Exceptional games like Dungeon Hunter don't come along often. Publisher Gameloft has put out other clones of popular PC and console games in the form of Gangstar: West Coast Hustle and Modern Combat: Sandstorm, but those don't always hold up compared to the original games that inspired them. This is not the case with Dungeon Hunter, which follows the example of the classic action role-playing game Diablo, and is a superb game in its own right.
Dungeon Hunter's story is generic, but, like the dialogue that's used to tell it, it gets the job done. You play as the recently-revived prince of Gothicus, who must team up with elemental fairies as he fights his way through his once-happy kingdom to defeat his corrupted queen. Along the way, many of her cohorts do their best to send you back to the catacombs, and it'll take a good nine hours or so for you to get through the main story if you also taken on some of the optional side-quests.
At its core, Dungeon Hunter is a hack-and-slash dungeon crawler in the vein of Diablo. Each area is chock-full of aggressive enemies to smack with your weapon of choice. Other than a normal attack, you can use various special abilities and the power of your equipped fairy. Each fairy has different strengths. Some attack foes in a wide area, while others may slow or weaken them.
Graphically, Dungeon Hunter has a lot going on. Character models and animations are impressive, made more so by the fact that the game runs at a healthy frame rate with hardly any drops. Unfortunately, the game has a minor issue with walls and other objects that occasionally obstruct your view and your ability to clearly see and target your enemies, but it's not a big deal. More importantly, the controls work well, and also you can customize them to your liking with different button configurations and D-pad or analog stick setups.
Your hero can be one of three different classes: warrior, rogue, or mage. Each class actually plays differently. Mages cast spells from a distance but take more damage when hit, while warriors focus on brute strength. Rogues are more agile and usually use two weapons. Fortunately, the game offers multiple save files, so you can always try out a new class if you tire of your current choice.
The class you choose ties into Dungeon Hunter's deep upgrade system, which lets you spend attribute points and unlock abilities in a talent tree. Every time you level up, you are awarded two points to put into your general abilities, plus one talent point. Different classes get more benefits out of different attributes, and spreading points between active and passive talents is the key to success. In fact, one of Dungeon Hunter's strongest points is its balanced gameplay. The game isn't too difficult to finish, and because you level at a constant pace it never feels like a grind.
You can buy weapons, armor, and potions from merchants in various hub areas, but the more valuable items are usually dropped by monsters in dungeons. These come in multiple color-coded classes, depending on how many bonus attributes the item has. There are also story-based items, including your crown and a few other valuables. If your bag is full, you have two choices: transmute an item on the spot for less gold than it's worth, or head out of the area and meet up with the local merchant. Fortunately, you can use the game's main map to move quickly from area to area.
Dungeon Hunter is head and shoulders above the RPG competition. With this much quality and quantity of gameplay, this game more than justifies its asking price.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.