I'm not sure what to make of bit Dungeon II. It's an action RPG that reminds me of the Secret of Mana more than anything else, with freedom to walk all over the world and use a variety of quick and charged attacks that vary by weapon. But it's not clear-cut in the way the old console games were. It helps when enemies react to attacks, such as in the Zelda games that bit Dungeon II claims as one of its inspirations. Here, monsters make no reactions except for the status effects you occasionally place on them, so they crowd you and make the fracas a confused jumble. You can pound the action key or hold it down to charge, and each has an advantage at different times, if you can figure out what that is.
What little story there is—deliberately thin in the common Rogue-like style—seems to be that you are a ghost, returned from who-knows-what and who-knows-where, out to gain strength and defeat the grand evil, unlocking the portal to face it by first destroying several boss monsters.
The art style reminds me of Zelda in its level design and a mix between Giger and Miyazaki in its monster design. Sometimes you fight skeletons or yetis, but more often you'll encounter floating, bloated snowmen or emaciated, canted bipeds firing lasers at you if you don't cut them down fast enough. Whatever its faults, I love looking at it.
Gameplay seems to spike between non-threatening and immediately deadly, all while fighting monsters of various stripes. It just doesn't provide me enough feedback to know whether there's something about the situation I'm in, or I'm messing up my combat timing, and if so, what I did wrong.
The game seems to be most dangerous when you re-enter a screen you've already cleared. It repopulates the enemies, usually with a collection of smaller, weaker enemies, but those mobs are what take me down half the time. Or those tough knights. They have lots of hit points.
In contrast, bosses seem to stand around for the half the fight soaking up damage before they unleash something that usually misses. I just can't feel the game's rhythm, and I can't start learning the game's patterns when I can't sense them.
bit Dungeon II is available for $4.99 on Steam, and apparently also for mobile devices. That makes a lot of sense, actually; the play feels like it was designed with touchscreens in mind.