You're right that the reason this hybridizing goes on is to prevent the Dungeon Crawling itself from being boring by adding some sort of side distraction. Considering that most pure dungeon crawlers in this day and age are "pure" in the sense that they hearken back to the early 80s for their inspiration (and are part of that sub-sub genre of RPG, the Wizardry Fauxback. See: The Dark Spire, Etrian Odyssey) without taking into account all the other advances in the First Person Party RPG since 1985. It kind of drives me crazy
" What about Etrian Odyssey? It seems like a straight up dungeon crawler until you get into the cartography aspect of the game. Especially the third one I think is a serious mixture of Cartography and Dungeon Crawling thanks to it's sea mapping as well as it's dungeon mapping aspects. I personally call it a Cartography RPG, or CRPG for short. The first in the genre? Maybe? "You apparently never played dungeon crawlers in the '80s. Graph paper was an unlisted prerequisite.
What about Etrian Odyssey?
It seems like a straight up dungeon crawler until you get into the cartography aspect of the game.
Especially the third one I think is a serious mixture of Cartography and Dungeon Crawling thanks to it's sea mapping as well as it's dungeon mapping aspects.
I personally call it a Cartography RPG, or CRPG for short. The first in the genre? Maybe?
I enjoy dungeon crawlers, and if you throw something else into the mix there's a good chance that I like it as well.
I'm perfectly happy if something is just a dungeon crawler though.
And I didn't realize Rune Factory had dungeon crawling :)
I always read "Harvest Moon offshoot" and stopped paying attention, because I played one of those once, and while I enjoyed it I saw no reason to do so again. This sounds interesting enough though, so I might look into it next time I have nothing to play on my DS.
Recettear is a pretty good example of this type of game, maybe similar to runefactory (don't know that one)? It's a mix of rpg shopkeeper and dungeon crawling.
Dark Cloud was the first game I thought of when I read the title and I'm glad you included on yer list. Also I think dungeon crawler sports would be interesting to see.... if it was done well, that is.
This week, I'll be discussing my favorite sub-sub-genre (seriously, genres are fucked up) and its merits over similar games without the hybrid element.
If you're wondering what manner of nonsense I'm talking about, the creation of a hybridized dungeon crawler is as follows:
1. You take a perfectly functional dungeon-crawler - think Diablo or Torchlight, or anything designated as a " Roguelike" or said to include procedurally generated dungeons. These dungeons are varied in their size and aesthetic style (their look, in non-pretentious wordage), full of treasures and monsters, and are to some extent generated on the fly by some sort of inherent algorithm and other coding jargon I've long since been unable to figure out.
2. You add to this dungeon crawler an equally full and functional second game genre. Currently, there doesn't seem to be any theoretical restrictions on what this second genre is, only that it needs to be something that can directly complement the dungeon crawler element in some way - so money earned in the dungeon would have second-mode applications, and you can do stuff in the second-mode that will assist or direct the dungeon crawling.
3. Important to note that the dungeon crawling and second mode should remain separate: It isn't just the same game mode throughout. So something like Borderlands, which is pretty much a hybrid of a dungeon crawler and an FPS, wouldn't count in this instance. Though I guess they'd have to be called the same thing. Genres are fucked up.
The idea is that the dungeon crawler element is captivating on a sheer behavioral level of "kill monster, find shiny", which after a while will lose its sheen and begin to resemble a pointless chore. The second mode alleviates this "enjoyment entropy" by giving players the distraction of a separate gaming experience for a while, so they cam re-enter the dungeon mode refreshed and the initial captivation intact, with this cycle perpetuating ideally for the length of the game. At least that's the theory, but considering how successful some of the games on this list became, it's clear this system works when handled correctly.
I'll briefly cover some examples of what I'm talking about: