What makes a good role-playing game (RPG)? What keeps players coming back for more? What makes a gamer spend hundreds of hours dungeon-crawling with friends?
Over the years, many developers have tried to bring together all the elements that they think makes a great RPG. Some have failed, but others have got the exact combination of addictive ingredients right, creating a tantalizing RPG treat that keeps players eager for another bite.
Welcome to the fun world of Happy Dungeons
Having gained a wealth of experience with its first venture into the genre - the comical multiplayer action-RPG Happy Wars - Happy Dungeons, the free-to-play action-RPG from Japanese developer Toylogic, has built on the solid foundations laid down by its predecessor.
Most importantly, Happy Dungeons takes into account the seven essential features every RPG needs to keep players happy.
What makes a good RPG?
1. Engaging setting/backdrop to the action
The game world in any RPG needs be immersive. Developers such as Bethesda with The Elders Scrolls and Fallout series have created expansive game worlds where players can get lost in a universe that blurs the lines between fantasy and reality, but you don’t necessarily need a realistic-looking setting to attract players.
Happy Dungeons invites players into a colorful fantasy world that’s teeming with personality through its cast of goofy goblins, charming knights and adorable minions, and allows for extensive exploration through its many loot-filled dungeons.
More than anything, players want to be able to wander around the game world of a RPG, discovering new stuff, finding hidden secrets, and letting their imaginations run wild. They seek engagement with the characters and their plight to help bring the narrative of the world to life, with the best RPGs striving to create the perfect mix of setting and storyline.
The setting of a RPG needs to tie in with a compelling storyline and meaningful interactions with the NPCs (Non-Player Characters), as well as good writing that makes you want to find out more about its game world and characters. By fashioning deep lore within a RPG, developers can add great depth that encourages players to explore the universe that they have created.
Happy Dungeons features a charming storyline and a host of colorful characters as a brave knight explores a land that floats in the sky, protecting its people from monsters as he seeks to save the kidnapped Princess Lily. It forges its own identity by putting players in complete control of their characters as they customize every aspect of their being to become fully immersed in role-playing.
3. Comprehensive customization and character development
In a RPG, players want to feel that they have control over their character(s), and that they’re evolving over the course of dozens, often hundreds, of hours of gameplay. As such, the feeling of progression and levelling up and unlocking content because of your efforts is endlessly compelling, and this is something that many of the best examples of the genre excel at.
In Happy Dungeons, being able to personalize your character with costumes, upgrade abilities and weapons, and see your character growing in power is one of the most compelling mechanics, and one that gives players fulfillment as they progress.
With extensive customization which extends from your character’s appearance and personality, to upgrading weapons and protective gear, players can adapt their character in hundreds of different ways in order to best suit their style of play.
The ability to experiment with characters through role-based abilities is also an important feature of a RPG. In many RPGs you’ll often see these defined into three or more categories, or classes, including:
- Combat-focused class
- Magic class
- Healing class
Happy Dungeons is no different as you dispatch enemies in a variety of entertaining ways with either the Warrior, Cleric or Mage. Players can hook up online or in local co-op with up to four players and make their own gaming history, experimenting with the abilities of the three classes, and working together to take down the enemies. This results in a rewarding journey that pushes players to work as a team.
4. Diverse and fun quests and events
A good RPG needs to be packed with things for players to do that are fun. These quests or side missions need to give the player a purpose and be engaging - earning XP and items that progress your character work perfectly, and give players a feeling of accomplishment.
In Happy Dungeons there’s a real sense of satisfaction gained by completing some of the humor-filled quests, earning XP and loot that helps your character throughout the adventure.
Outside of quests, hidden areas, dungeons containing loot and various random events also generate excitement and give players reason to keep coming back to explore. Engaging boss battles and tougher fights as you progress provide a robust challenge and give players a real reason to carry out quests in order to advance their level and combat skills.
5. Badass battle system
A solid battle system that’s both easy-to-use but difficult to master with depth and sophistication is essential to any good RPG. Many of the top games in the genre feature various classes that complement each other and allow you to switch up the action and change your play-style.
In Happy Dungeons, the action feels fluid, fun and engaging, and it’s also pleasing on the eye with an explosion of colour in the more frantic battles.Though there’s plenty of fun (and loot) to be had bashing through minions, enemies vary in challenge to keep the action feeling fresh, while boss battles prove to be a great place to team up with friends in a full-on assault.
6. Meaningful loot
Masses of meaningful treasure that enrich the game and give players a constant impulse to smash every baddie and snoop into every nook and cranny of the environment can be extremely rewarding.
In Happy Dungeons, you pick up loot at an incredible rate as a reward for your efforts, with weapons, armor and items that can be used to improve your character, or traded in for in-game cash.
The fact that loot has various levels of rarity encourages players to wander off the beaten track to explore for rare items, and tackle big bosses in the hope that victory will drop some of the game’s best treasure. There’s nothing more satisfying than finding a rare item! A good RPG needs to offer loot that feels like it’s been worth the effort, and the tougher challenges should always hold the promise of rewarding you with even better stuff.
7. Continued developer support
Any good RPG needs a developer that supports the game over its life-cycle by adding new content, but most importantly by listening to its community of players and responding to feedback. Most RPGs won’t be perfect on day-one, but the provision of patches from its development team to make tweaks when needed is vital to the success of an RPG over the long term.
Having already launched on Xbox One in 2016, Happy Dungeons debut on PS4 comes at the perfect time. Keeping in close touch with its community, Toylogic has tweaked the game with numerous updates since release, adding new skills, loot and events, while responding to player feedback to ensure that PS4 owners enjoy a smooth launch and everything it has to offer from day one.
Visit the wacky world of Happy Dungeons
Now available to download for free on PS4, Happy Dungeons is a fun-filled action-RPG that’s best played with friends as you work together and collectively reap the rewards of progression and social interactivity in a fantasy world that is tailor made to put a big old goofy smile on your face.
This article is sponsored by Toylogic.