Dungeon Munchies – developed by MaJAJa and published Chorus Worldwide Games – is a side-scrolling action RPG where your goal is to make your way through a host of different areas and kill any creatures that get in your way. It sounds pretty standard, but what makes this loop a little more interesting is the fact that you’ll need to use the parts of the creatures you kill to cook dishes which will grant you new abilities. The result is a pleasantly surprising experience that offers a buffet of experimentation.
In Dungeon Munchies, you play as a recently reanimated corpse who aids the Necro-Chef, Simmer. She brings you back from the dead to hunt down monsters, make meals using their body parts and also help her spread the word about her series of cookbooks. It starts off as quite a simple plot peppered with humour, which almost always sticks the landing, I might add. Not only that, but the story also has an antagonist in The Lord Protector, whose lackeys will block your path whenever the opportunity presents itself. The writing is actually really good and explores a range of different topics along the way. Additionally, you can learn more about the world and the state it is in by reading signs, notes and logs on abandoned computers.
When it comes to the gameplay, Dungeon Munchies plays like a side-scroller as it tasks you with dispatching enemies and engaging in some light platforming. It’s pretty easy to pick up and play and mostly requires you to use four or five buttons to attack, jump and dodge-roll. It also eases you into it pretty well by having you face off with just a few enemies. However, it becomes increasingly challenging as you make your way from area to area and encounter different enemy types, each with its own attack pattern. The decent range of enemies is also a nice touch and it’s for a good reason too.
As mentioned before, the game includes an interesting cooking element. After dispatching a handful of enemies, you’ll be rewarded with some of their body parts. These can then be taken to a camp, where they can be cooked into a meal which will grant you a new ability or buff such as double jumping or gradual health recovery. Additionally, the weapons vendor at each camp is also able to make use of these body parts to craft new weapons for you to use. Essentially, it’s all crafting, and there’s no hands-on involvement in the cooking but it fits well with the game’s narrative.
At any given time, you’ll only be able to have seven meals in your undead stomach, these can be replaced with new dishes as you discover more recipes. Thankfully, Dungeon Munchies doesn’t require you to cook a meal again if you’ve already done so before. The meals essentially act as more like items that can be equipped and unequipped to make use of abilities or provide buffs. It encourages experimentation and doesn’t punish you for it if you happen to die during an encounter.
Dungeon Munchies will take you to a range of different locations from swamps to urban areas. Their design is pretty straightforward, however, there are some rewards for exploring every nook and cranny.
Dungeon Munchies isn’t a perfect dish though and does suffer from two major flaws that prevent it from being really great. The first is that the controls can be a little slippery, especially when it comes to the platforming. A lot of it requires fairly precise movements and is quite frustrating when you end up dying because you overshoot your landing and fall into a row of spikes repeatedly.
The second issue I have with Dungeon Munchies is that it becomes quite clear fairly early on that the control scheme was created with keyboard and mouse controls in mind. This is made apparent when equipping a ranged weapon such as a staff or bow. The aiming for these types of weapons is tied to the left stick, which also controls your movement, so it’s easy to imagine attempting to use one of these weapons can be quite a frustrating endeavour.
Visually, Dungeon Munchies features some great pixel art during gameplay, however, the enemy design and images during conversations look really clean. Additionally, the use of colour works really well! The audio is pretty good too; the soundtrack consistently delivers a chilled atmosphere and ramps up during the game’s boss fights. However, it doesn’t feel particularly memorable.
Dungeon Munchies is great. It’s a nice new addition to the side scroller genre and features a decent narrative to get stuck into. The gameplay is also easy to learn but will challenge you as you progress through the game. It’s fun to experiment with new dishes and weapons to see what works best. Unfortunately, it does fall short somewhat when it comes to its slippery controls and how it handles ranged weapons. Hopefully, these can be fixed in a future update. Despite this, it’s quite an entertaining experience that might be worth keeping an eye on.
Story8/10 Very Good
Visuals8/10 Very Good
- Decent narrative
- Great pixel visuals and use of colour
- So many weapons to craft and dishes to cook
- Encourages experimentation
- Slippery platforming controls
- Practically impossible to effectively use ranged weapons