Dungeons are freely explorable locations in which the player can encounter roving enemy units and battles that are of a smaller scale than a standard story battle. They are entered from the world map. In both Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia, they contain statues of Mila, which must be accessed in order for characters to promote to new classes.
In Gaiden, dungeons are depicted from a top-down perspective typical of JRPGs of the game's era. Shadows of Valentia features fully modeled 3D environments that are explored from a third-person, behind-the-back perspective with more complex dungeon design. Another difference between Gaiden and Shadows of Valentia is the latter's use of a fatigue system that affects the player's units as they fight in dungeons.