|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Global A Entertainment||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: UFO Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 9, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Though you can only venture into your subterranean creation once per day, you have total freedom to make adjustments and expand its depths - providing you have the proper building materials handy. Each day new creatures are attracted to your dungeon, depending on what kind of improvement you make. They tend to prefer specific styles of rooms located deep within the twisting mass of corridors, though you'll occasionally find them free-roaming. Many of the trips you'll take into the dark corridors will be to seek out these creatures and pummel the snot out of them with magic and weaponry. They'll often drop components that can be used for food, items to upgrade your gear, and handy weaponry that can be equipped or sold to fund your construction endeavors.
The combat aspect of Dungeon Maker II is very basic and straightforward; you'll grab weapons and execute button mashing attacks when enemies draw near or fire off handy magic spells. Controls for exploration and battle feel stiffer than they should, but it's still a functioning system. Instead of leveling-up through battle, you'll permanently boost your stats a little each day by consuming foods prepared with various ingredients and recipes you find in the game. Though it doesn't negate the necessity for grinding, it's a cool way to improve your character. A little further into the adventure you'll acquire a peculiar creature, called a Genji, that follows you around and transforms into different beasts to help you in battle. Unlike your own character, the Genji can be leveled up in battle and will learn new forms to change into over time based on the creatures you encounter.
Graphics are not Dungeon Maker II's strong points. The hub town is basically a colorful 2D backdrop with a small character icon that waddles from point-to-point. Static character portraits and the background elements found during dialogue are the nicest visual aspect. The 3D, third-person action found in the dungeon is about as visually compelling as one might expect a dark, gloomy dungeon would be. It's really quite drab and depressing. Luckily, the gameplay is addictive enough to balance it out.
If you let it, Dungeon Maker II: The Hidden War can be a habit-forming title. Gathering the necessary components and designing and tailoring dungeons is great fun, and running around slaying whatever decides to come live in them provides a whole different incentive to stick with it. While some areas of the game are hit-or-miss, the solid core gameplay is what will keep players coming back for more.
CCC Staff Contributor