Developer: Antti Vaihia
Platforms: PS4, Switch, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: Switch
Release Date: 23/12/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
With the increase of rougelike it takes something extra to standout. Here we have Tunnel of Doom, a rougelike with a strategic tower defence element. But is it worth your time, or will it be another game that gets lost in the mines?
Taking on the role of Angel at the turn of the 1900s. The Mayor of your town has announced that the mines are too dangerous to use and will be closed. But wait… Your husband is stuck down there! So, of course, you ventured in and save him.
The story is Paleozoic at best. (Geology joke)
Tunnel of Doom mixes the usual rougelike formula of if you die your start again, with a sprinkling of tower defence. That, for the most part, is OK. It makes the game feel a little disjointed.
As Angel is moving from one room to the next to find the exit. A random selection (feels like most) of rooms will be a battle room, with a note telling you how many enemies you are going to face.
With a simple button press, you can build some items to help you in the fight or to protect anyone still alive. There are different turrets that use different ammo and effects. For instance, fire cannon will damage/set alight enemies and wooden constructs. With the downside that it needs to be built on a magma pit.
You will collect glass, wood and stone, each having different uses. While constructing barriers, wood and stone can be used or we can place glass on the floor for a trap.
Nothing within the tower defence felt fleshed out. It was a sort of build it leave it, style idea. I wanted more interaction with the defence items and maybe some more variety.
We Are Under Attack
When it comes to the fights, then Tunnel Of Doom does nothing amazing. It is fairly standard for an isometric rougelike. Angel can move, dodge, roll and attack (albeit slowly). Her main weapon is the pickaxe that she uses to mine rock and crush the weird dwellers in the mine. Angel can swing the pickaxe once before needing to dodge away from most enemies.
However, she can throw wooden stakes at enemies and glass. If she is lucky enough, a revolver or rifle. With limited ammo for the guns, these are best saved for the harder fights. Why would miners take guns down there? I will never know.
After the defences are set, the cannons work automatically. If you have to defend an injured miner, the enemies ignore Angel and aim for the miner. If you keep him alive, then you are rewarded. These items would give a buff to the player. For instance, making bullets explode on impact.
Are We There Yet?
While the gameplay was OK, the rest of the game was a drag. All the environments felt the same. With its dull gray colour pallet and lifeless rooms. I couldn’t wait to get out of the mine. The enemies seemed to be, for the most part, pallet swapped sprites.
The music is forgettable and adds nothing to the overall experience.
Tunnel Of Doom has a good idea with the tower defence part, but that is what it is an idea. It needed more time for lithification or more time to be fully realised. Everything felt too simple. Everything seems to work and was serviceable, but nothing was better than OK.
It disappointed me, Tunnel Of Doom, loved the idea, but the execution was poor. I would give this one a miss.