To put it bluntly: Gameloft's Dungeon Hunter 4 is a money-grubbing assault from start to finish. This Diablo-esque dungeon crawler may look shiny on the outside, but its insides are rotted with greed.

Like most dungeon crawlers, you’re presented with a generic story about demons and their ilk. Your chosen good guy traverses the world killing bad guys, leveling up and grabbing loot. Most of your time will be spent in combat, which is fine, thanks to the responsive and accurate controls. If playing a melee character, you've got several special attacks which can move you around the battlefield with ease. If playing a ranged character you're given Smash TV-style dual sticks to control both walking direction and firing direction. The game's menu interface is clear, and the art is sharp and good-looking … when it's not directly ripping off other games.

Several weapon and monster designs will look familiar to fantasy game fans, with an early demon boss being particularly reminiscent of Warcraft's winged, red-skinned demons. The early areas are extremely easy -- you pretty much have to work at it if you want to die -- which is good for dungeon-crawling noobies, but will likely leave experienced dungeon delving vets bored.

You're also given a decent number of customization options, with socketed weapons and armor, skill points, active and passive abilities -- all par for the course with modern dungeon crawlers. There’s also a small selection of cosmetic options, which would be nice if they cost fewer gems (more on that later). There's also some basic multiplayer options, which may hold your attention depending on how many pals you have to play with.

Overall, Dungeon Hunter 4 is competent, if a bit uninspired, and would be a decent choice for those looking for a little hack-and-slash on the go were it not for the constant barrage of in-game advertisements. Gold (earned in-game), and gems (earned by watching ads or by purchasing with real money), govern your items, and how much you can upgrade them.

Want to heal? Potions cost gems. Want to swap out a charm for another one? You'll either have to wait several minutes, or spend gems to get back to the action. Nearly any kind of upgrade requires these gems, and while they can technically be earned in-game, the rate of one gem per advertisement is so abysmally low compared to how many gems you need, you might as well not bother. Even the game's loading screens bombard you with ads for items (as seen above), which can only be purchased with gems.

Like so many games before it, Dungeon Hunter 4 takes what would be a decent game and ruins the experience by handicapping any player not willing to repeatedly shell out additional money for it. The constant advertisements and hindrances built to entice you to spend your hard-earned bucks to keep playing are diabolical, and drag the game down significantly. Dungeon Hunter 4 may technically be free, but it does everything in its power to get you to pay, and pay repeatedly.


App Store Link: Dungeon Hunter 4 for iPhone & iPad | By Gameloft | Price: Free | Version: 1.0.0 | 974 MB | Rating 9+

5.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating