There’s something comforting about the new iteration of Gauntlet. The developers haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel in the third person manner of the previous Gauntlet reboot but instead have stuck much closer to the design of the original game, at once appealing to a sense of pleasant nostalgia and updating the play style to being something a good deal more modern. The basic concept of the new Gauntlet is similar to the original arcade game, with the four classes, Valkyrie, Warrior, Wizard and Elf running around dungeons killing enemies, destroying monster spawners and hunting for gold and food, but mechanically things feel quite a bit different. Each character has a base attack, a charge attack, a special attack and some form of dash or dodge designed for getting out of combat quickly or zipping through traps before they trigger.


I'VE NOT SEEN SUCH BRAVERY!
The Warrior and Valkyrie feel more akin to melee heroes in an isometric action RPG than they do the axe or spear throwers of the original game and the Elf feels somewhat akin to a character in a twin stick shooter with his fast firing bow, powerful sniper shot and bombs.

The Wizard, on the other hand, betrays the developer’s previous work on the chaotic multiplayer Magika series. Unlike the other characters who only have access to one weapon, the Wizard can switch between different spells, each affecting enemies in different ways, from massive targeted AOE explosions, to faster frost bolts, chaining lightning bolts or penetrating fireballs.

Each of the spells has different properties and power levels but require different techniques to use effectively, making the different abilities situational. The level of spell customisation doesn’t come close to Magika but the thumbprint of the game is definitely on the Wizard.


EACH CHARACTER HAS A BASE ATTACK, A CHARGE ATTACK, A SPECIAL ATTACK AND SOME FORM OF DASH OR DODGE

YOU SHOT THE FOOD

The preview code we had access to only featured a single dungeon but it gives a good impression of what's to come. Each “dungeon” has multiple floors, each with different mechanics at play. One level may see the heroes simply running around killing enemies and finding keys to open doors but the next may add a timed component by having the literal omnipresent spectre of death chasing the characters down, killing them instantly with a touch. Others might have players fighting in an
arena littered with monster spawners constantly spewing evil into the world until they are destroyed and explode into piles of gold. As well as being a score to lord over your friends or on the online leaderboards, gold is also used to buy relics, magic items powered by potions that can grant players extra abilities for a short while, such as leaving a trail of fire when you move or freezing all nearby enemies.


THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN

Much like the recent Super Mario 3D World, Gauntlet features a randomly dropped crown that can quickly become the obsession of players. At the end of a round the wearer of the crown gets a bonus to their score, sure, but who doesn’t want to pimp their character with a shiny royal hat?