There’s plenty of debate nowadays about what constitutes a ‘full’ recreation. Is a recreation full when it launches, or does it solely cross that threshold when the developer lastly stops updating it? If it’s neither of these, what number of updates or how a lot content material should be added till it’s finished? What about when a recreation is ‘content material full’, and new updates solely tackle minor stability or efficiency tweaks? Such a debate can’t actually have any neat solutions, because it actually relies on every distinctive case. One factor that’s for certain, nonetheless, is that Dungeon Munchies is not a whole recreation. That isn’t to say it’s a foul one, neither is it to say that it received’t finally turn into a very good one, however there’s a definite feeling right here that you simply’re enjoying a recreation that was pulled out of the oven slightly too early.
First, some necessary context. Dungeon Munchies was initially revealed within the December 2021 Indie World Showcase, and it was launched that very same day. To most viewers it might look like one other neat, quirky indie RPG, and in some ways it’s, however there was some essential info neglected of that portion of the Direct. It seems Dungeon Munchies started life in 2019 as a Steam Early Entry title and as of time of writing, it nonetheless hasn’t left Early Entry. What we now have right here is thus a recreation that’s nonetheless actively being labored on, although it’s being introduced as if it’s characteristic full. Once more, that isn’t essentially a foul factor, nevertheless it feels slightly underhanded on condition that Dungeon Munchies very a lot feels like a recreation nonetheless in beta.
We’ll begin with the excellent news. Dungeon Munchies locations you within the position of a zombie delivered to life by the ghost of a necromancer named Simmer. Simmer was evidently a superb cook dinner whereas she was nonetheless alive, and he or she merely refuses to die till she will increase a protégé who she feels can adequately keep on her legacy of getting ready wonderful delicacies. It simply so occurs that sourcing a lot of the supplies for her dishes requires you to battle all kinds of monsters and food-based mutants, so that you set out on an journey throughout a dirty, underground world in pursuit of recipes and components to construct your cooking acumen.
It’s an amusing premise proper from the off, and it’s written with loads of humor and wit all through. It seems a lot of the meals you’re after isn’t an enormous fan of your voracious consumption habits, so that you’ll usually be reprimanded and debated with by all types of vegetables and fruit who resist your efforts to turn into a cook dinner worthy of Simmer’s legacy. This moment-to-moment humor is sort of compelling, although the underlying story is sadly hardly ever as much as the duty.
You’re hardly ever (if ever) given any cause for why you’re on this bizarre complicated, so that you simply sort of drift from place to put as a result of there’s nowhere else to go and never for any concrete story causes. What’s evidently supposed to really feel like one massive, linked complicated shortly devolves to feeling like a set of ranges which can be simply tossed at you one after one other. This lackluster story isn’t an excessive amount of of a detrimental, nonetheless, as that is primarily a gameplay-first motion platformer.
The issue, after all, is that the gameplay isn’t all that nice both. The everyday move of a stage consists of you platforming by way of a sequence of claustrophobic tunnels crammed with varied creatures and meals that you simply combat in simple motion fight. Once in a while, you come throughout a camp that offers you an opportunity to heal and tweak gear, you then transfer on to the subsequent gauntlet. Assume Lifeless Cells, however simply method much less polished.
The primary issues rear their head with the motion, which feels a lot too unfastened and shoddy for a recreation that usually calls for precision. Leaping between slender platforms or round dangerous spikes can usually be an train in frustration as a result of your zombie doesn’t at all times go the place it feels they need to. Generally you land on a platform after which slide off the aspect. Generally the arc of your bounce is weirdly brief. Generally your double bounce simply doesn’t work. You by no means really feel such as you’re absolutely in command of your zombie, and this may result in loads of moments the place errors really feel unearned.
Past this, the fight is comparatively shallow and doesn’t characteristic the sort of visible suggestions you’d anticipate. You may dodge roll and use varied gear like swords, bows, spears, and shields to beat your foes, however fight is commonly a complicated and relatively unsatisfying amalgamation of results and assaults. Your assaults don’t make the enemies flinch or react in any significant method, nor do enemy assaults produce any form of stun results or reactions in your zombie. Fight thus feels stilted and unnatural as you mainly commerce blows and watch the identical extraordinarily fundamental assault animations play out whereas well being values slowly lower.
Felled foes will usually drop goodies, and these can then be taken again with you to a checkpoint the place you’ll be able to then convert them into meals objects or gear to offer you an edge in battle. It’s a rote crafting system that you simply’ve seen finished a billion instances earlier than in video games, nevertheless it introduces some wanted selection to the stiff fight. Meals objects are particularly fascinating, as you’ll be able to solely have seven bits of meals in your abdomen at one time. They keep there indefinitely, however you’ll be able to change them out any time in camps to offer your self new results. For example, perhaps you don’t want that poison impact in your assaults anymore and change the meals out as an alternative for one with a passive regen impact. Meals objects permit you to create gentle ‘builds’ to your zombie, and unlocking extra as you discover new ingredient sorts offers you extra potential choices. This meals system thus helps to make fight slightly extra dynamic as you’ll be able to introduce new results over time, however there’s solely a lot that this relatively fundamental crafting system can do to salvage the widely weak fight.
As for its presentation, Dungeon Munchies undoubtedly leaves one thing to be desired right here. We really feel particular point out must be made from the horrible efficiency, which regularly can hinder the already middling gameplay. It appears Dungeon Munchies is focusing on 30 FPS, nevertheless it wildly dives and soars relying on what’s taking place on the display screen, and this may throw you off fairly a bit. There have been many cases we encountered the place dropped frames triggered the sport to misinterpret our inputs and triggered us to overlook a platform or roll too late to dodge an assault. For a recreation as visually easy as Dungeon Munchies, that is merely inexcusable.
In the meantime, the visuals are respectable, although the general impact is as soon as once more underwhelming. For one factor, there’s nothing like cool backgrounds or adjusted coloration palettes to meaningfully differentiate zones from one another, so it simply feels such as you’re traipsing by way of one very lengthy, very repetitive cave. Worse but, it appears like there are a lot of animations which can be simply plain… not there. For instance, you get hold of the flexibility to wall bounce after defeating a sure boss, however whenever you truly do that maneuver, your zombie simply retains their similar fundamental standing animation as they awkwardly float/hop their method up the aspect. It’s a disgrace, too, as most of the sprites are drawn with some good element and genuinely look good, however the total artwork route is simply lackluster — no less than at this stage.
Dungeon Munchies is the sort of recreation that feels prefer it may be good in one other two or three years. Regardless of the shoddy visuals, terrible efficiency, sloppy motion mechanics, and unoriginal crafting techniques, it appears like there may very well be a very good recreation someplace in right here. With a number of tweaks, this fight system might need some promise, and the core loop of crafting—preventing—repeat looks like an fascinating riff on the primary thought of Monster Hunter. Sadly, that potential has but to totally current itself right here — that is an Early Entry launch with all the problems and lack of cohesion that suggests. We’d suggest you cross on Dungeon Munchies, and as an alternative counsel both trying into Lifeless Cells or Dragon: Marked for Demise. There are some high quality traits right here, nevertheless it’s not sufficient to redeem Dungeon Munchies.