Dungeon Punks is a fast-paced “Tag Team Brawler RPG” set in a fantasy world of magic, mystery and monsters. Old school adventure awaits your rag-tag team of heroes in this arcade-style game from Hyper Awesome Entertainment.
As with most new games I play, I like to have a quick browse on the world wide web to find out what exactly I’m about to get myself into. However, what I read about this game gave me no clue. It’s like a collision of colourful genres – fantasy, RPG, brawler. Still, don’t judge a book (game) by its cover, right?
Onwards to battle. I liked the visual style that greeted me in the opening credits. The hand-drawn anime-ish pictures did get me excited for my quest. After all, who doesn’t love busty buccaneer captains and random talking animals telling you that your license to kill has been reinstated? I’m a magical James Bond with scales!
Choosing my character wasn’t so tough – there’s a group of six you can choose from, with a Drakken Scaled Warrior, Golden Knights and Were-Witches on offer, so it really just depends on your preference of fantasy heroes. Apparently this game is multiplayer for up to three players – unfortunately, all of my friends (yes, I have a few) had disappeared at the time of playing and so I had to go solo. Don’t worry, you still get the AI characters to aide you on your mission and if you do find friends to play (or kidnap people off the street) they can join at any time.
Once you’re ready to go, you have to watch a bit of storyline telling you that your team has been hired to help the king and so off you go. The control system is easy: move around with the directional buttons (nope, not even the analogue stick) and press X a lot. It seems like I’ve played a lot of games lately that remind me of Streets of Rage, only this time you’re a dragon/human hybrid fighting monsters. Obviously, the aim of the game is to get through the map of the level killing anything that stands in your way and then defeating the boss. The enemies do get slightly more difficult each time, but you also level up, collect stronger weapons and armour, upgrade your spells and recruit more team members on your journey. It’s like a cartoon Lord of the Rings only without any giant eagle loop-holes in the plot.
As the story progresses you’ll travel across the world map from grassy dales, to floating islands, goblin slums, crystal mines and eventually find yourself fighting the big cheese in “The Nether Realm” *cue dramatic music*. Each level is themed nicely, so you will venture through burning forests, sandy beaches and mythical caves bashing the hell out of goblins, wolves, zombies (etc) as you go. There are plenty of items to collect too, so make sure you scout the “zone” you’re in before moving onto the next section. After completing each level, you will use the souls collected from defeating enemies to level up. Obviously the more souls collected, the more levelling you’ll do. Apart from Health Potions, the main thing to keep your eye out for is a little gem called a Rage Rune. This is a special attack which will deal damage to all bad guys on the map at the time. The more runes you collect before carrying out the attack, the stronger it will be. It’s a great way to turn the tides of a battle.
If you’re running low on energy and you don’t have any health potions left, don’t panic (unless you’re terrible at the game); there are halfway exits on each level where you can return to your ship, equip better armour or level-up your spells and go back (unfortunately, it’ll start from the beginning of the level) but this time you’ll be that little bit stronger. That would’ve made Groundhog Day a lot more interesting.
Another great thing about RPG’s are the side quests. Sure these ones may not be the most in depth story-driven side quests, but they’re there for extra XP and give you a little something extra to do. You’ll encounter plenty of random characters along the way who seem to just be relaxing in the most unusual spots on the map, but what else were they going to do with their Sunday afternoons?
Overall, if you’re looking for an awesome story-driven RPG with stunning graphics and 3D characters, I’d wait for Final Fantasy XV. If you’re looking for a button bashing fighting game, Mortal Kombat was released not so long ago. But if you want something a bit fun, with bits of both genres mixed in and plenty of old fashioned charm, Dungeon Punks is the one for you. When I first started playing, I wasn’t so sure I’d enjoy it – but after a while, I got into the rhythm of things and felt like I was revisiting my childhood with games I played when I was a kid, and that feeling cannot be beaten by any new games no matter how great the graphics or battle mode.
Karl Rating – 7/10