REVIEW: Guild of Dungeoneering – Ice Cream Headaches

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016

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Title Guild of Dungeoneering – Ice Cream Headaches
Developer Gambrinous
Publisher Versus Evil
Release Date 10/26/2016
Genre Roguelike, Dungeon Crawler
Platform PC
Age Rating N/A
Official Website

It’s been a while since I last visited the jubilant world of Guild of Dungeoneering. I rather enjoyed my first foray into Gambrinous’ strange little world, and all I needed was that little push to give me an excuse to dive back in. Luckily, they gave me just that with their latest DLC, called Ice Cream Headaches. There’s a lot to enjoy in this new iteration, including a frigid new region, 24 new items, 30 new enemies and 21 new quests. But the question is; was this DLC worth the $4.99 price of admission, or should I have waited to return to my Dungeoneering ways?

First off, since this review only covers the DLC, I won’t go in┬ádepth on the basic mechanics of the game. All you have to do is to read my first review to see that covered in detail. Rather, this review will focus on what’s new in the Ice Cream Headaches DLC and help discern whether it is worth the admittedly small price of admission.

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The plot for Ice Cream Headaches revolves around a heat wave striking the region. What’s a guy to do to beat the heat? Go and ransack some monks for their coveted stash of ice cream, of course! That’s pretty much the whole motivation in a nutshell, and it’s enough to keep things moving. Of course, being a Guild of Dungeoneering adventure, there’s plenty of shenanigans, but the plot mostly serves to introduce us to the frigid new region. Due to the icy nature, there are a bunch of new cold themed beasts to tame, as well as the inexplicable new brain monsters. There’s a nice variety of critters to slay, such as a whole smorgasbord of snowmen, slushie elementals, angry vegans and much more. They all help keep things interesting, as does the all new Favour system.

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The Snowitch makes great use of the Favour system.

The basic idea behind the Favour system is that by landing on a tile with a Rune on it and defeating a monster, you will be rewarded with one Favour point. During battle, you can spend varying amounts of Favour to grant you new abilities, such as drawing an additional card, discarding your opponent’s current card or even burning their card, which takes it out of your current duel entirely. Which all sounds great, and it can be, but in my experience the Favour system only mattered when I was playing as the new Snowitch class. For one thing, the indicator showing how much Favour you have accumulated is relegated to the tippy top right corner, where it’s hard to see. For another, only the Snowitch class can actually accumulate Favour through their unique traits as well as through landing on Runes. Every other class in the game can only get it by random chance, which didn’t motivate me to use Favour all that often. Sure, there were some new items that were Favour Cursed, which meant they had an additional negative effect if you equipped them without having Favour, but more often than not I just avoided these items. I think the Favour system is cool in theory, but I would have liked a bit more widespread integration of it to┬ámore than one class.

This region also sports many more monsters that love to inflict status ailments, such as Freeze or Confusion. Confusion is nasty, since it makes you unable to see your hand for a turn, though I found out that the order of your hand isn’t randomized. Which means that by paying attention to your hand, Confusion isn’t that hard to manage. Freeze, on the other hand, is a doozy. When you get hit by a Freeze attack, your entire hand, minus the card you are playing that turn, is frozen, rendering it unusable for a turn. This can be devastating, as you might have the right card to play against your opponent the next turn but be unable to use it. Luckily Freeze attacks aren’t typically unblockable, so careful deck management can help you protect yourself.

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Last but not least, there are 3 new classes available thanks to this DLC – the Ice Cream Monk, the aforementioned Snowitch and the Yodeller. Each of these plays entirely different and all are equipped with pretty entertaining skills. For example, the Ice Cream Monk gets an attack boost if you don’t have any weapons or items equipped in either hand. It’s fine to equip a helmet or suit of armor, but the second you grab a sword, your Monk basically becomes a substandard unit. Then there is the Snowitch, who uses plenty of magical attacks and starts the game out with one point of Favour. Frankly this was my least favorite new unit, though it was occasionally useful. Then there was the Yodeller, which is the riskiest new class, but with the potential for great reward. First off, the Yodeller’s ability is pretty much garbage. If you take 3+ damage in battle, all your Yodel cards get a power boost. However, the Yodel cards themselves are why I enjoyed this class. The first time you play them, they just do 1 damage. But every time you play them after that, they get additional boosts, such as becoming stronger, unblockable or even quick. Since the Yodeller had a few of these Yodels in the deck, I had a lot of fun using him, especially since the cards start as Yodel and then added Lay, Hee and Hoo. Hilarious attention to detail on Gambrinous’ part!

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Speaking of hilarious, this boss is totally not from Frozen…

Mostly, I was very happy with Ice Cream Headaches. It plays well, is easy to pick up and took me about 8 hours combined to beat everything. My only real complaints were the lack of integration of the Favour system and one other issue – the DLC doesn’t introduce new achievements. Now normally, I could care less about achievements, but I love the quirky and strange tricks that the developers thought up in a game like this. It would have added just that much more polish and replay value. However, overall I felt the Ice Cream Headaches DLC was strong and enjoyable, and I would heartily recommend it to any fans of the series. Now I’ll just not so patiently await the next DLC, whenever that decides to come out…

Review Score
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About Josh Speer

Josh Speer is addicted to two things in equal measure : Books and Videogames. He has a degree from the University of Washington in English with an emphasis on writing. He joined Operation Rainfall last year while following it on Facebook. His two giant life goals are to write his own series of fantasy / science fiction novels and to get into the creative side of the video game industry. He is beyond pleased to now have his proverbial foot in the door thanks to the opportunity provided by Oprainfall!