Everyone loves the story of a bunch of scrappy misfits joining together as a team. Guardians of the Galaxy. Suicide Squad. X-Men First Class. Etc. With Dungeon Punks, you have that team in place in an RPG/Side-scrolling/old school arcade-style game. And how does such a team fare in such a setting? Well....
Let's start with the story. I have to say, the story is by far one of the most unique in a game in a long while. A company, RezCorp, has figured out a way to ressurect people, and instead of life insurance, you can just pay RezCorp to bring you back. All isn't well with this though, and soon you find yourself fighting against them with a band of motley characters (such as Were-witch, a witch/were wolf, and my go-to character in the game) while you plan everything out from a floating airship. It's corporate corruption. It's visiting new places. It's fighting everything. And you can't die – highest marks for the story.
Controlling everyone on the PS4 was pretty simple. It requires a lot of button mashing and getting used to the toggle sensitivity, but once past that, they become almost automatic for you. Gameplay was also fun. I have to hand it to the game – accepting two characters instead of one and tag-teaming them out was a brilliant move on their part, and with two friends doing the same, you can have different combos of 6 characters going in and out at a given time. The addition of mounts (I.E. a tiger you get to ride) help vary the action as well, and cause you to change strategy. Moves are easy to upgrade after each level, and although a little basic (I've seen the same leveling on free-to-play games online), it is quite functional. The real star though is that 2 character tag-team, and is well worth the praise.
The graphics were a mix of being awesome and disappointing. Setting-wise, the graphics were amazing. This is a world where magic replaced most technology, with setting from high in the sky to dark and dreary locations, and the art on these is great. Unfortunately, when it gets into the Gameplay part of it, it starts to falter.
Graphics are 2D and sidescrolling – even for the retro feel it was having, it was disjointed. Solid weapon movement blurs took place of action mechanics and moving was very jointy. Characters would walk, but they would look like those paper cutouts of people that would only move at the knees and waist when walking. It felt awkward. I know it was supposed to be reminiscent of arcade games, but it was hugely distracting. There was also an element in the game where you were allowed to exit at any time in an emergency exit, but getting out meant that all progress in the level was null and void. It seemed like a cheap way to get out of dying and it really crushes your motivation when you can say “I can get out at any time!”
Music is great...for the most part. During gameplay it was all Medievaly and felt like a movie. Think a more actiony, modern and low key Lord of the Rings by way of Hans Zimmer. It felt so right. Yet during the still cut scenes it's the basic music you'd hear during any mystery video game. It's an awkward change. Sound suffers too. It's very one note – groans are the same, sometimes for other, supposed to be different creatures. It's about the same amount of variance as a free tower defense game. Many attacks even sound alike as well.
I didn't get many lag or bug issues while playing. A few times it took a bit to load, and other times I swear I was hit when I was nowhere near the creature that hit me (typical arcade-style problem), but there were no major lag problems. Dungeon Punks ran smoothly and crisply on the PS4.
This is a very addictive game, and I always found myself thinking of the addictiveness of tower defense games, even though this was a side-scroller. The writing and story were good, controls and gameplay were fine, and the music would, most of the time, work well. It does have the issues listed above, but even with those flaws, there is too much good stuff in here, and it's hard to pass up such a unique game with a unique style. With a little more polish in the mechanics and sound areas, Dungeon Punks would have been even better, but as it stands, it's still a great game, and with a few other friends, you can be prepared for hours and hours of fun.
Final Score: 9 out of 10