A quirky little dungeon crawl with some excellent artwork, Green Skin Dungeon Master is one of those rare titles that swaps the traditional fantasy perspective of Humans vs Orcs and instead places you in the shoes of one of the titular Green Skins.
Developed by SuperPlanet games, who were also responsible for ‘Videogame Guardians’ and ‘Luna: Dragon of Kelpy Mountains’, there’s very little information about this studio to discover online, with most of their links pointing you toward a Discord channel and even the game itself doesn’t seem to feature credits amidst its menu options. This is a shame because there’s a surprising amount of polish behind this indie title that should be celebrated.
Visually, this title uses some gorgeous 2D artwork with a slight visual novel style to give its eclectic cast of characters a stylised look and lays this on some detailed background art. The worldmap is vast and intricate in its interesting areas, characters confirm to traditional RPG villain stereotypes but are likably presented, and dungeons are visually distinct. Menus are presented as clean black boxes with easy to read text, and buttons are always easy to tap with a thumb, which greatly aids the game’s ‘easy to play on the move’ portrait styling. It’s an exceedingly attractive package that doesn’t bend to show off more skin on its female characters and instead represents each in very sensible ways – even with the inclusion of a romance option for some of them.
Sound is, by comparison, very limited. There are a handful of sound effects that you’ll see repeated throughout the game and most of them will have been heard by the time you’ve cleared the first tutorial dungeon. Music also works in short, uninspired loops that serves to undermine the polish of other features of the game’s presentation.
The game starts with the player and his allies in a bind. You’ve survived an attack by Humans on your home long enough to be the highest ranking person still standing, and the rest of your Orc and Goblin kin are looking to you to get them out of a bind. Scraping together your unit, and aided by a fairy who’s caught in the same situation, you need to lead them out of the caves to sunlight if your clan is to have any hope of survival. Dialogue is well written but sparse as the game opens, giving you just enough to get you moving and into the gameplay loop that will hopefully hook you, but it does throw out a few interesting ideas. As the game progresses you’ll meet new characters who, like the fairy, will act as your companions and have their own sub quests and dialogue, leading into romance options later in the game. Occasional spelling and punctuation errors can be found but are rare, and it’s easy to skim over them as you take in information and scattered pieces of back story to progress through the gauntlet of dungeons this game presents.
Gameplay sees you explore dungeons one screen at a time through the first person view, however unlike many dungeon crawls of this kind you do not fight for yourself, instead grabbing a squad of 4 characters from an ever-growing pool of recruits and letting them jump into the fray automatically (or skipping the fights entirely to see the conclusion). It’s a way to keep the game moving quickly and one would imagine that it would rob the experience of its meat, with many RPGs being built around their combat, but here to feels breezy and enjoyable. Characters gain levels inside the dungeon but loose them when they leave, only being able to be levelled permanently through upgrades using gold collected outside of the dungeon, and never exceeding your own level, which increased through exploration of camp sites along the way. Dungeons are endless and randomly generated, but you can jump in at the last checkpoint and every 5-10 floors a boss will appear to drop better loot (regular chests are plentiful but you only have a limited bag to carry them in) and hitting certain floors will unlock new dungeons along your path to explore. Each step inside a dungeon uses up a point of stamina (here shown as meat) and whilst fights add to this supply, as the dungeon floors get bigger you will find yourself having to bow out after a good run to recuperate before carrying on. This gives you the chance to draw more characters from the gattcha mechanic to build a better party (star ranked from 1 to 5) and to equip or level those items you’ve nabbed. It also allows you to ply the ladies you’ve met with gifts, chat to them and set them as partners for additional benefits (such as increasing your bag size). Dungeons also contain traps and shrines, which give random buffs and status effects to make things easier or harder depending on your luck and to keep the game feeling fresh once the grind sets in at your fourth or fifth dungeon.
Overall, this is a tightly crafted but light dungeon crawl that avoids many of the hardcore elements of your RogueLikes and instead embraces the idea that sometimes you just want to explore a dungeon, grab some loot and plough through some enemies for 5 minutes. If the game remains fun in the long term is really up to the individual player, but taking up only 215mb on the average mobile device makes it a very unobtrusive download and for the low price of free, there’s really nothing stopping everyone from trying it out for themselves.