tad samey after a while (despite three game modes), and there’s just the one chiptune, but it’s super-gory, with loads of enemies and backgrounds, and – again – it’s free. Check it out.
- It’s free; no ads or in-app purchases
- Tons of enemies
- The goriness
- The usual endless runner sameyness
- Only one chiptune for the soundtrack
- Maybe a little too primitive for some
Summary: Dungeon Highway is a surprisingly refreshing endless runner, with a horrific amount of pixelated gore, and tons of enemies. It’s entirely free, so you’ve no excuse for letting this one slip past.
Developer: Substantial Inc
iOS compatibility: Requires iOS 5.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.
Android compatibility: Requires Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or above.