PAX West 16: Super Dungeon Bros Hands-On Preview – Do You Dungeon, Bro? (PS4)

What could be more fun than crawling through a dungeon to find the lost legends of fabled rock stars with your best heavy metal bros? The answer is nothing according to Super Dungeon Bros. It’s not “Super Dungeon Brothers,” it’s definitely “Bros.”

Four heavy metal bros—Axl, Lars, Freddie, and Ozzie—set out on a quest together through a puzzle-filled dungeon that is also filled with hordes and hordes of enemies. The bros will have to work together to hack and slash their way to victory as well as solve puzzles to progress deeper into the dungeon. It’s a bit of Gauntlet meets dudebro, and it works together in a brightly colored, head-banging festival.

The More Bros the Better

Super Dungeon Bros can be played alone, much like Gauntlet or other top-down arcade dungeon crawlers. The game even adjusts the puzzles within the dungeons so that they can be solved without a partner. However, one downside to playing the game alone, aside from the loneliness, is the inability to resurrect and be resurrected. Without other bros to help out, once you’re knocked out, there is not chance for revival. You will have to respawn and use one of the four lives granted at the beginning of the dungeon.

If you play with friends, you can revive one another and save the extra lives. The caveat to this ability is that all of the lives are shared. So it behooves you to try to keep your teammates alive, if for nothing else, to keep those extra lives in check for when you really do need them. 

Another double-edged sword to playing with others is that the enemies are more powerful and there are more of them. Staying together is rather essential to ensure that one doesn’t stumble into a situation that is rougher than they can handle. I played along with one of the developers, and any time we deviated away from one another, it usually ended up in certain death for both of us. The one who wandered off typically set off a large wave of enemies and could not escape or kill everyone before the bro was taken down. By the time the other bro ran to help, the swarm would set upon the lonely bro and then he would go down just as quickly. Two of our four lives gone in an instant. I wish I could say that after the first time this happened we learned our lesson, but we didn’t. It’s honestly amazing we got through the dungeon at all.

Playing with your fellow bros can be done online or local couch co-op. Super Dungeon Bros PS4 will also allow for online play with PC, so there are more bros you can play with online.

Gauntlet Can’t Bro This Hard

At first glance, I was ready to dismiss this as another Gauntlet-like game, and while it is, it does appear to have its own little charm. The characters are humorous, and each has his own personality and weapon affinity. Like Gauntlet, there are melee, range, and magic characters, and there are numerous weapons to find and craft for these bros. Super Dungeon Bros could even be compared to Magicka 2 a bit with the co-operative gameplay, but at least the attacks aren’t half as complicated to conjure.

Super Dungeon Bros doesn’t seem, so far, to have anything majorly groundbreaking, but it’s unbelievably fun to play. I have a few friends that likes to get together for rounds of Towerfall and Gauntlet Legends, and I’d love to introduce this game to our repertoire. You can turn on friendly fire to make the situation even crazier between your bros, but trust me, with so many ways to kill off your teammates by accident, you may not want to potentially waste your shared lives by jokingly firing that arrow into your friend’s knee. In our play session, we accidentally threw bombs at one another, and at one point, the developer was trying to throw a enemy off the cliff, but he released too soon, throwing the enemy into me and pushing me off the other side. I couldn’t be mad because it was too funny.

And I have a strong feeling that Super Dungeon Bros will bring more of those types of moments to gamers and their bands of co-op partners.

Wired Productions is planning on releasing Super Dungeon Bros this November 2016 for PS4.