Filthy habit

Mobile gaming – and we’re talking the ‘phone’ kind here – generally is not a pretty thing. It’s cramped, often needlessly complicated, patronisingly glitzy and yet somehow badly designed–from the basic gameplay mechanics right up to the infernal controls. Still, I’m compelled to keep chipping away at the edifice, hoping to recover one or two gems every so often. And this month, I have…

It’s called Dweller, a mobile remake of classic ASCII dungeon crawler Rogue. Input is simple; you navigate using the keypad like a compass, moving one tile at a time. Attacking is equally simple; you just press in the direction of whichever enemy you want to attack in an adjacent square. You can also use ranged attacks too, such as spells and arrows, and cycle targets before firing. All not more complicated than it needs to be.

But what makes Dweller just about the perfect mobile game is that it’s turn-based. The game always remembers your last move, so you can open it up and play for a few moments and successfully pick up exactly where you left off. You can also manually save your progress too, so if you’re making particularly good progress through a tough level, you have somewhere to fallback to should you die.

The graphical update is also charming–if a little small. The sprites are recognisable and only as detailed as they need to be. The illumination of the immediate area around your character is also nicely done, with nothing but blackness in front of you and ‘fog of war’ behind, so it’s really easy to see where you’ve been already and not mistakenly backtrack through previously cleared areas.

In short, Dweller is a superbly-crafted mobile game; it’s succinct in its design and execution, isn’t laborious to play and doesn’t demand a fixed amount of time per session. Give it a try.

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