I did it. It’s done. I found the best-named shoot-em-up on on the app store. Gloomy Dungeon 3d: Hardcore is a Doom-esque first-person shooter that is 3D, hardcore, and set in a gloomy dungeon. It’s perfect, really.
Anyone who’s played Doom or Wolfenstein or any of their numerous imitators will be instantly familiar with the premise. You wander round some vaguely sci-fi-looking dungeon shooting soldiers and monsters. There’s a plot behind it all – I think you’re maybe in some kind of army? That would make sense I guess – but really, any story is of secondary importance in a game like this. You shoot the people before they shoot you. You shoot the monsters before they eat you. You open doors by pressing the door opening button. Simple. Gloomy Dungeon’s not doing anything you haven’t seen before, but that’s kind of the point right? That’s the appeal of these retro throwback games – that they remind you of the great things that came before (in this case: Doom).
The controls are pretty good for a touchscreen-based game, I thought. You have two sets of arrows on screen that mimic the two joysticks of a console controller, with a third button that doubles as a trigger and general action button. It doesn’t take long to get used to the set-up, and even on an older phone they’re responsive enough that any bullets you take are down to you, not the controls.
The graphics are intentionally blocky and drab (just like you remember from your youth) and the game exudes that old school pixel-3D feel right down to the midi prog-rock soundtrack. If you played this type of game when you were younger you’ll definitely get a solid hit of nostalgia from Gloomy Dungeon, but even if you didn’t it’s still a fun little game for those of you who like to shoot soldiers and monsters and wander around in corridors. I never really played computer games as a kid but even with my vicarious memories of watching over other people’s shoulders as they shotgunned their way down a hallway of mutants, I’m getting into Gloomy Dungeon. I’m even going to keep playing it after I’ve finished this review, which is higher praise than I give most games.