Portal Dungeon: Goblin Escape is an action game that is developed and published by indie studio DillyFrame. It saw a PC release in November 2021, then a console release in January 2023.
*Disclaimer: A code was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review. This in no way affects anything because my thoughts are mine and mine alone.
When a goblin is trying to escape from his life of servitude, he finds himself in a room full of portals that he then has to work his way through to escape. Can he make it out and save all his fellow goblins? Or will he leave them to toil away forever, mining rocks for their masters.
I just want to come out of the gate right away and say there is literally zero story to the game. You get your opening cutscene, you get your “you beat the game” cutscene, and that’s it. No dialogue, no characters to interact with, absolutely nothing. You’re all alone in this world that is filled with monsters, and there’s nothing that will fill that void. Not even your own inner dialogue.
The gameplay is a little basic but gave me some chill moments of just relaxing and throwing on some music while I was adventuring through all the portals. As you make your way through all twenty levels, you have to kill a certain amount of enemies and find a key to open a portal at the end. Or in my case, kill everything you see and destroy every piece of the environment to find the key. But if you don’t do that, you don’t get coins to be able to upgrade your gear, and literally 95% of the environment can be smashed. Those bookcases, that candle holder, that shelf on the wall, that part of the wall with a big X on it. It was fantastic in its own way.
As you upgrade your gear, you only really get two things, that being more health and more damage. Never once did I find that I was taking less damage, and this made it a pain to fight the first boss in the game, but literally no other boss. So when you’re in the HUB between levels, you go up to a pedestal and choose to upgrade your armour or weapons, and you have to go in order. Honestly there was barely any armour to level and there were twenty five weapons, which if I wanted them all, I had to grind, which I did. Now there’s also another pedestal that lets you do little daily challenges in the game, but also lets you re-roll them if you have a certain coin. I never found myself doing these because the payoff was pointless. You’d get a measly amount of EXP and coins, and for what, replaying a level? No thanks.
Now my two big frustrations in all honesty were the fact that I had to keep mashing the attack button to keep swinging my weapon, as opposed to holding it, so this made my finger really sore by the end of my play session. Then the other issue is that there was no map in the game. As you progress, the levels just get bigger and bigger and bigger, and it’s your job to remember where the hell you came from and where you’ve been when everything looks the exact same! Even the enemies’ variety is lacking a bit, considering there’s four different kinds of spiders! Who needs that many kinds!?
- Relaxing Gameplay
- Daily Challenges
- No Map
- No Story
For what this game tries to be, it’s a decent time, but it has so many issues, I’m not sure I can recommend playing it, and honestly it’s solely because of the game not having a map. There’s other dungeon crawlers out there that do have one though, so go play them.