3 out of 5. Like a prototype for Metroidvania Ideas. Extremely short, but for a dollar or less it's completely worth the purchase if you like a good old school challenge.

How Metroidvania is it? Medium Fit. Not really a ton of time to be like Super Metroid or Castlevania, given how short it is. But it does showcase a lot of the concepts.
Primary Challenge: Ranged Combat
Time to beat: ~1 hours
Review Info: Dungeon of Zolthan was played on Steam.

More Info

Developer: Robert Alvarez
Publisher: New Reality Games
Sub-genre: Mini Metroidvania
Features: 2D Platformer, Family Friendly
Difficulty: Medium, High
Linearity/Openness: Linear - No Handholding
Platforms: Windows, Steam
Release Date: 2016/05/11
Available Languages: English

Store Links


Buy Dungeon of Zolthan if you like…

  • Really short games that cost very little
  • Basic game design concepts/ Prototype games

▼ Review continues below ▼

If you’re looking for a very basic demonstration of Metroidvania power-ups and ideas, this is it. It’s like a game design prototype that Robert Alvarez just decided to release on Steam.

And I think it’s great.

There isn’t a map, nor is there a ton of power-ups to find. As far as I know there’s only one “gun” upgrade, so it’s all just jump and shoot (and a tiny bit more with upgrades.) But, as basic as it is, it does capture the essence of what makes a good action game – except for one thing.

The difficulty curve is something like if you were riding on a bicycle with training wheels, then suddenly someone runs over and shoots the training wheels off with a shotgun and pushes you down a hill. That might be a little hyperbolic, but I think that for less experienced gamers this game is going to be an exercise in frustration, since there’s little in the way of intuitive tutorialization. But if you like a challenge and don’t mind dying over and over until you get it right, I definitely recommend this one.

It only took me about half an hour to beat Dungeon of Zolthan, but I was smiling the whole way.

Final Score


Scoring system overview

Metroidvania Breakdown

– 3.5

Super basic demonstration of platform shooter combat, but adds enough variety and challenge to be fun

– 2.5

Some good spike mazes and other platforming to use your power-ups on

– 2.5

Though you won't be exploring for long, there are in fact secrets to be found

– 2

Some puzzle platforming required, but there isn't even any time to emphasize it

– 1

Wait, THAT was the final boss??

– 2

This is pretty self-explanatory

– 1

That chiptune gets old even in the mere 30 minutes it took me to beat this game

– 2

It's only 30 minutes. You can race to beat your old score or do other challenges. Or enjoy the 50 cents you spent and move on

Want a second opinion? See what other reviews say:

Steam Reviews
All Time: Mostly Positive
(78% of 346 Reviews)

TBD Metacritic
Read critic reviews