As with Gameloft’s other Vita Launch title (Asphalt Injection), Dungeon Hunter Alliance has been around for a while. It started out as an iOS game which was then ported over to PSN for PS3 about a year ago. The PSN version was a decent hack in slash in the vein of the Diablo and Torchlite series that sold quite well. Now the question you have to ask is, is there anything new here, or is it the same ol’ hack ‘n slash?

Set in the fantasy world of Gothicus and awakening from the dead, you find yourself with little memory of what happened. Your last memory was a fight with your beloved (the queen) who was acting very much out of character. As your quest progresses you realize that she was the one who killed you. It would appear that she has been cursed with evil and while you were pushing up daisies became a tyrant whose primary goal is to terrorize and take over your kingdom with hordes of creatures and demons. Your goal is to defeat the demonic forces that have taken over and restore peace and prosperity to your kingdom.

You can choose to take on your quest solo, or team up with up to four online heroes to challenge the main quest collecting treasure and special items along the way. No matter your choice of companions, Dungeon Hunter Alliance is pretty much your typical Dungeon crawler RPG hack ‘n slash featuring a Warrior, Rogue and Mage. Each class has their own special abilities and attributes that can gain an edge in certain situations. There are only four elements to your character which are the typical Strength, Dexterity, Endurance and Energy. Once you select your character type, you give it a name and away you go. That’s it. No D&D like distribution of manna or points to build each element prior to beginning your quest. Instead each character class decides how those elements are initially set. As the game progresses though, this becomes a little less important as you can build each elements independently as you level up.

Once your character has been created, you begin your quest awakening in a Dungeon with your Fairy friend by your side. This level pretty much works as a training guide teaching you how to locate treasure, fight the baddies and work through the myriad of simple puzzles in order to escape. After escaping the first dungeon you find yourself in the nearby town of Gothicus where you can delve further into your main quest. While talking to the townsfolk, you pick up bits of information as to what has occurred during your decade long dirt nap. The side quests usually involve finding a lost item, or discovering a new area, but really mean nothing to the main quest other than assisting with level building and gold collecting.

As you stroll through each environment, you will see piles of rubble, coffins and treasure chests that you can kick open to reveal treasures or items. Your fairy friend can help you zone in on treasure buried beneath the floor as well by a metal dector like power. One thing to note is the importance of healing potions. If you see a statue on the map, buy as many as you can since this normally means a boss is nearby and you will need all the help you can get. Keep in mind you can only hold 10 potions at any given time.

While on your main quest, you will encounter “Allies” from the past that will assist in your quest and help provide insight into the backstory. They honestly don’t add much the actual gameplay since they tend to sit in the same spot shooting randomly although they do draw some fire leaving you with a little less to deal with.

There are 12 acts to play through and from what I can tell, you cannot build your character past level 75.

Multiplayer is one area that works well if you can find enough players of different classes to make a full team. Online play seemed pretty smooth other than some slowdowns and frame drops when you get into heavy action areas. Like most other multiplayer crawlers, each player is locked into the same play area, so in order to proceed, each player has to move forward together. This can be a bit of a challenge at times, but not a deal breaker. A tip to the wise, it’s always best to have at least one of each class on your quests. One thing I realized is that even though this is pretty much the exact same game as it’s PS3 counterpart, you cannot cross play with a friend who is on the PS3 version. This should have been a selling point that Gameloft dropped the ball on since that is one of the most interesting features of the Vita.

All in all, take Diablo, add some multi-player and dash of Gauntlet like button bashing and you have Dungeon Hunter.

Controlling your hunter
Hit, fire, heal and repeat. That seems to be the repetitive combination to get through each level. Other than bashing buttons, you need to know your menus in order to equip yourself properly and earn enough money through treasure and selling items you find in order to upgrade and purchase healing potions.

There were only four unique vita only changes to the control mech that sets it slightly apart from the PSN version. To be honest though, they don’t add to the game at all and in some cases are a bit anoying. It’s as if they were added simply because they could. The first is that you can control your fairy using the back touch pad or right stick to hunt and locate buried treasure. The second is that you can zoom in or out using the pinch we are all used to by now when it comes to touch screen devices. I did note that it really doesn’t zoom all that much, so you probably will never use it. Third you can the double tap on the front screen to use your fairy power and last but not least, you can shake your vita to counter enemy spell attacks.

Identical Siblings
I found the graphics to be crisp and colourful, but I would not say that they are anything to brag about. Although not up to par with other Vita launch titles, they neither add or detract much to the final gameplay. If you take into consideration that it was not made to take advantage of the true horse-power of the Vita, and in in all honesty pretty much identical to its older siblings, you can let some of this slide, but I did find there to slowdowns and frame drops whenever there was a lot of simultaneous action on the screen. This came as a bit of a surprise since the PSN version did not seem to suffer this affliction.

The music in the game sets the mood quite well, and I have to admit the sound effects are just as good. When you play this title, make sure you use headphones in order to get the full effect. If you have ever attended an Ozzy concert, and felt that operatic, gothic opening before he hits the stage, you have a good idea of what to expect with the music.

The one thing lacking on the original PSN version that carries over to the Vita port is the lack of audio dialogue. Other than the opening sequence, and some of the comments from the townsfolk, all dialogue is written and not represented by voice actors. On a downloadable title this can be forgiven, but for a $40 retail boxed game, it would have been a nice touch.

If you already own Dungeon Hunter for your PS3, then I would stay away from this one. Aside from some minimal takes on control which do nothing to improve the gameplay, this is exactly the same game. On the other hand, if you don’t own it for your PS3 and are into games like Diablo and Torchlite, you might want to give it a shot as it is a decent game. Just keep in mind that it’s $40 for the Vita version while it’s only $12.99 on PS3 for the same game with the only advantage being mobility.

Hack and slash my pocket book, why don’t you Gameloft. If anything they should have either made the original compatible with remote play, or available as a download only title for $10. Better yet, take a note from Motorstorm RC or Hustle Kings and make it available for free to anyone who previously purchased it on the PS3 or vice versa. After all, it IS the exact same game.

  • If you are a fan of this genre. You should enjoy this game.
  • Lots of playability with plenty of areas to uncover. Expect the single player main quest to take about 8 hours to complete.
  • Multiplayer actually works well making things a little more interesting.
  • If you are hack and slash fan, and can’t wait for the next Diablo (or the recently announced RUIN), it might be worth your while
  • There is nothing new here. It’s the same game that appeared on the PS3 and iOS.
  • When things get hectic on the screen, there is noticeable slowdown and frame drops.
  • Some objects are tiny and hard to distinguish from other surroundings.
  • $39.99 for a game I already paid $12.99 last year for does not leave me feeling all warm and fuzzy.
  • Monotonous hit, fire, magic heal repeat is the norm.
  • No cross platform play with it’s PS3 counterpart
Quote: "If you already own Dungeon Hunter for your PS3, then I would stay away from this one. Aside from some minimal takes on control which do nothing to improve the gameplay, this is exactly the same game."
Reviewed by Jim Holiko | 03.22.12


Dungeon Hunter




US Release
February '12


PS Vita

Players 1
Online MP