Super Dungeon Bros. (Xbox One) Review

By Nikola Suprak 19.05.2018

Review for Super Dungeon Bros. on Xbox One

A good local multiplayer experience has become increasingly hard to find in the days of high speed Internet and online co-op. It used to be a huge feature in games, and now even those that prominently feature their multiplayer often leave options for local co-operative play in the dustbin of their design document. Super Dungeon Bros., fortunately, allows you to enjoy all its hackin' and slashin' glory either alone or with friends, either online or offline. It bills itself as a dungeon brawler that is a little bit Diablo and a little bit Castle Crashers, and a little bit Ambien. While the dedication to local co-op is great in an era that is increasingly abandoning it, unfortunately this game doesn't do enough to warrant rounding up your friends, unless you wanted to let them know in a passive aggressive way that you have always secretly hated them. After Cubed3's original PS4 review, now it is time to check it out on Xbox One.

Super Dungeon Bros. starts with three BROS bro-ing out in their bro-cave. A fourth BRO shows up with a record he bought that plays some very unbro-like music. Bro, come on. Fortunately, this is the special kind of record that transports them into a world full of monsters to defeat to win them honour and respect from their peers. That's basically all the story there is, but this is veiled within a sort of tongue-in-cheek style humour about all the bros and broettes (female bros. that are currently available as DLC). The bros. must save the world from various forces of evil and get some sweet cash they can use to buy upgrades or better weapons. There isn't too much plot here, which is good because what little is here is borderline annoying. It is one of those games that thinks it's funnier than it is, and whenever someone is talking, it feels like it drags on forever. Luckily, the developer seemed to realise this, because, as said, there is almost no story here at all.

Screenshot for Super Dungeon Bros. on Xbox One

This is a procedurally-generated dungeon brawler, with all of the good and bad things that come with that. The good news is things in here largely work. It controls fine, combat is fine - everything is just fine. It manages, then, to pass the "did the developer know what it was doing" test, but beyond being functional, there isn't much else to say about the combat system. There are two broad classes of weapons at the start - the sword and the crossbow - but, unfortunately, the sword is much more useful and the crossbow just doesn't have the speed or ease of use of the sword, and while the levels are procedurally generated, that doesn't necessarily make them feel unique between playthroughs.

Games like this are meant to be replayed, but if someone replays this they will notice how similar things are almost immediately. This isn't Binding of Isaac with hundreds of enemies, power-ups, rooms, content, and all those good things. Regardless of how these levels are put together, it feels almost identical to the one before it because there is not enough variety in enemy type and there isn't the proper emphasis put on unique power-ups or skills to cause subsequent playthroughs to significantly change.

Screenshot for Super Dungeon Bros. on Xbox One

It also doesn't help things that the combat is painfully dull. This is a brawler, so it might be anticipated that there is a fair amount of button mashing. Unfortunately, that is really all Super Dungeon Bros. has to offer. There are new and stronger weapons to unlock along the way, either by playing traditionally and grinding, or sucking it up and diving headfirst into the microtransaction system, but there isn't a lot that distinguishes one weapon from the next, and essentially all that anyone needs to do is mash the attack button for as long as possible and hope for the best.

There isn't a lot of strategy here, and while there are a couple of special attacks, it doesn't do enough to vary the gameplay in the long term. Alternating between basic, strong, and super attacks is pretty much the extent of the gameplay here and, with so many similar enemies lining up through so many similar corridors, what you are really going to end up fighting here is your urge to sleep. Overall, this is just a very basic experience where everything works but there is nothing exciting about any of it.

The game also seems pretty desperate to have people finish playing it. The longer that is spent in the dungeon, the harder it becomes, so it is incumbent upon the player to get through the hordes of enemies as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this really isn't the kind of title that begs for a speed-run as the controls are not as slick or smart enough to really allow for that kind of gameplay.

Screenshot for Super Dungeon Bros. on Xbox One

Also, because of this, the game becomes significantly less enjoyable to play in single-player because with only one player it is annoying when trying to speed through the dungeon. A good four-player party works well for this kind of set up, but a single-player, or a couple of partners that are AWOL, can make this whole experience borderline frustrating. The game isn't even that enjoyable to begin with, so the extra layer of frustration makes things almost not worth playing. They simply did not put enough effort into balancing the action for both single-player and multiplayer, and it feels like a lazy "one-size-fits-all" approach, in an effort to save some time designing it in the first place.

The bigger issue here is that this is a multiplayer-centric experience that doesn't have the chops to cultivate a robust multiplayer fan-base. Even when it was first released, it could be tough to find a game. Nowadays, though, the online is almost completely barren and no one has really stuck around this long because it wasn't worth sticking around for. This isn't one of those big roguelikes that has a robust following. There simply isn't enough variety here, even considering it is a roguelike, and while the exact layout might change, everything begins to feel the same after a while. This isn't the kind of game someone is going to want to jump back into a month down the line, and as such the online multiplayer has stagnated and died. Which is a shame, because multiplayer is the only way this is remotely tolerable, so unless there are some nearby friends that are also extremely interested in hack and slash titles, it is unlikely you are going to be able to get a good group going.

Screenshot for Super Dungeon Bros. on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Super Dungeon Bros. is one of those games that is best described as inoffensive. It doesn't do anything wrong, but at the same time it doesn't do anything right, either. It is a perfectly fine multiplayer experience for roughly an hour or so, before things start to get boring and blend together. Single-player is not nearly as enjoyable, and the online player-base is essentially completely dead, but if you can wrangle up a friend (or three), there are certainly worse ways to spend an afternoon. It just feels like there wasn't very much thought put into the development here, and this largely feels like a passionless effort into the realm of co-operative gaming. This is essentially Castle Crashers without the style, charm, or good design, so this only comes with the most tepid of recommendations if, and only if, someone has completely exhausted all their options in the hack and slash genre.

Developer

React Games

Publisher

Wired Productions

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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