• John Bush

Game Review #336: Dead Dungeon (Nintendo Switch)

Reviewer: Steven Green

Developer: Alexey Roenko

Publisher: Drageus Games

Category: 2D Platformer

Release Date: 06.14.2019

Price (at time of review): $4.99


Buy Dead Dungeon from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.


Death for the Dead

Dead Dungeon is an intense action-platformer that is clearly inspired by other ultra-hard, stage-based platformers like Super Meat Boy. You play as a skeleton who is fighting to recover the sweets and souls that were stolen by the evil villain and strewn throughout the levels. Work through each level’s grueling difficulty and make your way to the end boss at the conclusion of this title.



You’re the Inspiration

Coming from the hardcore genre of platformers you see a lot of the same mechanics you would find in games of similar styles. You have tons of deaths and restarts as you progress through a field of stages that add new traps and mechanics to increase the difficulty. You have lasers that instantly vaporize you, cannons that blast you to smithereens, and enemies that vary from zombies to meat hunks that look awfully familiar to the main protagonist of another, previously mentioned title.


The game also features a speed mechanic, in which you race to finish the level as soon as possible and can be placed on a leaderboard based on your performance. This added another fun thing to achieve to the gameplay, and an extra play-through as well focusing on being the fastest around.


As you try to figure out the solutions to each level you also have various collectible items that can be gathered up for extra bragging rights. Sweets - like donuts and other cool items - litter the levels and allow you to really take new paths throughout each stage; adding extra difficulty and replay potential.


The simplicity of this game, while having such difficult mechanics you must traverse is what makes titles like these so well-liked. It doesn’t take much to learn how to move through the game, but you still must go through repeated attempts to try to solve each stage, almost making it into a sort of puzzle game on top of its quick-twitch platforming mechanics.



Simple Sprite Work

Dead Dungeons isn’t out to try to dazzle the world with realistic graphics or intense scenes of action. The opening “cinematic” is hand-drawn and appears to be shown out of an artist’s work pad, and that should set the scene up for you as to what to expect this title’s art direction will consist of. There aren’t bells and whistles or anything of the like, but the game offers nice colors with clearly outlined level design, and the character models / level art is going for a clean, simple aesthetic that allows you to focus on the gameplay.


The music throughout offers a chiptunes-style soundtrack that pumps up the action and emphasizes the speed and intensity necessary to get through the final door on each stage. The soundtrack adds some flavor to the gameplay that you might miss when looking at the art design.



Tough as Nails

For those platforming enthusiasts out there, you have to keep in mind the style of game you are looking at with Dead Dungeon. This game will not be for everyone, as this isn’t Mario or Sonic. This game is trying to kill you, over and over again. You will play through each stage multiple times, unless you are really lucky or darn good at games like this. If you are someone who just wants a casual platformer to work through than this isn’t the game for you. However, for anyone looking for something in the hardcore genre, then you can think of this game like Super Meat Boy-lite.


Over-Hard

Dead Dungeon isn’t a game that will keep you around very long. The game is fairly short, and beyond playing through multiple times for time or collectibles you really are only looking at a few hours of total playtime before you have completed the majority of what this game has to offer. As a parent I love games that don’t feel the need to waste your time and stick around as long as possible, so this isn’t a negative for me, and at the price point it isn’t a bargain issue either, but for the person looking for the max amount of content then please take note.



In closing…

Dead Dungeon is an entirely serviceable ultra-hard platformer. It is simple in design throughout, but really excels at how it amps up the difficulty and slowly trickles in more interesting mechanics as you progress. At the price it is something I would recommend you take a look at if you are into this genre of game, and I can pretty easily say you won’t be disappointed. However, with a short campaign, lack of major replay-ability, and very little to set it apart it is a title that won’t inspire, but might satiate your thirst while you wait for the next great hardcore platformer game.


Score: 6.5/10


Buy Dead Dungeon from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.


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*Review Code Provided by Drageus Games

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