A tavern, according to Wikipedia, is a place of business where people gather to drink alcoholic beverages and eat some food. The oldest tavern that has ever recorded, was built in 1633 in Boston, Massachusetts. But then, was implemented in most and almost all medieval era as a place where people could hang out with their friends.
But have you ever thought why in the Medieval Age, all the heroes and villains are always gathering in Tavern? Do you know what kind of drink they actually bought? Well, according to Afro Ninja Production, they actually drink a bottle of soda. This absurdness, if you're agree, can only be found in the latest RPG/dungeon crawler from Afro Ninja Production in collaboration with Armor Games called Soda Dungeon.
Soda Dungeon - The Premise
Soda Dungeon starts with you that's willing to help the owner of a local tavern. No one wants to come to this small, poor tavern. To develop this tavern into a better place, you will need to go through dungeons to raid some loots and treasures.
To do this, you will be recruiting some local talent by attracting them with sodas that they've craved for. With this recruitment, you will be starting your journey, passing one dungeon to another dungeon until all your adventurers have lost all their health points and decided to go home. When you return to the tavern, you will bring all the loots you've collected and start upgrading the tavern.
With all the loots you have, you will be upgrading the tavern. From its stools and tables to facilitate the new adventurers that want to hang in your tavern, until the choice of sodas that will attract more adventurers coming to your tavern.
Not only that, your reputation will also become a deciding factor to attract a good adventurers. The higher reputation you have, the better adventurers will more likely come to your tavern. When it does, your next dungeon crawling will become easier and more efficient.
Soda Dungeon - The Gameplay
Soda Dungeon is a turn-based rogue-like dungeon crawling. Inside your tavern, you will have lots of adventurers, but you will be able to only bring five of them. I have tips and tricks to choose the adventurers to bring, but that's later on.
Speaking about the adventurers, there are several type of adventurers that you can bring with. Each type of adventurer has their own price to hire, including with their own unique skills and stats. You can bring any type of adventurers, so you can bring all conjurers in your team, or all healers in your team. It depends on how you build your team and your strategy.
Inside your team, each adventurers can also be equipped. These equipments are including swords, armors, and gems. All equipments will give a better stats to the adventurers, and for certain equipments, extra active/passive skills too.
So, adventurers can have a skill too, like healing ability, multiple hits thunder strike, etc. This skill is attached to each adventurer, so you won't be able to heal your companions if you're not a healer, and so on.
Equipment however, works differently. While swords and armors will only give passive skills, gems, on the other hand, will give any of your adventurers a new skill that can be used inside the dungeon.
Back to the game. In Soda Dungeon, basically, you will only need to pass through the first 100 dungeons. Although, if you want, you could just go through and have an endless journey on your own.
In these dungeons journey, your adventurers will be playing a turn-based game, beating all the monsters that's coming at your team. Your adventurers will be taking turn to attack before the enemies start to launch their attack. When its your turn, you will have several options, to attack, defend, or using your skill. Or, you can activate the auto-attack option, so the computer will be choosing the options instead of you.
Every time your adventurers runs out of HP, instead of dying, they will just sort of ‘running away’ from you and just leave out the loot for you. When all the adventurers have run away from you, you will collect the loots and will be going back to the tavern. Thus, in the tavern you will upgrade it with all the loots you have.
There are several currencies that's used inside the game. The first currency is the gold. Gold will be used to purchase almost everything inside the game (even removing the ads). That's including hiring adventurers, upgrading the tavern facilities, buying new sodas to increase reputation, buying equipments, and even buying VIP items.
The second currencies is called 'the essence'. This essence will be used to power up the relics that will be gained once we've reached the end of the dungeon. The relics will be powering up the adventurers, working like a stat boost.
Soda Dungeon - Things I Like
The first thing and I think the most important thing to love from Soda Dungeon, is their method to monetize the game. Despite being a free-to-play game, Soda Dungeon isn't using energy system to play it. You can play it the way you want, as long as you'd like, even if you want to play non-stop, Soda Dungeon allows you to do it.
I also love the rogue-like system of Soda Dungeon. Usually, when you play a rogue-like game, once you've died, some games don't just allow you to move forward easily. In Soda Dungeon, every time you're coming back from looting, you're really coming back stronger than before. In this way, you can keep progressing the game.
Visually speaking, Soda Dungeon is using pixelated graphics to render the game. Using vintage theme, the core inside isn't nowhere near vintage. All the equipments that are equipped will be reflected to your eyes. So all the fancy equipments you have can be bragged out.
There are a lot of equipments scattered inside the dungeon, and what makes it more exciting is that there is rarity status in every items I find, with rare as the best items that you can find. This rarity status adds probably without I'm noticing, has made me plays hour and hour inside the dungeon. Something that's really uncommon within a free-to-play genre.
Like I've said just now, the monetization in Soda Dungeon felt like the game is being too kind for the players. This theory is even more proven from their premium shops called V.I.P shop. Inside this shop, there are some items with unreachable price that's more like additional cosmetic and not affecting the game directly.
You can buy these items with real money. However, you can actually work extra time to be able to actually buy these items with the game currencies. Armor Games and Afro Ninja Production really have my respect with how they treat players not like a mine of gold. I don't have any grudge supporting developers with that kind of attitude.
We've reached the conclusion section. However, under this section I'll be sharing some of my strategies to get to another dimensions. On the other hand, for you guys that haven't downloaded this game yet, I truly recommend this light, simple, yet full of features rogue-like RPG game. Soda Dungeon might not be a front runner in innovation, but they certainly make this genre a better genre.
Tips and Tricks
Just like what I've promised you guys, I'll be sharing some of the tips I've found that you could use or refer to make a better team. With a better team, you will be able to play more efficiently and get to a another dimension faster. If you have more tips, please do drop me some mail without a doubt.
What's the Portal purposes?
The portal in Soda Dungeon will be used later after you've finished the 100th dungeon. You will then be warped into another dimension where you now will have to finish 100 first dungeon plus another 100 dungeons. The more dimensions you have, the more dungeons you will have to finish. But, your adventurers will also become stronger with the use of relics.
About moving to other dimension
When you finish 100 dungeons, you will be moving into another dimension. When you decide to, you need to know that all your equipments, soda upgrades, and gold will all be vanished. Only tavern and V.I.P upgrades that don't vanish. So before you move, you might want to check if you have already spent your gold to these two shops. If not, you might want to stay a little bit more to obtain some gold and purchase upgrades.
Which one to invest first?
Tavern? Sodas? V.I.P? Whichever you think is right, you should spend your gold first hand on your team first. Pick the best adventurers first, then you could purchase upgrades from other shops. There are several factors that you need to think of before finally decide which one to upgrade first.
The first one that needed to upgrade is the tables and the stools. You need to at least buy this upgrade three times each with tables have more priority than stools. Full team is producing way more power than just one powerful person.
Then you can start buying the sodas from the shop. Remember, you can't attract adventurers with just buying a soda he/she loves. You also need to increase your reputation to make them wanna come to your place.
Setup teams first before everything else
Team in Soda Dungeon is way more crucial than any other upgrades. So if you want to upgrade something, make sure that you have constructed your teams, at least 3 adventurers (I'll explain why in a few minutes). I've put down list of price of the adventurers without the discount you'll get from the casks upgrade.
- Soda Junkie: 0
- Ruffian: 25
- Conscript: 50
- Fighter: 150
- Conjurer: 200
- Healer: 250
- Thief: 300
- Knight: 350
- Merchant: 400
- Darkmage: 450
If you want to upgrade, please do so, but left some coins to construct the team.
Use the arena if you're running out of gold
Just like what I've promised, if you have recruited at least 3 adventurers and run out of gold afterwards, I have answer for you. The answer is from the arena. Arena will reward you with some gold that can be used to complete your team. However, it requires a team with 3 adventurers and at least finish dungeon level 20. Once you've met both, you basically can spend all your gold and not have to worry completing your team.
Everybody will obviously have their own team strategy. As for me, my best team would be 2 healers in front of the team, 2 knights, and 1 thief. With this team, I can have healer that heals other healer. Knights that can be shielding healer if they're attacked, and thief that will open all the treasure boxes after defeating boss.
So, if you haven't found your best team from the available adventurers, always choose the adventurers you want, and hit the bed button. It will refresh all the available adventurers and you can complete your best team.
Analyzing how the computer choose the move
I might be wrong on this and the developer might update the way A.I choose the option. Until then, I'll share my experience on analyzing how the A.I choose the move. Auto battle feature is awesome but you got to know the tricks to get the best out of it.
First, ability that comes from gem won't always be used. For example, gem that can be used to replenish mana, will always be ignored by the A.I. So if you want to use this gem, make sure you keep an eye when they do combat.
Second, they always look the enemies number. If multiple enemies (more than two) appear, A.I will be using multiple damage abilities, they don't care even if the ability is just making the enemy attack miss and not dealing any damage, A.I will always choose to use the ability that affect multiple enemies.
Third, Healer's abilities isn't all used by the A.I. This might be updated in the next roll of Soda Dungeon, but as for now, the 'heal all group' ability won't be used by the A.I. The A.I will only use 'heal one target' ability, and it will only be used when the companion HP is colored with red. Otherwise, healer won't heal their companions.
If you're going to use Auto Battle, equipping your adventurers must be done carefully and strategically. If you're thinking to use the auto-equip feature and can take it easy, you're doing it wrong.
The auto-equip feature will only know the best equipments, they do not analyze if this equipment will be suitable for your adventurer. It is you who know the best equipment for your adventurer.
You can also purchase the 'class equip' feature in the VIP shop if you have some extra gold. With unlocking this feature, you can select the equipment that you want for each classes, thus making your process to re-entering the dungeon faster.
Getting some easy gold
If you also have some extra gold, try to purchase banker and upgrading them. They will give you some ROI (read: gold) for free after some time. So if you wanna get some gold, you will want to buy and upgrade this guy.
So that's about it, my review and strategies of this super kind rogue-like game. I hope you will enjoy my review and grabbing your device afterwards to download this very good game.