|Yu-Gi-Oh! - Dungeon Dice Monsters Review by: sonikku
Believe in the Heart of the... Dice?
Yu-Gi-Oh: Dungeon Dice Monsters is a spin-off of the Yu-Gi-Oh trading card game, and had its own introduction plot in the original series of the anime. While it got very little air time (spanning the length of I think three episodes), the idea was apparently popular enough to base a game around it, which brings us here.
The concept of the game is fairly simple: Each turn, you are given three dice to roll out of the dice pool (which you can choose), each with different symbols on each side of the dice. With one exception, whatever symbol lands face up on the dice gets added to a "crest pool" which you use to do certain things with your monsters. The exception is the summon crest, which does not get saved to the crest pool, but you have to roll two or more of (identically) in order to make a summon in a single roll. Summoning creates a path using the dice which is formed depending on how the dice unfolds; you can't create a perfectly straight line using this simply because you wouldn't be able to form a cube when you fold that together, and paths must connect to other paths you have made starting from where you are; you CAN be blocked from summoning period if you allow it to happen. Using these dice, you have to make a path from you to your opponent and lead your monsters along the path to make direct attacks on him. Hit the opponent three times, and you win a match.
This game is actually far more interesting in my opinion than the card game. There really isn't much of a story other than to become the champion of Dice Monsters by fighting your way through a few tournaments, but there are quite a number of different characters in this game, many familiar faces from the anime as well as a number of unknowns that feel like they could have been a part of the show, and the only way to unlock them for single duels is to beat them in tournament play.
When it comes to the audiovisual department... for the time, this game was rather well put together. The music was enjoyable and the graphics were enjoyable for a handheld... but when you get into the battles, it plays out pretty much like the 3D versions of Pokemon, where you see the attack go off, then the camera turns to show the enemy getting hit while no contact is ever made directly. Considering there have been games where they've done that on other systems (see: Duelist of the Roses for PS2), unless there were RAM limitations, they really could have done more with the animations.
When it comes to difficulty... in the early game, things are fairly easy, the field is completely open, and the opponents have somewhat weak monsters. As you go down the line, the fields gain obstacles which you MUST build around (you can't even touch the obstacles with your dice) and the enemies have more and more difficult enemies which you must dispatch (if they can get them off; summoning level 4 monsters isn't an easy task). By the time you get to the end of the game, it presents a pretty big challenge.
The main thing that makes the game long lasting is the dice collection. Much like its card game predecessor, there are a lot of different dice to collect and purchase. There are also a lot of different opponents, a list I haven't even been able to fill out myself yet. The only thing that sucks about it is the fact that you have to fight them in tournament play before you can challenge them to a single duel, and a number of opponents are rather hard to get as opponents unless you get lucky and fight them in the first round. I do like how this game has a mechanism where if you turn off the game in the middle of the duel (whether it be from having to turn off the game, battery death, or not wanting a loss on your record), the opponent you did so against will get mad and call you a cheater the next time you go to fight them, which may possibly be permanent.
This game is addictive for a while, because you'll come back to it again and again to get better and better dice until you have the perfect strategy for beating down your opponents, assuming luck is on your side. However, it starts to lose its charm after a couple months as you find yourself mindlessly doing the same thing over and over again against the same people, especially if you can't seem to get more people to fight you in tournaments.
Overall, I'd give this game an 8.5 out of 10. The game's somewhat decent replay value will keep you coming back for more for a while, but even this game's charm starts to wear down on you after a while, especially if you wind up raging at the massive luck factor this game has.
Graphics 8 Sound 9 Addictive 7 Depth 6 Difficulty 7
Yu-Gi-Oh! - Dungeon Dice Monsters Description: