This dungeon maker is something that is growing on me. This might be somewhat a preview of what to expect in BoTW 2 but I'm thinking the next 2D Zelda game will be the Zelda maker...preferably the remake of both Oracle games packed in one game.
Okay, I've held off in talking on this subject until I could play it a bit and get my own experiences with it. I've done a few of the dungeon challenges and am at the Heart one now, and I've completed up through Eagle's Tower.
Initial Impressions are that it's fun to tinker with. Especially if you try to do something clever with the initial challenges and work within their constraints and limitations. But as I move up through the challenges, I find myself wishing there was way more to work with. There's a lot of things I can't control that I would like some input on. Very high up on that list would be stairs, and which staircases link to which locations, as well as which Underground you get to conjoin them with.
Additionally, the game suffers from not allowing you to have dungeon items, and progression based around them. It's very hard to create a progression system, to create that iconic feel of opening up different phases of the dungeon as you go. There are ways it can be done, mind you, but they're small and cheap and cumbersome, requiring you to create locked areas of locked doors with no treasure chests available at all. This makes almost every dungeon lean heavily into linearity by default, as creating plausible reward loops and sectioned areas is impossible since you can't put treasure chests anywhere.
You also can't pick what items are in which chests. Nor can you swap enemies out for other enemies, even simple pallet swaps to increase or decrease the target difficulty. And, of course, you can't change the location of doors or switches, or add them. All you can do is slot in premade rooms. And you don't even get your run of the rooms to choose from, instead being admitted only a sparse handful of the rooms you've already explored. Additionally, you don't have a feel for each individual room when you place it. There's no way to check out what the room is beforehand, forcing you to look instead at a thumbnail and hope you can remember which room it was. Nor can you make aesthetic choices, like brightening or dimming the lights in a room to create a sense of visual harmony throughout the dungeons. Instead, they look like a mashup of visual choices, with dungeon tiles, sand floors, and flooded rooms all mingled without any real purpose.
Nor can you create floors or play with a sense of verticality, allowing for the creating of interesting puzzles that are a hallmark of some of the series' best designed dungeons. Take Eagle's Tower, famed for its play on verticality and finding the right spot to fall through the wall so that you can access out-of-reach goodies or further explore the dungeon.
All in all, I have to assume that they didn't want to put too much time into a feature they weren't sure people would be using all that much. And that makes sense. But my hope is that this leaves people craving more, much more, out of this feature. That those people are vocal about it, and that Nintendo takes notice and realizes a full-fledged Dungeon Creator is a viable and in-demand product.
It's a neat concept but a bit bare from what I played of it, which wasn't much. I suspect that is probably done intentionally so they can later release a full dungeon maker game with more features. Since they have the basic structure and assets for it, I could see (if they are doing one) a full game being released by next summer.