Runestone Keeper from Circle Entertainment is a classic-style roguelike dungeon crawler on Nintendo Switch. Learn more in our Runestone Keeper review!
In Runestone Keeper from Circle Entertainment, you’ll be taking on an old-school infused dungeon crawler in which you’ll be exploring floor after floor as you reveal the overall layout in search for treasure. Since Runestone Keeper is of a roguelike nature, that means that every time you enter a dungeon, you’ll be presented with a randomly generated layout to take on. This means that, while you’ll be able to plan ahead a bit to take on the dangers of the dungeon, the tile layout, traps you’ll have to overcome, monsters you’ll have to defeat, and the treasure you’ll be able to lot, will be different every time.
You will have a backpack on which you’ll carry your inventory and runestones, while also allowing you to check on your hero’s status. You will have two presets for weapons, and you can switch between them with the L button depending on the monster you’re about to face. While the action will take place in the middle of the screen, on the right side you’ll be able to check some more detailed information for your hero, including its experience, attributes, attack and shield, overall health, and more.
Each hero will have different stats for strength, dexterity, intelligence, stamina, armor, resist, hit, critical hit, block, and dodge, which can be boosted as it gains enough experience points to level up, as well as from the equipment you find or acquire for it. When you level up, it will up to you to pick the attribute you want to boost by using the attribute points you obtain. An increase to strength will boost your melee damage, while a boost to intelligence will not only increase your magic damage, but also your magic resistance, so choose wisely!
Regular attacks will first chip away at the shield stat before they start to deal damage to your overall health bar. Magic attacks can go through your shield, so be careful when going up against enemies of a magical nature! The good news is that your shield will be restored as you enter a new floor of a dungeon. To increase your odds of survival, you can use the merchant tiles that you find to spend your gold – and sometimes your soul points – to gain access to new items that will aid you on your adventure.
Speaking of soul points, these will be right below your hero’s portrait will be your soul points. These are very important, because they’re required for using items. Soul points are obtained from exploring each dungeon floor, and from your performance in combat. You can check items by pressing the ZL and X buttons at the same time. Below that will be your skill slots, where you can equip the different skills you’ve managed to unlock for your adventurer. Skills will require mana to be used, so be sure to check what they do – by pressing the ZR and X buttons at the same time – so that you can decide when they can be put to good use.
Exploration is key in Runestone Keeper. When you enter a dungeon floor, there will be two types of tiles for you to be aware of. Black Mist tiles can’t be accessed, while Dark Mist tiles are the ones you can tap on in order to reveal their content. You can tap on Dark Mist tiles with the A button, which will reveal a variety of tile types. You might find a locked gate – which will obviously require a key -, a deadly spike trap that will deal damage to your hero, or perhaps a monster you will need to defeat!
Battles will take place on the same main screen that you use for exploring, and other than pressing the X button to get a better look at the monster type you’re about to face – and its overall stats -, you’ll find yourself clicking on that monster with the A button to attack in hopes of being able to deal enough damage to kill it. You might also find things such as a ballista that you can trigger to shoot in one of four directions, so when you find one, be sure to first reveal all tiles on its path so that you can use it to damage any monsters it can attack.
Runestone Keeper is an easy to pick up dungeon crawler with a minimalist presentation that has an addictive gameplay loop that makes it easy to recommend on Nintendo Switch. I had more fun playing this one in Portable Mode since it was faster and easier to do everything on the console’s touchscreen, but as I mentioned before, there is the option of playing with the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con. Runestone Keeper is out on Nintendo’s console for $9.99.
This Runestone Keeper review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Circle Entertainment.