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EGX Rezzed Preview: Super Dungeon Bros

Grab three of your friends and get ready to rock, smash stuff and kill anything that moves in React Games’ co-op brawler Super Dungeon Bros.

Developer: React Games
Publisher: Wired Productions
Previewed on: Xbox One
Also Available On: PC, PlayStation 4
Release Date: TBA

Part of the ID@Xbox exhibit at EGX Rezzed, Super Dungeon Bros is a rock-themed dungeon brawler that allows up to 4 players to cooperatively destroy everything in their path whilst solving puzzles along the way.

Working with your dungeoning brethren, or “bros”, you journey through the endless ruins of Rökheim, a godforsaken land where wars are waged in dungeons created by the gods themselves. Along the way you will encounter evil to slay, devious booby traps to outsmart and tombs to raid for loot and plunder, all with more rock related puns than an episode of the Flintstones.

This game is designed primarily for co-op play, it’s really not the kind of the game that you can fully appreciate as a single player and working as a team is the only way to survive the endless labyrinth you find yourself in. The difficulty of the game is designed to ramp up considerably depending on the amount of players though so make sure you’ve got team players on standby when the big boss turns up.

When I first sat down to play this game I genuinely found it enjoyable, well once me and three guys I had dragged in to join me were up to speed on the controls, a few deaths may have occurred along the way. During my initial playthrough, I could see how a game of this nature could become dull and predictable with time. That was until I learnt that the dungeons are actually dynamically created, meaning no two levels are ever the same, touché React.

bro1

When the game generates a level at load it not only takes the amount of players into consideration but which characters are playing, meaning that each character has an individual role to play in every game. If you’re playing through a level on your own then the game will purposefully create a level with one-man puzzles whereas if you’ve got a few friends in on the action the game will force you to work together on the puzzles. This ever-changing landscape is a true genius moment from the developers, the amount of replayability now on offer extends as far as the dungeons themselves.

So who are these Super Dungeon Bros anyway? Well, the colourful rock obsessed cast of characters keep the puns coming with apt names like Ozzie, Axl, you get the idea. Each character has their own specific weapons, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, yet another way this game forces you to work as a team in multiplayer. As you work your way through any given level though more abilities and weapons unlock as your “Bro” becomes stronger. In addition, each character has their own special ability, this too becomes stronger as you work your way through the ranks.

The controls for this game are actually really simple to master and for the most part they’re laid out well. The only issue I found was when the time came to work as a team on a cooperative move. There are a number of co-op moves that you will be able to do in the game depending on how many players you have. These may be something simple like picking up another player to throw them across a gap in the path, or as intricate as a four player full on assault. The issue arises from the fact that many of the moves use the same button as the standard single controls meaning that unless the rest of your team are super cooperative and experienced, lining up for a multiplayer move can be a chore. That said having 4 players that didn’t have a clue what to do can be equally amusing as players go flying to their death.

The visuals are polished, the cartoon style backdrops and character models fit perfectly with the tone of the game and the bright colours of the heroes work well against the dark and gloomy setting of the underground dungeons. The graphics and animation impressed me considerably, they are surprisingly smooth and well designed.

bro3

Audio wise, want to have an educated guess? Expect ROCK! Loud, fast rock! The soundtrack is exactly what I’d hope you would expect given all the other references to rock along the way and let’s face it, it’s awesome. In addition, we have the “bro-cabulary”, a lexicon made up of “bro-words”, yep this is a thing. In fact, the developers are eager to hear from gamers on their suggestions for “bro-words” so if you have a good one why not tweet @DungeonBros with the hashtag #BROSB4FOES.

Now as I’ve said previously, this game is made for co-op but don’t worry if your online friends list is a little short because Super Dungeon Bros has another gem, cross-platform multiplayer, the stuff of legends. With Microsoft’s recent announcements concerning how the Xbox One and Windows 10 will integrate gaming, Wired Productions announced that this game will be among the first to fully adopt the cross-device functionality, meaning you could be playing on an Xbox One while three of your mates are sitting at their laptops joining in.

“We’re very excited to feature cross-device multiplayer in Super Dungeon Bros,” said Wired Productions’ Leo Zullo. “Cross-device gameplay has long been a wish of the gaming community. We’ve worked extremely closely with our development partners to make Super Dungeon Bros one of the first titles to support this innovative feature.

PlayStation gamers don’t fret though because they’ve gone one step further and also announced that through a deal with Sony you’ll be able to play PS4 to PC as well, which is superb, fingers crossed on a Vita version in the not too distant future. This forward thinking is something that every developer should be considering, it’s what gamers have wanted for so long and it really extends the appeal of the game moving forward.

Overall Super Dungeon Bros offers a lot in a small package, it’s fun, easy to pick up and play and thanks to the smart dynamic level creation system it offers a huge amount of replayability with friends of all devices.

The game is scheduled for release on the Xbox One, Windows 10, Steam and PlayStation 4 later this year.

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A co-owner of the Palace and the Tech Guru. He also co-hosts "The Geek Show" podcast and hosts "The Unhinged Gamer" videos on TPoW TV. You can catch up by following him on Twitter or (most likely) gaming: PSN: UKMickyJay - XBOX: Micky Jay.

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