Japanese folklore has spread across the world in multiple forms through media, including the ever-expanding library of mobile games. The team at NEUTRONIZED has added to it with their mythological adventure, Yokai Dungeon. It's a top-down pixel adventure with contained rooms interconnected throughout different dungeons. Your main defense is kicking blocks or any other movable objects into the various spirits or yokai that wander around each area. Doing so will net you money for upgrades and unlock the way forward. Delve deep enough and you'll be able to take on the boss Yokai in hopes of resealing the escaped evils.
Why explore the Yokai Dungeon?
Stories of folklore and mythology tend to have a lot of rules and conditions that go with them, but that's not always the case. Japanese folklore may be the basis for Yokai Dungeon, but the plot is easy to understand. You are the tanuki raccoon guardian for a spiritual shrine in a small village. One day, the seal holding back all the evil spirits breaks, and they all escape the shrine. As they spread evil and chaos throughout the world, only you have the power needed to defeat them. With a combination of quick moves and creative thinking, various dungeons need to be conquered.
The light RPG puzzles in Yokai Dungeon
The main charm of this game can be seen in its layout and execution of two distinct genres. For mobile games, puzzles are quite popular since they can be casual and entertaining. Yokai Dungeon has taken that and fused it with a cartoon RPG setting. Using a structure with similarities to Captain Toad Treasure Tracker, each room of every dungeon is a contained space. They set the stage for a sliding block puzzle that keeps you on your feet as enemies move around and react to the environment based on their traits.
In a way, you are a yokai hunter and the blocks are your weapons. However, the simple act of moving is in itself a part of the puzzle. You need to make sure that you can always reach a position that not only keeps you safe but lets you counterattack. As you progress, blocks take on different properties and enemies start using different tactics. It prompts you to think fast and act even faster.
Yokai Dungeon is cute and challenging
What really adds to the difficulty of the game are the enemies and environments. It starts off slowly with some simple enemies moving around to ease you into the process. However, once you've mastered the mechanics, you meet enemies that can only be defeated if they're knocked into certain areas. Alternatively, you will face enemies that will be more aggressive and those that move around randomly to throw you off. It challenges you to adapt quickly to the situation, keeping things exciting. This is especially true when facing bosses who all have arenas and abilities to test your skills and reactions.
Even though there's a sense of pressure with a yokai that shows up if you take too long to clear a room, the presentation provides relief. All of the character and creature designs are rounded and friendly with colourful palettes. Movable blocks are clearly defined but still fit in with their surroundings. Any items and gold that appear visually pop to make you want to collect them and it feels good when you do.
Venture into the Yokai Dungeon
Yokai Dungeon is a top-down dungeon-crawler where you need to clear rooms and defeat bosses by kicking blocks around. It can be played casually but the combination of elements keeps things interesting as you progress. There's a timing element to keep the pace up with nice visuals to keep things light and fun. These dungeons are full of yokai, so try to see if you can clean them out.