Grotesque Tactics II: Dungeons & Donuts: Try, try again

February 10, 2012

Since I reviewed Grotesque Tactics: Evil Heroes in 2010, it has remained one of the worst video games I’ve ever played. Worse, even, than other games that are mechanically broken with features that don’t work as intended. For reasons I can’t explain myself, I agreed to do a follow-up with its sequel, Dungeons and Donuts. I mean, who knows? Maybe after such a horribly-designed game, Silent Dreams went back to the drawing board and actually made a half-decent sequel.

Right from the start, the player is reintroduced to some of the characters from the first game, and they’ve all been smacked with the ugly stick a couple of times. While Evil Heroes wasn’t the prettiest looking game, the super-deformed style sort of worked and gave the game a distinctive look. In comparison, Dungeons and Donuts looks like a 3D modeling student’s first-ever attempt at making humanoid figures. Everything just looks bland and not memorable, coupled with some horrible voice acting for nearly every line in the game.

If there’s ever a rulebook on things every parody game should have, it should be required to have the game be almost as fun as the material it’s making fun of. While Dungeons and Donuts does away with some of the less-fun, broken mechanics from Evil Heroes, the game just isn’t very enjoyable to play or watch. Characters and enemies have clunky and slow animations, the skills you learn are incredibly cookie-cutter and uninspired and the game just feels like a chore to get through. This is without taking into consideration how unpolished the game is, with constant bugs, crashes and long load times that plagued my playthrough every step of the way.

To make matters worse, it took a good hour of playing around with the options before I could get Dungeons and Donuts working, without running into my own share of issues. The game’s text is unnaturally tiny, to the point where playing the game on 800×600 makes the whole thing unreadable. Yet playing the game at a higher resolution slowed the game down to a crawl, so I had to settle for having the game run at a higher resolution but turning off everything and lowering the texture quality to the lowest setting. The kicker: there was barely any noticeable change between settings, with the real change being caused by resolution. In comparison, I can boot up Evil Heroes on the highest resolution with every effect on and run it without a hitch, neither game being a Crysis-level resource-guzzler.

There is room out there for a long, well-written parody game that isn’t a Flash game, but Grotesque Tactics II isn’t it. The humor is often flat and dry, and the game itself isn’t very good. While a small improvement over Evil Heroes mechanically, this series still has a long way to go before it actually becomes fun, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. Though that still doesn’t make it worth anyone’s time.

Pros: Some mechanical fixes from the first game
Cons: Eye-hurting visuals, bad writing, technical hiccups

Score: 2/5

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