Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Dungeon Punks Review (XONE)

It has been a long time since side-scrolling 2D beat-em-ups were vogue, but Dungeon Punks comes to Xbox One as a fairly solid addition to the genre.  By combining simple combat with RPG mechanics and a decent loot system, Dungeon Punks is surprisingly fun, particularly in co-op.  It is also pretty funny with some smart writing, too.  See all of the details in our full Dungeon Punks review.

Game Details

  • Publisher: Hyper Awesome Entertainment
  • Developer: Hyper Awesome Entertainment
  • ESRB Rating: “E10” for Everyone 10+
  • Genre: Beat-em-up RPG
  • Pros: Co-op; good loot; funny dialogue
  • Cons: Stiff, repetitive gameplay
  • MSRP: $15

Dungeon Punks features a ragtag crew of warriors taking on dangerous missions in a fantasy world ruled by the nefarious RezCorp.  RezCorp provides life insurance – they resurrect you instead of giving your family money – at a steep price, so crossing them is the last thing any sane person would do.  I won’t say much more, but the story overall is just sort of okay.  It is punctuated, however, by some really funny dialogue that keeps you invested and laughing even if you don’t care what’s actually going on.  Seriously, they just went nuts with the dialogue to the point of full-on ridiculousness.  I love it.

The gameplay in Dungeon Punks is a 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up similar to the Dungeons & Dragons arcade games or classic Konami arcade brawlers.  You choose a class to play as – each one has unique attacks and weapons and magic – and then proceed through each level killing every enemy you see.  You play as a group of 3 – either you and 2 A.I. partners or with up to two other human co-op players – and brawl your way through room after room after room of enemies.  The game also has RPG elements where each character levels up and gets more powerful and there are random loot drops with new weapons and items you can use.  Between levels, or if you die, you return to your ship where you can equip different weapons and magic or buy new stuff.  It is all pretty standard beat-em-up faire, really. 

I have to admit, though, that Dungeon Punks makes a pretty darn poor first impression.  The combat is really, really stiff and the characters attacks seem to have no reach at all.  It feels stiff and clunky and just plain not very fun at first.  If you stick with it, though, things start to get better.  Once you get used to the range of your attacks and get into the rhythm of the gameplay, it can be pretty fun.  And its even more fun when you start leveling up and getting better magic and weapons and can start really doing some serious damage.  Playing co-op also really enhances the experience as well, but that’s true for every beat-em-up.

Here’s a couple tips that will help you get into the game easier as well.  The game defaults to movement only with the D-Pad.  Why they would do this is a mystery, but you can turn on analog stick movement in the options, which I highly recommend.  I also recommend turning off  “friendly fire” in the options, because constantly hitting your co-op partners or friendly A.I. because they’re dumb and in your way is just no fun. 

The presentation is only okay but the character designs are pretty awesome.  You play as a werefolf, lizard man, and more and they all look great.  The animation is a little stiff and stilted, however.  The environments are also a little bland and repetitive, too, but it all comes together fairly cohesively in the end. 

It takes a level or two to “click”, but once you get into the rhythm of the gameplay Dungeon Punks is a surprisingly fun co-op beat-em-up.  The RPG elements and loot – not to mention 6 different playable characters – give the game a lot of variety as there are always new toys to play with and things to do.  Beat-em-up fans should definitely check it out.
 Disclosure: A review code was provided by the publisher