Finally we get to the "prison" part of our journey. Dungeon Twister is a puzzle game at its heart. Beyond the combat and character classes, you are really just trying to manipulate the rooms (by twisting!) until a safe path to freedom opens up. Gears are available in each room, providing you the opportunity to turn either the room you are in or the matching room with the same number. Those evil dwarven engineers, what will they think of next?
So as the name implies, there are going to be some rooms you just can't get out of, no matter how much you spin the room around. Not just having to worry about pits, now our heroes have to worry about ending up in lock-down, at the mercy of hostile forces somewhere in the dark.
Only 4 of your 8 characters start at the beginning of the maze, on the infamous "starting line." The rest start somewhere in the vast unexplored room structure beyond. You get to pick the room your stuff starts in, but your opponent decides the exact square of each room. And what a difference this fine tuning makes!
On Matched Pair 38, we have one giant cell on the left tile and winding corridors on the right. This large cell is still technically lock-down, but its downright generous in its floorspace. You even have a spinner dial for manipulating rooms...perfect for a Mechanork! Keep the doors locked and watch your favorite gear spinner make himself at home. He's never getting out anyway, what with those bad knees and all.
Matched pair 39 provides some even longer tunnels, separated by your choice of either locked doors or a nasty pit. The tile on the right has the most interesting of cells, providing both room-twisting opportunities and possible pit jumping to get out.
Finally, we have Matched Pair 40. The right tile has some serious solitary confinement action waiting for the unwary. Even the Naga and the Wizard are going to be cooling it for a while unless a Colossus or Backstabber can come bail them out. You can definitely see how a person can lose track of their safe path, ending up stuck between a pit and locked door, or even a stone cold wall.
Dungeon Twister, and especially the Dungeon Twister: Prison set I have reviewed provide an intense brain-burning dungeon delving experience. I actually think its a little big above my mental capacity, but luckily I have plenty of forgiving people willing to play it with me. Kids like playing it, at least to start with, but after a while their eyes can start to glass over, especially if the role model who maneuvered them into this game can seem to find a way to progress the situation.
The instruction book only hints at it, but you can play this game with fewer tile sections. The tutorial starts you out with 2 characters each and 4 rooms, which is really the minimum you need to get a good feel for the game.
And there is a fully-functioning solo variant included in the box, too. Complete with AI for opposing monsters, believe it or not. So even if willing participants are few and far between, you always have your brain to help figure things out.
Each tile is well and truly dense with turns, stone wall dead-ends, pits and locked doors. You will need to twist each room.