When game developers React Games decided to mix hair metal, knights, Kanye glasses and the “bro” mentatlity, Super Dungeon Bros. was born, kicking and screaming out of the womb like a flaming guitar bursting from a coffin.
At E3 2015, Power Up Gaming got a chance to hold that flaming guitar and strum it with all our might in a 20-minute hands-on XBone demo.
Right out of the gate it’s apparent that Super Dungeon Bros. is just silly, stupid fun in the name of cooperative gaming. With the option of online or couch multiplayer, players can either gather over the internet or cram together on a couch to hack, slash and smash their way to the game’s finale. Players will choose between four bros: Ozzie, Lars, Freddie and Axl- each very appropriately named after real-life rockers. Once the bro is picked, a weapon will then be selected. One of eight weapons that range from hammer to rapier to magic wand will determine each bro’s starting stats such as health and damage. Each weapon also offers combat varietys as the wand and bow will shoot projectile-based attacks and the hammer and rapier will be geared more toward close range combat.
An incredibly enjoyable minor aspect of the game were the small tweaks that gave each bro their identity. Gameplay-wise the bros are carbon copies of each other, but what they lack in mechanical depth they make up for in depth of personality. Ozzie, our personal favorite, is the green bro known for his mischievous antics; with a press of the d-pad Ozzie will let out a cheeky “that’s what she said.” Each bro has their own signature catch phrases they can belt out, which harkens back to the co-op days of TMNT. However, while each ninja turtle had a set weapon, the bros do not, which is a nice little touch that will be sure to have fans rushing to pick their favorite bro/weapon combination.
Once players and weapons are chosen and the game begins, bros then set out in a dungeon in the world of Rokheim defeating wave after wave of enemy to reach the game’s conclusion. Romance, hardship and humor are all promised to the player in the bros’ small tale, but the gameplay will prove to be what keeps them coming back. Super Dungeon Bros features a top-down camera view and has enemies rushing your party from every imaginable angle. The faster you defeat your foes the fewer you have to deal with. However, take too much time in an area and the danger meter will rise. The higher the meter is the more enemies you’ll face. This will encourage parties to always be moving and will reward experienced players for ending battles swiftly.
Combat is straightforward and has bros attacking with both light and heavy attacks. Light attacks can be used in quick succession but deal minimal damage while heavy attacks are slower but hold more force behind each blow. Another small detail developers paid attention to was the button preference some players might have given the contoller they’re using. With the XBone controller, attacks were performed by either the shoulder buttons or the X and Y buttons. Not only that, but while using ranged weapons such as the wand, attacks can be aimed with the right analog stick while movement is controlled with the left- or everything could be controlled by the left. Its a small addition but one that will do wonders for player comfort. The only shaky feature was the jump as either a bunny hop, regular jump or float maneuver could be used to traverse the environment. The bunny hop felt fairly useless as it was hardly a jump at all and the float looked awkward on screen but did come in handy for tricky jumps. However, some slight tweaks on the part of the developers could easily fix these issues.
Last, but arguably the coolest aspect of this bro-filled adventure are the big booms. That’s right, we’re talking about super moves. With a simple input of the shoulder buttons a single bro can start a Bro Nado. This will have him spinning around the stage dealing damage to nearby baddies. Other bros can then increase its damage and join in on the fun by walking into the eye of the bro storm. Before you know it four bros are stacked on top of each other creating a giant, spinning totem pole of doom that will send foes straight to the dark pits from whence they came. If nothing else this move is just satisfying as hell and puts a smile on your face- and really, what more do you need in a game? As far as super moves go that was the only one used in our session but having a myriad of death dealing devastators would be a smart addition.
Fallen bros can either be picked up by their comrades or they can take one of the limited lives the team is given in each dungeon. Bro-specific power ups can also be attained and can buff movement speed, health damage and much more to give that extra oomph needed to take down bosses.
Super Dungeon Bros is simple yet gives enough player choice so gameplay doesn’t immediately stale. There are over 32,000,000 unique dungeon combinations so bros are almost guaranteed to never see the same dungeon twice. Bosses walk that fine line of being difficult but fun to present a fair challenge and level design can be a bit confusing, but is aesthetically pleasing nonetheless. This is a must try for fans of the co-op genre as brawling and puzzle solving are the heart and soul of this wacky beat-em-up adventure.
This title is set to release winter 2015 and will be available on PS4, Xbox One, PC and Mac. Super Dungeon Bros will also feature cross-platform play, so players’ hardware won’t limit the bros they can team up with.
If you crave more inbromation, an exclusive Power Up Gaming interview with Wired Productions Head of Marketing, Adam McGowan and Technical Director at React Games, Tyler LaGrange will be made available shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.