The title to this game is a bit misleading. When I saw that I was reviewing Super Dungeon Bros, I assumed that this game would rely heavily on platforming. I was wrong; this game plays more like Gauntlet and that alone brought back some great memories. Unfortunately, while the game does play like Gauntlet, the developers decided to add in some platforming, but I’ll get to that later. React Games made a charming, Diablo like romp for friends to enjoy and I salute them for that. For far too long couch co-op has taken the wayside to online co-op, but React Games offers both in Super Dungeon Bros, and I couldn’t be happier. Now if I could only find some friends.
The story, as in most indie games, is pretty sparse. One of the four brothers comes back to his abode with a new record. For those of you who don’t know what a record is, its a large black disc that plays music on a turn-table and it is the absolute best way to play music. So the brother with the record begins to play it, much to the chagrin of his siblings. After they protest a bit he starts to play the record backwards and some ghoulish voice tells them of a quest they must undertake. After discussing it with the disembodied voice and learning they will acquire better instruments, fame and possibly women, they hop into the portal only to be whisked away to a very dangerous dungeon. When you get to the dungeon you realize that you’re not in the platformer that you had hoped you would be. Instead you find yourself in an isometric world where skeletons and witches want to kill you.
Controls are quite simple for you and your friends to master. To jump all you need to do is press A, but I will warn you it is a very laggy jump for some reason. I fell off the platforming sections a few times due to the jump and the fact that my destination was difficult to see because of the isometric level. The designs of the levels, while very gothic and easy to find your way, mean that the upper part of the dungeon will get in your way if you are in a lower level. A few times I could not locate enemies or loot because the bridges overhead blocked my sight to them, which was a huge drawback. Right Trigger is attack and Right Bumper is heavy attack, which for me is easy since I play a lot of Dark Souls. Left Trigger is roll, which is something you must get good at if you play alone because man do you get swarmed by the enemies. Should you come to a level in your travels all you have to do is press B and a bridge will appear or a door will open. When you are completely overwhelmed by enemies or a massive boss just press Y; you will loose a super move that causes massive damage. However, choose when you use this wisely as you can only use it twice until you level it up or purchase more power. The game is kind to you though in case you misuse your special attacks. With the Left Bumper you can pick up bombs and the like to toss at hordes of enemies and bosses.
As I said prior, the dungeons are beautifully designed aside from higher levels blocking the player’s vision from some pretty important aspects of the game. There were times when I couldn’t see an important chest or the enemy that continued to berate me with arrows. There is no camera control and I couldn’t swivel everything around to see what I was missing. This small but glaring error made getting through some dungeons quite difficult. The platforming in this game while minimal wasn’t thought out too properly. The way the levels are designed makes it difficult to gauge where to jump from and where to jump to. My poor little Dungeon Bro fell to his demise several times before I could nail the jumps. The sluggish jump button did not assist either; if Lara Croft jumped like this she would have never made it to twenty. As I went from floor to floor in the dungeons I realized that this game was built for co-op. I had an insanely difficult time playing through alone, and would have loved to have had some assistance, whether that be on the couch or online. Having a buddy would make this game more enjoyable and you won’t feel that your life is empty.
I enjoyed this little title. Hopefully in the future some Xbox One buddies will grab this and we can have some online co-op fun, like adults are supposed to. Even though there are some drawbacks with the level design it didn’t take away my enjoyment, just one or two of the four precious lives I had. If you don’t have any co-op friends or ones that may be interested in buying this title in the future then I would hold off. It is fun alone, but I’d rather pop in Diablo and play that alone instead of Super Dungeon Bros. I do think that this would be a fun party game though, if you can afford four controllers and still some booze for a guy’s night in. That is one thing from my past that I miss: drinking and gaming with the boys. Parents and kiddos could have a gas with this as well, but seeing as I hear no pitter patter of footsteps I’ll be content playing this alone until I can blackmail a buddy into buying it.
An Xbox One Review Code for Super Dungeon Bros was provided by Wired Productions/THQ Nordic for the purpose of this review