There’s certainly not a shortage of ‘hack and slash’ style games available on the 3DS eShop. So it’s important to ensure that your title has something that will make it stand out. When it comes to the Excave series, it seems that developers Bergsala-Lightweight’s tactic is to release entries within quick succession. The first title and it’s sequel were both released in 2015 with the latest entry in the series ‘Excave III: Tower of Destiny’ released just a few months later.
So here’s the basics of Excave III – you explore some dungeons, defeating any opponents who cross your path while collecting as much loot as possible. Repeat until you can’t play anymore. There are a couple of things that differ here from the previous titles. The RPG style gameplay that was used in the original titles have been removed in order to allow you focus on racking up high scores. Also gone are the dual protagonists, replaced with the one playable character, a girl named Scarlet. It’s your typical anime styling that you’d expect from this sort of game – long white hair, big blue eyes and some questionably short clothing.
Each level is set up as a set of towers with you progressing through several dungeons to climb to the top of the tower. You start every single level with no weapons or powers meaning you need to collect weapons as you progress and ensure you don’t run out of them! Every weapon has a limited use so if you see something then pick it up! Any weapons and power-ups you have at the end of each stage are removed from your inventory and added to your score.
It’s kind of cool that you start of each level with no weapons as it means you have to rely on what you find. The downside is that the options are a little limited. I stuck with a trusty sword and some flamethrower powers for most of the time. It’s good though to have a good mixture of powers in your arsenal should you need to shake it up for a more difficult foe. The magical powers are quite good if you’re being overrun by enemies. A well-placed ice blast or thunderbolt can do wonders for turning the battle around.
It’s just a downside that the game is lacking in imagination. The dungeon designs are minimal, bordering on basic and you find yourself ending up in a lot of similar scenarios. Facing off against the same villains again and again. Even the boss fights at the end of each stage are lacking in variety and imagination.