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 procedurally generated dungeons.
It’s also not hard to tell where the game gets it’s inspiration from, Diablo-esque dungeon crawlers are a dime a dozen on platforms such as Steam or the Xbox Store. And while Super Dungeon Bros manages to jump out from among it’s bland peers with colorful heroes and a vibrant Heavy Metal theme, digging deeper reveals that it is not all that it appears to be.
To start with lets get the positives out of the way. Super Dungeon Bros is at its core a co-op experience, with both couch and online co-op available, and that is the best way to play it even though the game can be played solo. Fighting together, throwing each other into enemies or off of ledges is highly enjoyable and perhaps the best aspect of the game.
The dungeons themselves are fairly eye catching aswell, yet still bland, which is nonetheless impressive especially considering that the game does not have the budget some bigger triple A projects might have. They also feature surprisingly well placed and creative traps and obstacles for a procedurally generated game.
Now it’s time for the negatives, and boy are there a lot of them. First up is combat, which is divided into two basic types, Melee and Ranged. Melee weapons range from hammers and swords and ranged weapons range from crossbows and magic staffs with attacks distributed between light, heavy and specials attacks.
The best I can say about combat is that its serviceable, nothing exemplary or even particularly good, but serviceable. You character almost seems to be glued into place when using the light attack with melee weapons that allows enemies to just scurry away, which is frustrating even before you realize that the two main attacks don’t seem to be any different. And for some reason your special attacks don’t seem to regenerate uses as you fight, even when you progress floors, and the only way to regenerate them seems to be to buy them from a merchant that appears occasionally. And with the game being procedurally generated and all, you can already see where I’m going with this.
Aside form the occasional bosses and mini-bosses, the game features a typical and uninspired selection of skeletons and flying eyeballs, whose only advantage seems to be to attack in mobs as they pose little to no challenge individually, especially with all 4 players playing at the same time. They’re just boring and I didn’t feel like any one was stronger or more challenging than the other despite the fact that they do posses very different abilities and varied attack patterns.
My time with the game was also mostly local co-op as I faced severe issues finding a match online again and again. The first time I tried online matchmaking I managed to get stuck in the lobby without anything happening, even though the game had clearly managed to find three other players for me to play with. 20 minutes in, and the only option left was to quit to the menu as the game refused to progress beyond this point.
I’m not trying to say that Super Dungeon Bros is a bad game. It’s not. It’s one that attempts to utilize a tried and tested formula in games, but just falls on the side of mediocrity. What’s even more regretful is that it’s fun and quirky exterior betrays what’s actually inside, a somewhat flawed and highly repetitive game.
Super Dungeon Bros is available now for the PS4, Xbox One, PC and the Mac. It was developed by React Games and published by Wired Productions. This review covers the Xbox One version of the game.
Super Dungeon Bros Review (Xbox One)
Super Dungeon Bros tries to be more than a typical dungeon crawler with its vibrant and colorful exterior, yet falls flat. Mostly because the game's few positives fail to stand out next to the mountain of negatives that plague it.