Reading over the presser for this game made me realize I saw what Hyper Awesome was trying to do here, and then the trailer helped to seal the deal as it were and build a loose vision of a world I wanted to be in. The ad focused on a female air ship pirate captain with a bit of an attitude who said that her and the crew were caught up in a mess, but they were going to take care of it, no matter how many lives it cost them, because their death insurance was paid up.
This is an arcade brawler that supports up to three players, but no matter how many people opt in, the party will eventually consist of up to six with the NPCs, three teams of two. The tag team fighting mechanic is interesting, because it can allow for a fun combo system if the player is familiar with the different characters and add a little micromanagement and synergy. This of course can be done to an even greater extent with human partners, as long as everyone works their mojo in unison.
Dungeon Punks makes me think it’s a mash-up of Castle Crashers and Dragon’s Crown in some ways. It’s a hack ‘n’ slash with RPG elements, stats, spells, and gear that players will be upgrading constantly. The game is colorful and I love the sprite models as well as spell effects. Though the levels look nice, they feel repetitive, and the music doesn’t set them apart. All a shame, because the art had me at hello. Many of the quests and side quests feel too similar at times and usually require a specific item or spell, or simply ask that the party kill a boss. What helps Dungeon Punks is the small bit of story it presents and the world building.
The title is based off of the style it mimics and pays homage to, expressing the type of world created here along with an attitude and humor found in the text. This is a genre with a gritty and cynical tone that incorporates cyber/steam punk elements into a mostly high fantasy world, sending the heroes on a type of dungeon crawl to achieve their goal. Trust me—it all fits when it is seen put together. The group of protagonist characters is defined as misfit deliverymen who end up on the wrong side of RezCorp, the local evil corporation that thrives on greed and controls everyone’s ability to resurrect. So now it’s a long tough road that is littered with monsters, mutant creatures, vicious animals, and a few eccentric weirdos that want nothing more than to murder the crew.
Knowing what all obstacles lay in the way, it won’t be surprising when I say the game can be a bit tough. Though the first few levels started off easily enough, there soon became several instances where I had to swallow my pride and let RezCorp do their jobs. I died or exited the stage, heading back to the air ship to level up and switch out gear or learn a new spell, allowing me to go back into battle more powerful and better prepared. There are various characters to choose from, each with different stats and gear, but mostly having a wide array of spells that damage or affect enemies in various ways. I found myself trying out almost every character, but mostly going back to the Templar and Dwarf. The combat has a good pacing and controls well, even if the movement took some getting used to since it feels slow at first, and it is easy to learn the spells, but easier to accidentally cast them and waste mana.
Classic Experience For A New Decade
The developers wanted a classic shared gaming experience, capturing something from their youth, hanging out with friends in the arcade. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that Dungeon Punks is more fun with friends and pizza. My AI partners were fine for the most part, but after they kept standing in fires and other harmful spells, I decided it was time to phone a friend for help. I didn’t get to experience the game with multiplayer as much as I wanted, but I can confirm that the game is more fun and easier this way, but I certainly suggest turning off friendly fire before it costs a few extra premium payments.
There are plenty of strategies to work out, items to fight over, and power-ups to divvy amongst the combatants, but overall it’s the camaraderie and thrill of victory that made me feel the developers at least accomplished some of what they set out to do. There’s something about palling around with a bud and whooping ass while riding a giant creature into battle or becoming a tornado that is reminiscent of Golden Axe or all the fun I used to have with the TMNT arcade games. Also, it certainly has an addicting quality with the grinding, but the multiplayer will be what sells the adventure for most. This is one I actually see myself going back to a few times with a few beers and two friends, in an effort to make some new memories.