Over the years, there have been many games that debuted on consoles and PC, that felt perfect for potential mobile versions. Dicey Dungeons ($4.99) took things further. It even looked like it was built for mobile interactions from the start, but it is the rare game that feels amazing with touch or button controls across all platforms. The deckbuilding roguelike dungeon crawler hybrid experience Dicey Dungeons is a fascinating game that might be my favorite mobile game of 2022 even though it is a late port. I’ve now played it across Steam Deck, Switch, and iOS for review, and will be comparing those versions with the iOS release as with my other port reviews.
If you’ve somehow not heard of Terry Cavanagh and play mobile games, he has released and is most known for the brilliant Super Hexagon and VVVVVV. When Dicey Dungeons was finally confirmed for mobile, I was almost certain it would play best on iOS. Having now played it on iPad and iPhone alongside the Switch and Steam Deck, the iOS port is nearly perfect, and the few issues I have might not bother you at all.
Before getting into the port and mobile version features, Dicey Dungeons is a very surprising game. It seems straightforward initially, but is a masterclass in design as long as you’re ok with some RNG. You explore dungeons as a walking dice in procedurally generated mayhem involving dice rolls, a brilliant soundtrack, great visuals, and more. Dicey Dungeons initially felt like it might wear thin after an hour or so, but it opens up so much with new characters to make everything feel fresh once again. It also helps that the mobile version has arrived with additional free content right from the get go making this an amazing value package.
What makes Dicey Dungeons stand out from other games like Slay the Spire, besides catering to a similar audience, is how it blends in puzzles with its deckbuilding and roguelite gameplay. While other games lean heavily on the random elements, Dicey Dungeons feels equal part puzzle in some of the stages. This is elevated by how each of the playable characters increases the challenge and introduces new mechanics. This isn’t to say that the starting character is boring, but the design for the other later characters is very special, and making your way to the final level and boss for each character in their own episodes is going to test you for sure.
The various floors, character designs, enemies, and animations are amazing. I’ve always liked the aesthetic from the initial reveal, but seeing it in motion on high resolution displays really hits home with how polished and gorgeous Dicey Dungeons looks and feels. Marlowe Dobbe’s art deserves an artbook release for sure. One thing to keep in mind is that the game isn’t natively fullscreen on modern iOS devices. There are appropriately colored borders that you can disable, but I left them on because this is one of the best examples of implementing a border for a game designed for 16:9 displays brought to iOS.
This release of Dicey Dungeons on iOS and Android includes the game, the Halloween bonus pack with its own new content, and the new Reunion DLC that arrived on other platforms the same time the mobile version launched. Even without the free DLC and bonus content, Dicey Dungeons is more than worth the asking price on mobile.
Performance on my iPhone 11 and iPad Pro has been good. The highlight of the mobile version is the load times. Dicey Dungeons loads near instantly on iOS compared to the Switch version. The PC version also loads near instantly like iOS on Steam Deck.
When it comes to the controls, Dicey Dungeons has perfect touch controls that are responsive and intuitive. It really makes me more disappointed in how Slay the Spire still hasn’t seen control improvements. Dicey Dungeons plays best with touch controls. In fact, I’ve been using touch controls on Switch and Steam Deck as well. It does work really well with a controller on those platforms too, but the mobile version doesn’t have controller support as of now. At least it didn’t work with my DualSense controller. This isn’t a dealbreaker for me given how well the touch controls are, but it is worth mentioning in any console/PC to mobile conversion.
Dicey Dungeons seemingly doesn’t have iCloud syncing support between iOS devices. This is disappointing for sure, but it does have an Edit Progress option to let players from other platforms or between devices manually move progress by choosing what character and episode you want to unlock. This is an interesting addition and way to let people “bring over” progress, but I’d have preferred proper iCloud sync as an option between iOS devices. If it is in, I’ve not been able to get it to work across 2 different iCloud accounts on 4 devices.
I know the wait for Dicey Dungeons on mobile has been a lot longer than I expected, but it has been worth it to see the game release in such a polished state. While it has a few issues that I hope can be fixed in potential updates, Dicey Dungeons is plain brilliant and a perfect fit on iOS. If you aren’t a fan of deckbuilders or don’t like any RNG, this might not be for you. If you enjoyed Slay the Spire, I think you will love Dicey Dungeons. It is going to be hard for anything on mobile to top this for me, and I’m looking forward to experiencing the new DLC on Switch this weekend during breaks from playing Sunbreak having played the base game and checked out the DLC for review on iOS.