Publisher: Lunar Giant Studios
Developer: Lunar Giant Studios
System requirements: Windows XP SP2/Vista/Win 7, 2 GHz or faster CPU, DirectX 9, graphics card with Shader Model 2.0 support, 60 MB hard-disk space
Genre: Turn-based strategy
Release date: Available now
I have always liked turn-based strategy games. The sit back-think-plan element that goes with the genre, to me, is gaming greatness. Problem is, sometimes publishers and developers don’t always get that right, but when they do, a great product can be born. Delve Deeper from Lunar Giant Studios is a new turn-based strategy title for the PC that goes into a special class of games close to my heart.
You’re in command of a team of five dwarves. Your king asks you to brave abandoned mines to get precious minerals and amazing treasure. But you aren’t alone. There are other teams of dwarves looking to do the same thing. On top of that, there are monsters that live in the mines and want nothing but to stop you in your quest for wealth.
The object of Delve Deeper is to have the most points at the end of a set number of rounds. To get these points you must grab minerals or treasure and bring it back to your starting location. At the beginning of the each game, you choose your team of five dwarves and a starting location. There are three types of dwarves that can be selected. The miner can hold the most minerals and has balanced movement and attack. The fighter has the best attack with worst movement, and holds fewer items than the miner. The scout has the greatest movement, the worst attack, and the least amount of inventory space. The game board is broken into tiles, and within these tiles are different layers. Dirt is the first layer, stone is the second, and deep is the last. The farther you get into the layers, the more precious minerals, rare treasure and special areas there are. Of course, the monsters get tougher as well. At the start of each round, you choose a tile. Tunnels connect to other tile areas already placed at the beginning of the game. The next part of the round is to move your team through the network of tiles. Each dwarf is given a command to mine minerals, pick up treasure, or fight monsters or opposing teams. Once you collect the minerals, you must head back to your starting location, where your items are converted into points. After all the players have taken their turns, the monsters make their moves. This is where battles break out with monsters, unless you choose to directly attack them on your turn. Along with its single-player mode, Delve Deeper also offers multiplayer action with friends, but not online. An Xbox 360 controller can be used instead of the keyboard and mouse. And for the creative minds, the game comes packed with a map editor.
When I first started playing this game, I didn’t get it at all. Then, in my third try, a sense of gaming greatness came over me. The strategic gameplay has obvious roots in tabletop gaming. Delve Deeper takes what great tabletop strategy games are known for and puts it into a simple yet detailed, entertaining game. The idea of creating your own board that evolves into a vast network of tiles really is unique. The various treasures and different monster types create great replayability. Adding the customization of your team, game options and strategies makes Delve Deeper a fantastic game. You can play a team of all fighters and kill monsters for their treasure, or just make a team of scouts and quickly maneuver around the map. My favorite strategy is to place a tile near the other teams so that a monster can find its way to them.
There are only two things I dislike about the game. The first is no online play. In the future, Lunar Giant Studios is looking to move to other platforms and hopefully will take advantage of the online communities they offer (including leaderboards and win/loss statistics), but at the moment there is no support for Internet play. The second is the map editor. I dabbled with it, and it’s very complex, which is only a problem for a gamer who doesn’t want to spend countless hours perfecting a useable and entertaining map, like me.
Delve Deeper is a fantastic turn-based strategy title that includes great gameplay and unique strategies. The very low price tag of $5 is less than most lunches, and a demo is available. The game offers countless hours of entertainment with or without a friend. The only thing that really takes away from it is the lack of online play. I recommend Delve Deeper for first-time turn-based strategy players as well as strategy veterans looking for a challenge. This game is loads of fun.