Dungeon Punks - Better With a Friend - PS4 Review

We’ve all that “that” job where regardless of what you do, nothing goes right. Unfortunately for Captain Firelle, she’s currently got “that” job. Having hired a bunch of punks hasn’t helped either as a simple delivery of priceless pots to royalty now has her minions scouring the lands to stop pyromancers and other unsavory types to make up for breaking everything. Being a very dangerous endeavor and knowing that life just isn’t fair, the Captain takes out some life insurance for the punks through RezCorp. This wonderful company will bring these punks back to fighting shape with life insurance that keeps on going and bringing them back into fighting shape as long as the premium is paid for.

Dungeon Punks is a Side Scrolling RPG Brawler that is better with friends as long as the friendly fire option is disabled which starts off enabled. The first hour between myself, Richard, and my Brother was hectic and at times aggravating as while it didn’t cause any damage, smacking each other while trying to smack the enemy was not conducive to proper friendships and real world survival. Turning this feature off makes everything much smoother and creates a better immersion* as it becomes much easier to get along as it really is easy to smack your ally upside the head with Friendly Fire on. Punks.

Making things a bit more interesting is that Dungeon Punks isn’t afraid of laying the smackdown on the player. The punks have life insurance! So why not? Hyper Awesome Entertainment have made something with this idea that comes across as fun and challenging but never is it overly cruel. There are RPG Brawlers out there that are punishing and the end of a stage won’t be seen until enough meager experience is accumulated but that isn’t the case here. Stages while they do have an end goal contain quests and various exits for the party to leave without penalty. Out of potions and low on health? Head to an exit in order to possibly level up with the gathered experience, maybe learn a new spell or two, and equip or buy newer and more powerful equipment.

This really is a different approach as it lets the player, or players, make the choice as to how far do they push before heading back in order to put the scales more in their favor. This deviation from the norm of the style is very welcomed and it removes that frustrating feeling of not being able to get to the boss of the stage without a few repeated trips and falling short every time since your party is not a high enough level. The feeling in a manner is still there but it is hidden by the progress of leveling up and getting new and shiny loot even if you do keep seeing some of the same stage portions. If pushed too far and the punks are shown who’s really the boss (aka minions can sometimes win), then it’s curtain on the stage and a portion of the experience gained is lost. Once the results are in, the party gains the remaining experience and levels up if they can and are then brought back to the hub in order to prepare for the next sortie.

Starting from the beginning, the Captain has hired six punks in order to get the job done. Each character has their own positive and negative boosts to stats as well as weapons that they are proficient with. Either solo or in coop, three of these punks can be chosen to hit the field in the beginning. Once bosses have been defeated then the others can be unlocked one at a time which adds in the next interesting feature. Once unlocked, the other characters can be doubled up with the existing ones to hit the field allowing them to be switched between at will which is where the tag-team comes into play. By the time that the six punks are unlocked for use, then every player, CPU or not, has access to two characters making it easier to make it further with more health and combat options available to tear through the enemies that stand in your way.

Gameplay and combat is simple enough but never is it boring. Punks can move freely around the maps which are connected by passageways and entrances that are spread out like a labyrinth of tiles that spice up the adventure because they don’t tell you where to go. There are many dead ends, and sometimes there are what look like dead ends until you grab a quest that brings you there. It’s still a dead end but it at least has a purpose. Oddly enough though only the D-Pad can be used in order to move around these maps and not the joystick which takes some time to get used to. Other than that little detail things move fairly well thereafter, though, it seemed a bit laggy at times with all the special moves when three people were playing together compared to playing solo with the CPU.

With enemies in sight, or friendly fire on, it doesn’t take long to get used to hitting things! There is a single button for:
-    Attacking with a weapon;
-    Blocking;
-    Using items;
-    Using character specific special abilities; and
-    Using spells which can be done by combining the spell button an arrow on the D-Pad or the weapon attack for a weapon specific spell.
Attacking is really simple as a player really does just need to hit the attack button which swings a weapon and combos enemies that then fly backwards once it's over. Spells on the other hand use an interesting approach as they need mana in order to cast but that mana needs to be gained first. Hitting enemies or waiting on standby (if tag teaming is available at that point) will fill up the mana meter allowing for a punk to unleash either their own or their weapon’s magic. Regardless of the magical option, it’s quite satisfying.

Between every mission the punks will find themselves on the world map in which they can either dive into mayhem or explore the small ship that contains the vendors. There’s isn’t much to do on this flying boat but then again, with everything to smack on the ground, being done quickly is a benefit to the gameplay. There are two real vendors on the ship, one for spells and one for equipment. Spells can be purchased with scrolls when the party has them and these scrolls are for the party and not individual punks. Some consideration should be given to which spells are to be learned or upgraded.

In the same vein, equipment can be bought with gold and each piece is unique in the fact that it can only be used by one person and not by whoever can use that style of equipment. Each punk is his or her own person and deserves their own gear. If they aren’t happy with this then an actual pvp location can be flown to as long as a stage has been cleared for the players to get their frustrations with one another out of their system. Good luck to the player that did NOT get the new powerful item!

Dungeon Punks is a fun Brawler that offers plenty of gameplay and a hilarious storyline that only goes from bad to worse for Captain Firelle and her crew of hired misfits. If you’ve been needing to beat up on lots of bad guys or show a friend who’s boss? Dungeon Punks has you covered!

*My Brother’s immersion “was ruined” (dramatic much?) as Richard kept dropping bombs like it was his job. Being a Dwarf it really was as it was a very powerful attack. I couldn’t blame him, but then again, I wasn’t getting hit by those! Immersion was restored after Friendly Fire was turned off.

Game Information

PlayStation 4
Hyper Awesome Entertainment LLC
Hyper Awesome Entertainment LLC
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Article by Pierre-Yves
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