Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition Review: Switching Things Up
If you follow my writing, it’s probably not a surprise that I’m a big fan of the Guild of Dungeoneering. It was literally one of the first games that resonated with me when I started gaming on Steam, and I’ve played every update and new version of it. So when I randomly heard on Twitter that it was coming to Switch, I nearly fell over in surprise. While the Guild of Dungeoneering has been around since 2015, it’s always been solely on PC. And it’s a not so well hidden factoid that I prefer all my games on Switch, if I can get them there. So, how did I like the game on my favorite oversized portable? Keep reading this Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition Review to find out!
Now, since this is a game I’ve covered more than once, I will gloss over the important bits in the name of brevity. If you want a nuanced look at the key game mechanics, just check out my PC review of Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition. The main focus of this particular review, by contrast, will be discussing how well the game works on Nintendo Switch.
Old Is New Again
While you can (and should) play the PC version of the game with just a mouse, I was understandably anxious about how the controls would work on Nintendo Switch. Especially when playing the game portably, as I’m wont to do. It turns out, I had nothing to be concerned about. Gambrinous spent a lot of effort making sure that the game was intuitive and easy to pick up and play on Switch. You can switch between your cards and the map with the L button, and pressing A is how you select things.
To see your list of loot obtained, just press ZL. Whereas ZR shows your currently acquired Favour and what you can do with it. R displays stats for your current Dungeoneer and what they have equipped. Pressing + brings up the pause menu, and holding X ends your turn, assuming you can’t play all the cards in your hand (or simply don’t want to). I know that all sounds complex, but it’s all very clear thanks to an upgraded UI that was made perfectly to accommodate the Nintendo Switch.
It’s even easier to maneuver around the Guild HUB area, since all you do is press L to switch between options. Maybe not as intuitive as clicking with a mouse, but it works very well. What’s perhaps most important is that combat is equally understandable and clear-cut. Just pay attention to what’s on-screen, and you can prepare your strategies with care.
While it’s true some ports to Nintendo Switch are plagued with glitches and slowdown, I have yet to encounter that after spending several hours with Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition on Switch. In fact, there are little to no unnecessary load times, which is really refreshing. What’s even better, and which truly surprised me, is the quality of the sound while playing portably. Many Switch games are muted and hard to hear properly unless you turn the volume all the way up. Not so here. You can play with the volume only up a few notches, and clearly hear the sardonic bard mocking your tragedies and lamenting your successes in song.
Visually, the game is unchanged from the PC version, but thankfully that’s not a bad thing. It looks like a sketchbook, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. There are no muddiness or texture issues I encountered. And while I just talked about the quality of the audio, it’s worth repeating how big of a deal that is, and how few developers get that transition right for this system.
So Close To Perfect…
I’ve enjoyed spending time talking about all the things this version of Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition does right. But now I have to talk about the one glaring oversight that kept the Switch version of the game from being the definitive one, as I’d hoped. And it’s odd to say this since it’s usually not an area I fret over. That area is the lack of achievements in the game. Now, to be fair, most Switch ports do not incorporate Steam achievements. I’m sure that’s a lot of work, especially with the lack of built-in infrastructure on the console. But here’s my problem – without those achievements, Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition just lacks that special sauce.
Yes, this version does everything else right. But if it had brought over the Steam achievements, even knowing that would mean a lot more work, I truly feel this would be the definitive edition of an already fantastic game. Simply because without them, there’s no compelling reason to play the game after beating it once. You’ll miss out on silly achievements like surprising Embro during bath time or making a map with 50 different cards. You’ll also lose out on achievements that require you to equip particular items during a run. Honestly, there are more achievements than I can mention here since the PC version of the game has 60+ to try for. And in a game as silly and random as this, any reason to keep on playing is a good one.
Show Those Dungeoneers Who’s Boss
While I’m a little disappointed that the Switch version of Guild of Dungeoneering Ultimate Edition falls short of its potential, it still offers a ton of fun for fans of challenging deck-based mayhem. Especially if you want to try your luck with Hardcore Mode. But if you enjoy funny and diverse adventures that you can play from the comfort of your couch (or comfiest chair), you absolutely still need to buy this on Nintendo Switch.
Final Verdict: 4/5
Available on: Nintendo Switch (reviewed), PC; Publisher: Gambrinous; Developer: Gambrinous; Players: 1; Released: May 19, 2022; ESRB: E for Everyone – Mild Language; MSRP: $19.99
Editor’s note: The publisher provided a review copy to Hey Poor Player.