Alright, I have finally completed this game and have seen mixed reviews. What I have seen in the negative reviews is "the game is too short, I finished in 3 hours." or, "It is really repetitive and boring." The first statement is false, and the second is an uninformed opinion. The game is not short at all. I have over 20 hours of time on it and finished around the 24 hour mark. Bear in mind, I spent some time grinding and replaying some levels with friends. Which leads me to the second statement. To say a Dungeon Crawler is repetitive is like saying a Bugatti Veyron is too fast. While it may be true, that is the whole reason behind it. Dungeon Crawlers are supposed to be repetitive. That, in my opinion, is where the fun is. Grinding through waves of enemies to level up and finally beat that unstoppable boss. And trust me, the bosses in this game do not mess around. So to answer the two main questions. "Is the game short?" That depends on you. But you should be able to get at least 10 hours of playtime. "Is it repetitive?" Yes, yes it is. Its a Dungeon Crawler, if you were not expecting that, the game is probably not for you.
Now, the story of the game is as follows. A Wizard named Morak summoned an immense magical dungeon known by heroes and common people as "the Gauntlet". Inside is the usual treasure, traps and evil creatures. And of course, no one has ever made it out. So Morak calls on the four protagonists promising them wealth and all sorts of goodies and of course, a sword slashing, fire blasting good time.
The heroes you can pick from are the Warrior, Valkyrie, Wizard, and Elf. The Warrior is my personal favorite. He has plenty of health, and can easily cut down waves of enemies. The Valkyrie has a short sword that can swing incredibly fast at the cost of short range. A shield that can block all means of damage, and she can throw her shield to have a sort of chain lighting effect. The wizard is the most complex. In order to cast his spells (with the default controls) You have to push the "Shift", "Space", or "RMB" keys to conjure the spell. What makes him more complex is that pressing "Shift" first and "Space" second may make a fire spell. While pressing "Space" first and "Shift" second may create an ice spell. It requires some getting used to. And then finally we have the the Elf. He has a dodge ability, a bomb that can be attached to his arrows or be placed, and can fire arrows incredibly fast.
The gameplay, as mentioned before, can be repetitive. But this is a game you need to grind in. The "levels" in the game are called masteries. You level them up by completing certain tasks. For example. The "Mummy Slayer" mastery may require 5000 mummy kills to reach the Bronze rank. After doing that, you get increased damage against mummies and the towers that spawn them. Each enemy type has a mastery to go with it. Making the grinding worth while in the long run.
The actual levels themselves are divided up as follows. There are 3 sets of 4 doors each. The first door in each set consists of three basic levels. The second door has a procedurally generated level and tons of places requiring keys. And the third door contains a level that requires performing a specified task to open the exit. And the fourth door in each set contains the boss. To make up for what may seem like a repetitive formula. Each set of doors has a different atmosphere and enemy types. The first set takes place in a sand buried crypt containing Mummies and skeleton warriors. The second set is themed in dark caves that are sometimes, literally pitch black. Here you fight orcs, grunts and the occasional Spider queen. The final set appears to be placed in a volcano or Hell itself. Here you will find fanatic cultists, and many types of demonized creatures.
Now, I won't say anything about the bosses. The first two are just challenging enough to make the victory worth it all. While the final boss and ending seem just hastily thrown together. I won't spoil anything of course, but the final boss was, in my opinion, more annoying then fun, and the ending did not have any closure. It left me wondering, and to honest, very dissappointed. But the game in its entirety made up for it.
Gauntlet is a fantastic Dungeon Crawler in my opinion and a nice addition to the series. If you have the spare change like I did, pick it up for some friends and play a marathon or two. Good times can be found in every nook and cranny in the depths of this particular dungeon.