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In the world of 2D platformers, the last thing I expected to come across was a zombie cooking action game thrown in. That’s exactly what Dungeon Munchies is. Released on PC and Nintendo Switch this fun indie title has a lot to offer but could do with a little longer in the oven.
Dungeon Munchies Premise
The game’s basic premise is that you die… and get reanimated as a zombie minion of Simmer, the undead necro-chef who wants to escape this underworld. All is not as it seems and the more you begin your ascent upwards, the more the strange lives of the creatures inhabiting this place unravel before you. The game’s story plays out with a lot more depth the more you get into it. You learn more about Simmer, her friends, and the enemies along the way. The comedy is actually pretty funny, if not a little gross in places!
The game feels familiar with its side-scrolling navigation through the world below as you slowly make your ascent upwards to escape.
The RPG element of the game centers around gear and abilities. Abilities are learned through the game’s central mechanic. Cooking food! Well, less food and more literally any bits that fall off the creatures and monsters you kill. These ingredients make all sorts of weird and wonderful “foods and drinks”. Consuming them grants you specific powers or buffs. Higher jumping, different effects on weapons like poisons or lightning, and increases in resistance and health.
In addition, with materials and some of these ingredients, you can craft a variety of weapons like bows, swords, staffs, and axes and off-hand items like shields and magic dealing objects. Deciding what to eat and abilities to use along with what items you use will aid you on your quest.
The controls for the game are interesting on the Switch. The game was originally released on PC, and it feels like the controls were designed with that in mind. The aim mechanics feel a little slippery with a joystick so it can be hard to line up attacks properly. This is especially true in the bigger battles with many enemies on the screen.
This unfortunately doesn’t translate well to jumping. The game uses precision platforming systems, but because the controls feel slightly off, it can be challenging and annoying to perform properly executed jumps.
The other aspect that was a bit of a let-down during the playthrough is that combat felt a little easy… as did traversing the world. I was more going through the motions than having to be tactically minded. I presume this wouldn’t be the case on higher difficulty settings, but I never felt much in peril as I played.
Visuals and Audio
Visually, this game is fun to look at. Featuring a unique set of characters and monsters with macabre overtones it’s never boring as you explore further. The cartoon art style is paired with anime art cutscenes. The effects of the monsters’ attacks also look great and feel varied – from wasps shooting laser beams to sludge monsters throwing out slime. Then, of course, you get boss battles which offer up even more visual delights, my favourite being the one that fires bullet-hell style projectiles.
The game boasts over 40 original tracks which feel unique and varied enough as you travel from area to area. The general game sound effects aren’t too bad either. Sadly, the dialogue portions aren’t voice acted which would have been a nice touch… but I could have done without the ‘old-style’ RPG clicks as letters appear on the screen.
So, is Dungeon Munchies worth it?
Dungeon Munchies is an interesting concept and I always want to support indies where I can. However, Dungeon Munchies feels like it’s a game that needs a bit of work before it’s worth picking up. I will say it is fun in its food and crafting mechanics and the plot is great. If they can patch the control mechanisms to make them better, then this would be a solid platforming experience.