ASDAD: All-Stars Dungeons and Diamonds Review

DISCLAIMER: You can find the original review written (by me) in Greek, on IGN Greece.

Note: This is NOT a direct translation of the original IGN article, but rather a more free translation of my words in Greek with a little bit of flavor added for my blog.


ASDAD: All-Stars Dungeons and Diamonds managed to get me excited so much that made me think that I might have nostalgia issues. There are not that many developers out there that would take the risk of releasing a small title that reminds you of the old arcade classics. ASDAD does that very well. Let’s see why.

The game doesn’t have any specific plot and most of the emphasis is given to the multiplayer experience it provides through its two game modes. With 4 different starting characters and 2 that you can later unlock, 3 different maps and 10 different power-ups, the game couldn’t be any simpler.

Some would argue that this could be a problem, since in an ever-growing market of indie titles that flood the scene with their unique features and the tons of hours of gameplay offered within, a title like ASDAD would struggle to stand out. I will just have to completely disagree on that though. The market has a special need for small titles like this one and it’s good to see developers who are still dedicated to those good olde retro themes.

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In ASDAD, you have the choice of either playing against the PC or another player. You can choose between two different game modes, Diamond Rush and Race for the Idol. In the first one, players run through a maze collecting diamonds with the goal of having more than their opponent by the end of the time given. Things get hard real fast since both players can open chests and find power-ups that can be used to delay their opponent, make them faster or perform various other shenanigans that twist the game’s situation. Race for the Idol on the other hand is a simple race where both players are trying to reach an idol first to claim victory. Just like in the first game mode, power-ups play a major role in that one as well.

The graphics of the game are the classic pixel art that we are used to seeing in older arcande games such as, Bubble Bobble and Pong, thus giving that sensation of nostalgia even more. From the very moment you enter the main menu and you hear the announcer’s voice yelling the title of the game, you start feeling as if you are holding a small arcade thumbstick in your hands, getting ready to fight your friend. The only thing missing from the whole picture is basically the 50 cent you would have to drop into the machine.

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The music of the game is equally as good but I don’t think it can get any better since it’s exactly the type of sound the game needs.

ASDAD though, despite any good things we say about it, is yet another title that is released through Steam and it is easy for anyone to notice and say that the developer of the game probably was “ok” with what he already had and just decided to release the game before it has more features or more content. After a discussion with the maker of the game though, Elias Zacaris of Giant Enemy Labs, I found out that there wasn’t much time to invest in the development of the game and Elias’s wish was for people to see the game, despite his will to put more things into the game. The decision was thus made so that the game can be shared with the public.

The game is a small and pretty one that I would suggest without any hesitation to anyone that is looking for games that he/she can play with a friend now and then. I do hope that the developer continues to support the title with updates and also maybe add a few more game modes to it.

The game was first seen on itch.io and was later voted through Steam Greenlight for a full release on Steam. You can find the game on Steam for 6.99 euro.


The Blog Fluff:

I loved playing the game with both my housemate and my girlfriend and most of the sessions didn’t last more than 20 minutes. That doesn’t mean that the players weren’t satisfied though. It was just a really nice and relaxing filler in between other games that managed to break the ice of more serious or time consuming games you would play with your fellow gamers. It kind of felt like I was turning on the MAME 32 simulator again but this time with the added bonus of being able to say “hey, check out this cool game an indie dev made and I decided to cover for IGN.” I love it when people pay extra attention to the games I show them, especially when I showcase those games as a form of art, rather than just as another “video game.”


The Verdict

The game manages to bring the entertainment we’ve been waiting to see from a title at that price but it could surely have a lot more to it. First and foremost would be the addition of more game modes.

Rating : 7.3 / 10

-Konstantinos “Kelfecil” Christakis

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