A Long Way Down Test and Game Review of the Dungeon Crawler, Round Strategy, Card Game Mix
A Long Way Down is a mix of a dungeon crawler and a deck-building card game, with a little board game and roguelike elements and a lot of turn-based strategies. If this sounds interesting to you, then you’ve come to the right place. If you didn’t understand the meaning of the terms, I will explain them in more detail in a moment.
This post is available here as a text and also as a YouTube video (German voiceover, with subtitles in many languages), so you can choose how you want to enjoy it.
A Long Way Down Review Video
German voiceover with subtitles in many languages)
A Long Way Down Game Review / Test – Introduction
Hi there, I’m the Zap. I introduce you to A Long Way Down and show you what it’s all about, how it’s played and give you all the information you need to decide if this game is for you or not. In the end, there is also a rating, but with all information from this post, you can form your own opinion.
- A Long Way Down Test and Game Review of the Dungeon Crawler, Round Strategy, Card Game Mix
- A Long Way Down Review Video
- A Long Way Down Game Review / Test – Introduction
- A Long Way Down – Developer and Story
- A Long Way Down – Early Access and Release
- Game type – What kind of game is A Long Way Down?
- A Long Way Down Game – Technics, graphics, sound
- A Long Way Down – Purchase recommendation
- A Long Way Down Game Review – Gameplay: Dungeons
- Gameplay: Character, equipment, and game cards
- A Long Way Down Gameplay: Upgrades and Crafting
- A Long Way Down Game Test – Gameplay: Companions
- A Long Way Down Game Review – State of the Game
- A Long Way Down Test – Opinion and Conclusion
- A Long Way Down Game Test – Rating
- Links and sources
A Long Way Down – Developer and Story
A Long Way Down is a new game from a small French indie team called Seenapsis Studio. It is published by Goblinz Studios, which is also a rather small company. So we are dealing with a 100% indie game. But that doesn’t mean that it might not be a good game.
In A Long Way Down we play Sam, a sorcerer who recently died mysteriously. But his soul is now trapped in limbo in a secondary sphere. He is guided by a medium who is currently preparing his corpse and who can talk to spirits like us now.
Apparently, this limbo is a labyrinth and our friend gets us some weapons, in the form of playing cards. With these, we might be able to defeat the monsters in the labyrinth, but then an ominous dungeon master shows up, complaining that his cards have been stolen, and he promises that we won’t escape so quickly.
A Long Way Down – Early Access and Release
The game will go into early access on Steam on January 16, 2020.
The price is still to be announced, but I estimate it will not be more than 20 €. (Edit:) The price at Steam is 14,99 € or 17.99 $. A version for Nintendo Switch is also planned. Whether there will be versions for Playstation 4 and Xbox One is unknown.
It is also unknown how long the early access phase will last. Early Access, of course, means that the game is not 100% finished yet. To get an idea, I think it’s all about balance in this game because the bug side looks very positive now, but more about that later.
But this also allows players who join now to influence further development with feedback to the developers and contribute their opinion if desired.
Game type – What kind of game is A Long Way Down?
A Long Way Down mixes many different genres together. For one thing, there are randomly generated dungeons that we have to fight our way through. They consist of platforms floating in limbo. But these have a lot of gaps in the paths.
This is where a board game component comes into play. Each turn we can choose from a selection of dungeon components to fill in these gaps or open up new ones so that any monsters that might be chasing us are no longer able to. There are also many special cards, more about that later.
As we travel forward through the dungeon-like this, we encounter numerous monsters that we can defeat in turn-based tactical battles. For this, we have different spells and skills at our disposal, which we get by playing cards but also by equipment.
And our goal is to reach the lowest dungeon, where the dark dungeon master is waiting for us. We have to find him and defeat him to free our trapped soul.
A Long Way Down Game – Technics, graphics, sound
A Long Way Down was created with the Unity Engine. This is already a stable base, which also has a positive effect on the game. Because in the whole test time the game didn’t even crash for me. Nothing jerked or seemed technically unfinished in any other way. A few German texts were too long for their text fields.
Speaking of German texts, the game has been translated into numerous languages. And at least the German text translation is extremely strong, correct, and almost complete. Rarely have I seen a non-AAA game from abroad that had such a good translation.
Voiceover is not available in A Long Way Down, at least not yet. All story conversations are shown in dialogue scenes, whereby the text is at the bottom of the screen and you have to press a button when you’ve finished reading. But I think it’s possible that there might be some voice output during the early access phase. I would welcome it.
The music tracks of the game are created with high-quality samples and don’t remind you of elevator music in a negative way. However, I noticed that the composer used copy&paste very much and therefore few pieces sound very repetitive. And there are also not very many of them yet. Here the game could use some improvement.
A Long Way Down – Purchase recommendation
A Long Way Down Game Review – Gameplay: Dungeons
The game is divided into levels or maps, as you might call them now. These maps give you certain tasks, such as “Reach the portal at the end” or “Defeat the terrible evil boss in the middle”.
There are also often side missions for which you get extra rewards when you reach the quest goal, but if they fail, it doesn’t matter. By the way, these cards are procedurally generated, or more simply, randomly generated according to certain specifications. So every replay of a map is always slightly different.
The process in the dungeon is divided into turns. Each turn, we can go a few fields far, choose from a selection of dungeon parts and rebuild the dungeon, close gaps, block monster paths by removing or twisting parts, and some other specials. How many parts and moves we can make is shown in the bottom right corner. And also the movement range is marked on the dungeon floor.
If we have exhausted our options or press the “End Round” button, it’s the monsters’ and the dungeon master’s turn. The monsters try to bite us in the ass if they can get to us. And the Dungeonmaster takes parts from our dungeon parts supply and places them somewhere in the dungeon. There are often situations where the Dungeonmaster’s moves annoy us. He likes to rotate parts in our path so that we can’t get through, build new ways for the monsters to hunt us, or destroy parts of the path that we’ve just built.
In the maps, there are many different monsters, as well as a selection of special fields like teleporters, shrines with special functions, or a portal where we can leave the level without losing our equipment. Because if we die on a map, we lose all the loot we have found so far.
While one is on the way to the map, one can look into the inventory. But you are not allowed to change this prepared setup in the map, except at a certain shrine, which is often very well hidden. When you have completed a map, you will come to a small space where you can adjust your equipment and maps, upgrade them or craft new ones.
Gameplay: Character, equipment, and game cards
Now, this small space in the limbus is optically quite tiny, but it offers the actual tactical decisions. Because here we can exchange our equipment and adapt our deck of cards to our wishes.
Our avatar has no character class. Whether he is more durable, trimmed for damage, or tactically balanced, we determine with his equipment, which we put into his 5 equipment slots. This changes his six basic values health, power, defense, crit chance, crit strength, and movement. In addition, most of the items have spells built-in, which we can use in battles just like the game cards.
Speaking of playing cards, after a few hours of playing time I have already been able to collect 25 different playing cards, but of course, not all of them fit into the deck.
Because besides the 4 possible spells from the armor and the standard attack of our weapon, we only have room for 15 spell cards. So here we have to fiddle around a lot to decide which skills and spells we want to take with us. And of course, this strongly influences how our character will perform in battle.
And because this is not yet complex enough, we can also improve the equipment and the cards:
A Long Way Down Gameplay: Upgrades and Crafting
In the limbo restroom, we have access to the upgrade and crafting interface.
Game cards as well as equipment that we don’t need or have very often can be disassembled, and we get dust for it. With this dust, we can then upgrade cards or make copies of existing cards and items.
And in some quests, we get recipes as a reward. These blueprints will give us the opportunity to merge several cards into a better card, or to create equipment that cannot be found in the wild.
A Long Way Down Game Test – Gameplay: Companions
In the fights, we can face up to three opponents at the same time. In order to survive this a little bit better in the later course of the game, there are some companions we can find.
So far I have met the Roman-Gallic warrior Marcus and the somewhat vain magician Nefi here. At the moment these two are probably the only companions. Whether there will be more Companions later, I do not know yet. But an expansion would certainly not be that complicated.
We can also equip these companions with our own gear. But this does not extend the deck of cards. Only the number of actions in a combat round is increased. And then they have slightly different basic capabilities. So Marcus can hit harder with standard attacks while Nefi gets a bonus with many spells.
Another game from Goblinz Studios is Legend of Keepers, there is also a review here
A Long Way Down Game Review – State of the Game
A Long Way Down took me by surprise. Because for a title that just went into early access, you will find almost no bugs here. I didn’t encounter any crashes and also placeholders or missing texts were extremely rare. Here the game can already show a strong side.
Work is still needed, especially on balancing. The campaign starts with a gentle tutorial. Even after that in the second world, this continues with a demanding but fair level of difficulty. The third level of the second world, however, has proven to be a blocker for me.
Even after 5 attempts, I did not manage to get even close to the end of the level. The developers have already received feedback from me. I hope that they might be able to improve a few things until the release.
A Long Way Down Test – Opinion and Conclusion
I’m not really a card player. Games like Hearthstone, Gwent, or similar have not yet been able to fascinate me so much.
But the mix of a card game, dungeon crawler RPG, and board game in A Long Way Down immediately sucked me in and I had a lot of fun.
The tactical depth of the levels, as well as the tuning of equipment and the deck of cards, have already impressed me very much. So I was even more frustrated that I couldn’t continue playing because the sixth level didn’t offer me a way to finish it yet. But I expect that this will be fixed quickly.
But this also makes it impossible for me to evaluate the scope of the game correctly at the moment because I couldn’t reach the end. I have seen screens of at least 5 different graphic sets for dungeon components. Each world has three levels per graphics set, so I assume that the game has a minimum of 15 levels as the lowest of all. A level lasts between 20 and 60 minutes, with a tendency to increase. So I estimate that the game will take more than 10 hours. But I can’t make a reliable statement about that yet.
The sound of the game is the weaker side besides the already criticized balancing. Both areas still need urgent attention from the developers if you want to make a real indie hit out of it.
Apart from that, A Long Way down is already a well playable game. And with some polish and tuning it can become a real pearl.
A Long Way Down Game Test – Rating
Since unfortunately no price is known yet and I have to finish this review, because otherwise, it will have to wait another week, I now just estimate that the game will cost less than 20 €. Because on the one hand the publisher Goblinz Studio has so far placed all its games between 10 and 18 € and since the game is going into early access, they won’t charge an extreme price for it. I am quite sure of that. I now assume a price of 15 € for my rating, if the actual price is higher or lower, this will change the rating by a few percents up or down, but not dramatically. Only if it should be above 20 €, then this would bring a massive point deduction.
Edit: Meanwhile, the price was announced. A Long Way Down will be available at Steam for 14,99 € or 17.99$. It seems my assumption was not that bad ;).
Under these conditions, I would like to give the game in its current form an 85% basic rating. It would need a lot of levels and therefore massive playing time, possibly more different game variants, and above all a voice output to push this rating further up.
I deduct 5% for deficiencies in balancing. I am sure that these will be corrected soon. Just follow the Patch Notes on Steam. You can also ask me in the comments about how things have developed. I’ll gladly check for you later on how it actually has developed.
As a result, this gives a very good 80% score for A Long Way Down. I can recommend it to every strategy and round strategy friend. Even roleplayers who like to clear out a dungeon and don’t mind a little bit of intellectual challenge will find fun here.
A Long Way Down
A Long Way Down is a mix of a dungeon crawler and a deck-building card game, with a little board game and roguelike elements and a lot of turn-based strategies.
I would be happy if you write me your opinion about the game and maybe we can discuss together what is good or bad about the game. Feel free to check out my YouTube channel for more reviews and game news. You can also press the subscribe button and thumbs there. Then I wish you a great day, have a good time, ciao ciao, your Zap
More reviews and tests of strategy and roleplaying games you can always find here at ZapZockt.de/en/
Another game from Goblinz Studios is Legend of Keepers, there is also a review here
Links and sources
A Long Way Down – Purchase recommendation:
At my partner site Gamesplanet you get the game cheaper with a discount:
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Reading – recommendations:
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Shopping – Tip:
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