By Jonathan Falu / December 29th, 2016
|Title||Super Dungeon Bros|
|Publisher||Wired Productions, THQ Nordic|
|Release Date||November 1, 2016|
|Genre||action, adventure, multiplayer, indie|
|Platform||Steam, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One|
I feel multiplayer games can be a bit more difficult to develop, as you need a strong gimmick and great gameplay to stand amongst the sea of titles out now. It’s why some games like Left 4 Dead 2 are played heavily even now despite being released in 2009. Developed by React Games, Super Dungeon Bros is set to try and find a way to keep players coming back with its emphasis on dungeons, rock and roll, and replayability. Does it succeed on all of these fronts? Well, only one way to find out – read on!
There is hardly any story, as the only hints of a narrative are given at the beginning of each run with an intro cinematic and the ending after completing a dungeon. They always remain the same, revolving around four armored people lured into going into the dungeons for fame and fortune by a magical record player. Despite each of these bros (the game refers to these characters by this word) possessing some quirk, they don’t really display much more of their personalities in the game, and all feel the same. There is nothing to the narrative, not even should you choose to get the four female characters via DLC, who only differ with voices and colors. And they all act the same, barring the female characters that have repetitive dialogue such as “Is this gluten free?” Even the ending is exactly the same for every boss you defeat.
The presentation is fine at first glance. The environments have soft colors and just enough detail to get absorbed into atmosphere. The character models are basic, but almost easy to identify and keep playing. Problems come in with the colors, however. Due to the softer colors, it feels like the characters blend into the background depending on certain stage elements, like the lighting. But the real problem arises when enemies begin rapidly spawning and attacking. Sometimes enemies will come in hordes, nearly filling the screen in multiplayer, making it impossible to tell where you are and how to get out, especially as damage piles up over time. Making matters worse is that the area can actually block things off, like stone cliffs can prevent you from seeing who is hitting you. It’s not often, but it is annoying not being able to just turn the camera. Even enemy variety is hardly existent save for maybe certain types, like spiders. And despite saying the game has a focus on rock and roll, only the music seems to possess that at best, which barely qualifies given how average it feels, lacking anything to get the players pumped up. There is better music, but it’s locked behind DLC.
The designs of the dungeons can get repetitive and boring really quickly. Each level is divided into five areas before facing a major boss, and some parts repeat a lot. The AI for enemies is also pretty bad, as they keep running into traps. Their difficulty comes from large health bars, or (later) summoning more enemies, having barriers, and even regaining health over time. The areas can also get hectic, with many traps in the dungeon activating at once such as statues that spin and shoot arrows, or radial traps that either involve rotating blades or flamethrowers shooting, well, fire. Combine that with the placement of swarms of enemies, and things can quickly result in a game over. Online also featured some glitches, like enemies seemingly vanishing after defeat or the occasional lag. The animation for opening chests is also annoyingly bright, and really not necessary as you scramble to find health and coins before a skeleton or a yeti pound you into the dirt.
Gameplay itself revolves around picking one of the four/eight characters available based on their color, choosing a weapon, going through one of three dungeons, and killing enemies while collecting treasure until you face a giant boss. There are four weapons in total: swords, hammers, bows, and wands. Swords give you the most health and have some fairly decent attack speed. Hammers have a slow attack speed and less health, but their ultimate attack destroys all foes save for bosses or tougher enemies, and also posses “armor” that can help shake off some damage. Bows give you the least health and require reloading, but give the option for long-range combat. Wands function nearly the same, just slower, give a tad more health, and have various effects like piercing enemies, setting them on fire, etc. Characters also possess at least two ultimates to use, such as healing, destroying all enemies, boosting attack power, or doing a tornado attack; the last one felt kind of useless due to the lack of damage output. Sadly, the only way to recharge ultimates is to buy charges from a store you can find inside of the dungeons.
From there, you pick one of three dungeons, though the other two are only unlocked after multiple runs, and it doesn’t even matter if you defeat the big boss either. As you defeat enemies, they drop gold which can be gained for points, and more importantly, to upgrade your character. The upgrades depend on the weapon, so they vary in usage. For example, some can give you more ultimate attack charges, add more arrows to a single shot, add more piercing, etc. There is health in the form of beer in a mug, though these drops felt much rarer. The most important things to look out for, however, are treasure chests. Not only do they give a ton of gold, but they also have a chance to grant a power-up that will stay with you until you get a game over. They are all color-coordinated, and only work with a character sporting the same color. For example, if your ally picks it up instead, neither of you gain a thing. It was also strange how much appeared. Some runs, I barely got a thing, while in others I was given so many, I filled out an entire row. Their effects are decent depending on which one you gain, though the only one that really matters is life steal.
Pages: 1 2Action AdventureIndiemultiplayerreact gamessuper dungeon brosWired Productions