In a weird world where games can have kids, The Binding of Isaac and a beat-’em-up have a baby. Super Dungeon Bros is the result.
Brought to us by React Games, Super Dungeon Bros is a dungeon-crawler/beat-’em-up style co-op experience, which allows up to four players to ‘crawl’ through light-hearted and challenging dungeons together. One tiny problem, however - the multiplayer doesn’t seem to work.
Booting up the game, Super Dungeon Bros presents a fairly standard main menu. Things work well on both a keyboard and mouse or a gamepad. Everything is nice and clean, as well as functional, and the audio is fitting. All is well until you attempt to start a multiplayer game - inviting a friend to a lobby works as it should, but as you start to search for other players in the matchmaking, things fall apart. It isn’t too long before you realise that either the matchmaking is not working, or there simply aren’t enough players on the game to find a match. However, upon further inspection, it certainly leant more towards the matchmaking not working, as we could not find a match at all, even with each other.
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After searching for a fair amount of time, the game always seems to crash for anyone who is not the host of a session. They never even make it to a loading screen 90% of the time, and if they do, the chance of getting into the game itself is below zero.
Luckily, Super Dungeon Bros’ single player/local play works just fine.
Super Dungeon Bros plays a lot like games such as The Binding of Isaac. It is a dungeon crawler/beat ‘em up offering a wide selection of weapons to dispatch your foes with. There are four different characters to choose from, each with a different primary colour and voices/lines, and there are different upgrade ‘trees’ for each weapon and character combo.
There are tooltips that pop up throughout the game, though they mostly aren’t needed. The game itself is fairly self-explanatory - after a quick intro cut scene explaining the loose, filler story, you are thrown into a dungeon and tasked with killing everything in your way. That is essentially all there is to the core gameplay, but this is obviously supported by all the extra layers. Things such as boss fights, upgrades and the threat system add more and more to the game as you progress and discover each new thing. If you choose not to ignore the tooltips, you may not even notice many of the things altering the experience until you actively seek out their purpose.
One of these gameplay altering effects are the glowing orbs which give you permanent upgrades in each level. These generally drop from bosses/mini bosses, however, there are other ways of acquiring them. These upgrades can range from slightly more damage against certain enemies to extra health or a life-steal effect.
Along the way you will also come across mid-dungeon shops. At each shop you have the option of purchasing an extra life, filling up your health bar, or purchasing extra damage. We found that 90% of the time the best option was to either save the money for upgrading your character in-between dungeons or purchasing an extra life if getting low.
For your first few run-throughs of the dungeons, you will most likely struggle a little as you learn the mechanics of each enemy and your own character. However, it is a game that has a fairly small learning curve for ‘mastery’. While there is always room to improve, it isn’t too long before most people will at least be good enough players to confidently slash and shoot their way through each dungeon.
One of the first issues that everyone will come across is the fact that your character cannot move at all while using a melee weapon. (It isn’t so much of a problem with ranged weapons). No matter whether it’s a light or heavy attack, you will be glued in place the second you start to attack anything, which can be extremely bad while being overwhelmed by hordes of enemies. It is for this reason that we opted for using ranged weapons the majority of the time, and this did, in fact, make things slightly easier, which indicates some slight balancing issues. However, this isn’t a huge issue as it can still be quite a challenge in the later dungeons.
Super Dungeon Bros has a fairly unique visual style, especially in the cut scenes. At first glance, these cut scenes look low quality, but after a short while the smaller details show through and you start to become accustomed to the style. They are extremely fluid and have very quirky elements.
In-game, the visuals hold their own just fine. The game is suitably pretty without being totally over-the-top for a dungeon crawler, allowing gamers with lower specs the chance to play along. Each animation is of a high standard, and breaking apart boxes and barrels can be very satisfying.
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The sound experience in Super Dungeon Bros is satisfactory at the least. It won’t leave you in awe, however, it will keep up with the standard of the rest of the game - keeping the experience as a whole glued together.
Super Dungeon Bros is a decent dungeon crawler that leans more to the casual side of the genre. It has pretty visuals, though they aren’t anything to write home about, the sounds are fine, but not amazing, and the game plays quite well the majority of the time. The threat system adds another element to the mix to spice things up, though we do feel it is vastly under-used. For its price, Super Dungeon Bros is an above average experience but obviously isn’t the absolute best option out there for fans of the genre.
This review was performed using the PC version of Super Dungeon Bros, your experience may vary per platform. All screenshots captured by the author.