Jeremy explores many topics as he juggles his passion for writing with his career as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
What Is Soda Dungeon?
Soda Dungeon is a strategy-based RPG (role-playing game) for mobile platforms created by Armor Games. It's free-to-play, bears similarities to rogue-like games, and tasks you to properly equip customized squads of adventurers in an upgradeable tavern, then guide them through dungeons while collecting treasure.
The game arrives with an old-school look and silly atmosphere, and many classic RPG tropes are present: swords, magic, grinding, etc.
Before discovering how to conquer the dungeons, first, we'll ask the question; is this game even worth the effort? Let's examine its triumphs and failures to find out!
- Constant Progression
- Auto-Battle Feature
- Easy Mechanics
First and foremost, the game is truly free-to-play. There are bonuses, weapons, and even units that can be bought with real money, but players can amass most eventually with in-game currencies. Unlike so many "free-to-play" traps, I never felt like I needed to spend actual money to progress, or that I was missing out on a substantial part of the experience by not paying.
Speaking of progression, the game has a great flow. You're constantly unlocking things: new units, new spells, new weapons, new armor, new tavern upgrades, and even new dungeons. Though this involves frequent grinding (repeatedly battling the same enemies to loot items and acquire money), it pays off with a plethora of rewards.
While the game employs copious grinding, it's mitigated by the auto-battle feature. While not quite as smart as you, it's a competent-enough mechanic. Arm your squad, turn on auto-grind, and go do something else for an hour or so. When you return, you'll have discovered many items and gold without having to manually grind.
The game utilizes retro graphics and simple mechanics to ease newcomers in. Unlike most RPGs, equipping armor doesn't add Defense; there is no Defense stat. Rather, it simply boosts your max health. Besides Hit Points (HP), there are only two other main stats: Attack and Magic Points (MP).
Thankfully, many items increase other, lesser-seen traits (Critical Chance, Evasion, Magic Damage, etc.) to add depth, but the core attributes are nicely streamlined to eliminate confusion.
- Lackluster Explanations
- Sense of Detachment
- Repeated Enemies
The game simply doesn't tell you certain information. For example, the spell Noxin may inflict "Confuse" like the game states, but it may induce "Poison" instead. Pilfer, the money-stealing Thief technique, only works once per target, and simply having a Thief around lets you open all three chests every ten levels, instead of your usual one.
While not game-breaking, this data would have been nice to have. I almost didn't use Thieves at all; without their multi treasure-opening ability, which is never explained, they have little to offer, and thus I almost missed out entirely on their boons. And these are just some examples of the many explanations Soda Dungeon doesn't provide.
Sense of Detachment
The game's auto-battle alleviates grinding, but also makes it feel like the game is playing itself. More often than not, I equipped my party and let them loose in a dungeon on auto while I attended to other matters in real life. Many gamers will likewise lose a sense of immersion.
Simply enough, the game frequently color-swaps old foes when entering new areas rather than debuting new monsters. Even some bosses fall prey to this; thankfully, the super bosses that appear every 100 levels are all unique.
Plus, depending on your point of view, the graphics are either comically outdated or nostalgically retro. I belong to the latter mindset, and enjoy the callback to simpler times. The game also has the most bare-bones of stories, but I didn't mind the virtually nonexistent plot. Better we're constantly emerged in the action than enduring a tacked-on tale that only detracts from actual gameplay.
Soda Dungeon satisfies by combining party management with fun combat. A few hurdles, like poor descriptions and reused enemies, hardly detract from the constant upgrades and enjoyable battles, especially for a free-to-play title.
By spending gold, you can upgrade the tavern, which serves as a hub-world location. You hire your party here, buy and sell items, and purchase soda to attract new classes. With so many upgrade options available, here are the ones you should focus on first:
Simply enough, these provide more space for more adventurers. You want a full party of five units, and having adequate furniture allows you to get that.
For a small fee, they refresh the tavern's patrons. This ensures you reach a full party of five and that you'll be able to enlist the classes you want.
For a small fee, it lets you warp to dungeon levels you have already cleared. Well worth the investment.
New soda attracts new classes, which are almost always better than earlier ones. Invest in these as soon as possible.
Earns gold while you're away. Great for players who play in short spurts over time.
Once you're much farther into the game and have accumulated some serious dough, you can purchase the expensive novelty upgrades, like the ad-remover and ability to change the cosmetics of your team.
Weak, No Abilities
Weak, No Magic
Cheap, Useful Relic ability
Low endgame potential
High Single-Target Damage
No Area Damage
Area Attack, Two Special Item slots
Low Single-Target Damage
Comes with two healing spells, Can remove status conditions
Low Damage Output
Can steal gold/items from enemies), Opens all three chests every ten dungeon levels (rather than one), Two Special Item slots
No Area Damage
Ability inflicts splash damage, Guards weakened teammates
Easy to get killed
Ability has 50% chance to cut enemy HP in half, Increases gold earned by team, Two Special Item Slots
Ability spends gold, no Area Damage, relies on chance
Area Damage can inflict Poison/Confuse, Two Special Item Slots
High Attack, Can boost allies' Attack
Won't listen to your commands, only one Special Item Slot
Can learn up to two past classes' abilities
Past abilities take several battles to learn.
Cast Your Vote!
Suggested Party Configuration
- 2 Darkmages
- 1 Knight
- 1 Healer
- 1 Thief
Once you're a good few hours into the game and have unlocked most classes, this team should guide you through most hurdles. The Darkmages deal area damage while inflicting status conditions, the Knight also deals area damage and defends near-death teammates, the Healer heals and removes status effects, and the Thief deals high physical damage while allowing you to collect more treasure.
Be sure to utilize the Darkmage's area-spell Noxin even against single-targets, as it still inflicts decent damage and may bestow Poison or Confuse, both of which devastate bosses.
Incredible Critical Chance (50%) and provides 10% evasion.
Bestows extra HP, MP, and 10% Damage Reduction.
Grants extra HP like most armor, but also provides 15% Evasion.
Once per fight, restores about 30 MP to target ally.
Provides 20 HP and 10% Damage Reduction
Provides extra HP, MP, and Critical Chance, and always inflicts either Burn or Sleep.
15% Damage Reduction and 15% Damage Reflection
Solid HP boost plus 5% Damage Reduction and 7 HP regeneration each turn.
Provides 20 Attack, HP, and MP, boosts physical strikes by 15%, and grants 5 HP regeneration each turn.
As you progress, you'll eventually gain the ability to travel to new dimensions. This resets your gold and items, but unlocks new enemies and provides you with new Soda and Relics (which permanently stay with you). Each Soda provides passive stat boosts to your team, and each Relic unlocks new abilities for a specific class.
Also, Soda and Relics can be upgraded with Essence, a magical currency slowly accumulated as you explore dungeons. Be sure to travel through dimensions whenever available, amass new Soda, and craft your ultimate team!
Here some final pointers to guide you through the game:
- Auto-battle is good for grinding, but not as smart as you; disable it when facing the toughest bosses.
- Once unlocked, always bring at least one healer to restore HP and remove status effects, and have someone carry an MP bottle to restore MP.
- Be aware that the auto-equip doesn't always access the ideal provisions. For example, it often equips unwanted demon equipment, which raises stats at the expense of others. For big excursions, manually prepare your team.
- You can watch a brief ad to auto-revive your party once every 2 hours; take advantage, as this completely restores the HP and MP of your party, even defeated members.
- Once you've accrued scores of money, unlock VIP features like Pets, which can provide even more boosts to your team.
- Utilize the Arena as often as you can (once every four hours) to accumulate Relic Tokens, which may be spent on permanent upgrades in the place of Essence. Even the highest difficulty Arena matches are easy because your team will always act first.
Utilize today's tips and have a little patience, and you'll triumph against the sizable labyrinths of Soda Dungeon in no time!
© 2017 Jeremy Gill