Away: Shuffle Dungeon Review
Away: Shuffle Dungeon box art
System: DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Mistwalker/Artoon 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Majesco 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Nov. 4, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: RATING 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Despite the somewhat muddled gameplay, Away: Shuffle dungeon does have some very good points. The visual style in this title is quite unique and characters all have distinguishing oversized features. For instance, Sword has a scarf that looks like it is bigger than his head, and the character Helmut has a helmet that is bigger than his head! The 3D overworld in Away: Shuffle Dungeon is rendered very nicely, and has a ton of color. All of the character animations are smooth and crisp in the 3D world as well as the 2D dungeons. I must commend this title on its visuals, simply because they look a lot different from all other DS RPG-style games and are just pleasant to look at.

Away: Shuffle Dungeon screenshot

The audio in this title is also superb, and it is definitely worth turning up the volume for. The score is nicely varied, and its orchestral quality is rarely found in handheld titles. The voiceover in this title is a little bit on the sparse side and typically consists of simple phrases like "Let's go!' or "Sword?" The quality of the music more than makes up for the thin voiceover though, and I definitely loved listening to this title.

Controlling the action in Away: Shuffle Dungeon is quite easy, and this game is one of the few with exclusive button-based controls. There is no stylus option, which actually works quite well given the active battle system and fast-paced action. As you might expect, you move around using the D-pad, and you use the face buttons for combat and menu selection. Controlling this title is a breeze, and the button-based controls are very conducive to running through shuffling dungeons.


Away: Shuffle Dungeon can best be described as a title with an identity crisis. It doesn't know whether it wants to be a dungeon crawler or action adventure title, and sadly, it doesn't do either particularly well. Dungeon enthusiasts who pick this title up will be sorely disappointed by its lack of strategy and substance, and adventure junkies may find the dungeon format a little too arduous for serious play. However, Away: Shuffle Dungeon does a good job of creating a surprisingly interesting world and is fun in very small chunks. If you are a dungeon or action game enthusiast, then this title may not be for you, but if you fall somewhere in the middle of these two very diverse genres, then Away: Shuffle Dungeon may find favor with you.

By Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor

Visuals sport a very original style, and the 3D overworld looks great.
Controls are completely button-based and work very well.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music is wonderful to listen to, which is quite surprising in a handheld title.

Play Value
Although the new shuffle mechanic is an interesting take on genre conventions, the mechanic quickly becomes "gimmicky," and dungeon enthusiasts may be disappointed by the lack of strategy in this title.

Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • For over 100 years the people of Webb village have been mysteriously disappearing one by one. Two years ago, a young man named Sword came to the village looking to settle down. Noticing the lack of people and occasional disappearances, he grew curious about their cause.
  • As Sword, you must right this wrong and save as many missing villagers as you can. With an unknown evil "spiriting away" all of the village's people, Sword must bring them home safely and unravel the mystery of AWAY.
  • Use various items to reveal entrances to unknown dungeons where the villagers are being held. Rescue them and repopulate the town by using your new friends to assist you in your quest.
  • Combat is action rather than turn-based.
  • Randomly generated dungeon rooms and challenging puzzles make Away: Shuffle Dungeon an amazingly fresh experience.

  • Screenshots / Images
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