Super Dungeon Bros Review

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Posted November 7, 2016 by Josh Brant in Video Games

Developer: React Games

Publisher: Wired Productions

Release Date: November 1, 2016

Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), Xbox One, Windows PC

Super Dungeon Bros sounds epic upon first listen. Set in the realm of Rökheim, Super Dungeon Bros follows the adventures of four heroes Axl, Lars, Freddie, and Ozzie, characters obviously named after some of the biggest names in heavy metal music, as they traverse and plunder through a multitude of hardcore procedurally generated dungeons. While the game can be random fun playing with up to 4 players, there are quite a few things keeping this from being the rock n’ roll epic it tries to set out to be.

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Hardcore Inspiration

First things first, it’s not hard to tell where the game bases its inspiration from, mainly Diablo and Gauntlet. There’s your basic light and heavy attacks, a dodge/roll, a jump button, and of course a special attack which will usually clear out many of the enemies near you. The best thing about this game is the ability to play co-op both off and online with up to four players which can make the hack and slashing a little fun at least. Just don’t expect any stability or the servers to find any other players with Super Dungeon Bros. It’s basically a ghost town and it would have been nice for React Games to have incorporated some type of AI controlled character in solo mode. Once you select your character, you can choose from melee weapons such as swords and axes, as well as ranged, which involve magic staves and bows to suit your gameplay style. Unfortunately, the controls feel stiff and don’t provide the satisfaction of performing well-timed blows against the enemy.

On your adventure, you will slay a multitude of the same enemies who only change appearance when different environments are introduced. The different enemies you face are really not all that different, you will mainly be facing melee styled enemies with an occasional ranged magic and bow enemy popping up every now and then. The bosses could have been a bright spot, but unfortunately devolve into the same pattern of finding their attack patterns and then exploiting it. They are easily dealt with much like their minions and are not as epic as the game plays them out to be.

As you make your way through the dungeons there is a threat gauge which gradually fills over time giving a nice risk/reward mechanic to proceedings.  You will be choosing between slowly exploring the levels for all the gold but in turn making the levels harder, or just running though them as quickly as possible to beat the difficulty increase. While the gameplay is stiff, the movement feels somewhat loose and the way the attacks are mapped to the shoulder buttons on the default setting makes the game not enjoyable to play, and in fact can make your fingers ache.

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Heavy Metal Tedium

Once the initial premise wears off, the combat can become quite boring. This is especially the case when enemies tend to swarm and annoy you with cheap hits as you go through the levels. You will also learn the hard way that you don’t regenerate your special attacks as you fight, instead you have to purchase them with your funds from breaking barrels, opening chests, and defeating enemies. Regenerating your super/special meter is usually standard fare when playing most games, so to have to buy them from a vendor is definitely off-putting.

The levels themselves have some charm to them, bringing in bright and colorful visuals, but become very repetitive as you keep moving through the different levels since there is no exploring in Super Dungeon Bros. The minimap HUD is fully complete in every level you begin in, removing the need for exploration. There are a couple of offshoot paths, but they do not really deviate away from the main path you need to follow, and you see them all clearly from the minimap. If you do decide to head down these paths where a treasure chest is waiting for you, do not expect to find anything interesting, just coins and more enemies.

The developers did an awesome job of selling this little Diablo clone with an intriguing premise and description, however, once you delve in, is anything but epic. The opening cinematic looks promising enough and there’s a certain level of satisfaction with design of the game, but in the end it’s a Castle Crashers clone with none of the fun and joy the previous hack and slasher gave us. It’s a shame, because it’s fun and quirky exterior masks what is actually inside, a deeply flawed and highly repetitive title.


About the Author

Josh Brant

I love God, my family, friends, sports, and the greatest hobby of all: video games! You can reach me on twitter @minusthebrant.