A dungeon-crawler with friends? Couch co-op? All in one game? Sounds a little too good to be true, doesn’t it? The reality is that Super Dungeon Bros is exactly that: a dungeon-crawler that you can play with your mates on one TV – and if you all fit – on one couch with one copy of the game. The problem is that it’s got so much potential, yet it’s not quite reaching for it.
The gameplay is basic but functionally sound. You pick a character, choose a weapon (of which there are only a few to begin with) and you tear it up in the depths of hell. And a brewery. And a jungle. Yeah, it’s a bit odd, just roll with it, man. You’ll start each level at Depth 1 before moving further down the depths of whichever world you’re playing. As you can probably guess, the further down the rabbit hole you venture, the harder the game becomes. However, there’s a nice touch for sadists who love a bit more punishment than your everyday man: you can choose modifiers of sorts before you begin. The modifiers can affect the game greatly by having more enemies during Boss battles, enemies that hit harder, etc, etc. You get the idea.
During my first playthrough, I stupidly activated all of them and thought that because I work for Pure PlayStation I’m immediately granted uber-great gaming skills. Wrong. So. Very. Wrong. I did get pretty far, mind, though by the last stretch I was running away from the bad guys rather than trying to face them head on. Pro tip: leave those modifiers alone on your first go.
After starting again and making my way through the depths of the first world once more, I noticed that it was pretty much more of the same. Combat isn’t especially challenging, nor is it very complex. You have your standard jump button, then there’s two attack buttons, a roll command, and a special attack. Functional, if a little uninspired. Then again, simplicity is what the game goes for so I can’t knock it for making it simple.
On a positive note, the levels are easy on the eye and well designed; there’s some satisfaction to be had from killing off the ghoulies and skeletons without using your own weapon. Levels feature different environmental hazards that don’t just work against you; a swinging axe here, spikes popping up out of the ground there, a rotating axe that you must jump over to avoid being hurt. The nice touch is that you’re not the only one who can be hurt by these things, and if you play it smartly, you can force the evil monsters to run head-first into said hazards. It’s a small touch, sure, but I quite liked it.
By their very nature, dungeon-crawlers are repetitive games that want you to keep going in the promise of finding some sweet loot. Super Dungeon Bros is no different in that respect. You’ll collect gold and use it to upgrade the characters and their weapons, but for me it didn’t really turn the gameplay around in any way and even after having upgraded to the max, I was essentially still doing the same thing: running around, pressing two buttons, and then heading for the end of the level before the threat meter filled up and unleashed all kinds of nasty of my British arse.
Super Dungeon Bros has the potential to be fun, though I think it’s something you’d want to play with some like-minded friends (leave the FIFA bros to FIFA) and really get stuck into it. I managed to get some co-op time with a buddy and it did improve the fun factor (stop stealing my f^&king health!!! That’s my loot you prick!!!) but it might not be enough for some who don’t have the luxury of friendship. Poor sods…
It’s a decent looking game and the cut-scenes were well done with the LEGO Movie-style animation, but for the most part there’s no story worth investing it – not that anyone expected one – and the comedy falls flat on its face at most turns, though there are a few chuckles to be had. To be fair, more laughs are gotten out of the gameplay and the ridiculously tense scurry to the exit once the aforementioned threat meter is full.
Super Dungeon Bros isn’t going to be a game that’s universally loved, that much I know, but for fans of dungeon-crawlers and their ilk, I think there’s something to be had here. Plus, metal-heads will just adore the soundtrack. Not me, mind, as I’m 100% with The Killers until I die and I will not move on that position. It’s a decent game and it’s worth a look, just don’t try venturing into this one solo as the game was obviously meant to be played co-op.
Super Dungeon Bros PS4 Review
Super Dungeon Bros is a simple yet brutal game. If you tackle this beast head-on without a friend of two, you’re probably going to get a wee bit annoyed. However, a few mates really does help pull the fun from within the depths of Super Dungeon Bros and it’s really the only way worth playing.
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*Reviewed using a regular PS4 Slim, not PS4 Pro.