Happy Wars was a trailblazer on the Xbox 360 as the first high-profile free-to-play experience on Xbox Live Arcade. The game’s use of RPG-style, class based PVP earned it a dedicated audience, as did its cute character designs, and that skill is carrying over to developer Toylogic’s next game. Coming to the Xbox One sooner than you think, it’s the team-based exploration action RPG sequel, Happy Dungeons.
Happy Dungeons focuses even more on teamwork than its predecessor, as the point of the game is to get a team of four players and conquer every monster and dungeon they find. Players can choose one of three traditional classes, including the Warrior, Mage, and Cleric, which can be customized to suit your playstyle by equipping powerful items, abilities, and moves. It’s all about team balance and harmony if you want to complete one of the game’s initial 30 dungeons. Traditionalists should be pleased to know that while the game obviously involves online co-op, there’s also classic split-screen couch co-op.
Exploring Happy Dungeons’ — er — dungeons will forge your team through combat, as you’ll learn to work as a unit to keep clearing out waves of enemies before you reach the boss. Our demo took us through Chapter 3, which ended with a battle against a giant minotaur who was looking to trample our team. Taking him out took a lot of communication with our friends on the couch, and the timing/precision involved in defeating the boss is reminiscent of the Monster Hunter and Dark Souls franchises.
All that hard work and strategy pays off in Happy Dungeons, not just with leveling up your squad, but also by unlocking some of the more than 600 unique items in the game. You can speed up unlocking those items via in-game purchases, but you always have the option of earning the same currency by playing through dungeons. Completing chapters also levels up your minions, a trio of AI-controlled assistants who help you with different buffs, healing items, or attacks, all trained by and specific to the player.
If you’re looking to play this on Xbox One this year, you won’t have to wait for its “proper” release date. Happy Dungeons will be entering the Xbox Preview program in August, which means an early version of the game will be downloadable and you can get a pre-release feel for the game. There will even be items exclusive to Preview players that will carry over to the final version. The final date for the Preview launch should be coming soon, so keep an eye out for it.