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Dungeon Munchies is finally on PlayStation 5, but how does it handle? (Image via MaJAJa)

Dungeon Munchies PS5 review - A cute but clunky action-platformer

Dungeon Munchies is a game I remember hearing about back in 2022. It’s a platformer with roots in the roguelike/roguelite genre, from the gameplay to the customization of the attack skills. The story is a little ridiculous and over-the-top, but it also has some incredibly dark moments. The title is also surprisingly philosophical if you stop to listen to what the NPCs are saying.

It brings intense, action-packed platforming gameplay, challenging bullet-hell boss fights, and, of course, plenty of “gourmet” foods to eat. Each one confers useful abilities for several builds, so each time you play, it can feel different.

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It’s not an incredibly long game, and it has its flaws. But even besides those, I had a blast playing Dungeon Munchies - even when I had to start over from scratch.


Dungeon Munchies has a genuinely unique action-platformer concept

As a zombie in Dungeon Munchies, you can’t really taste the flavor of food, which could be the worst part of being undead. The Necro-Chef needs you, and you’re the latest body she’s summoned. Your task is to aid in her cooking missions. You’ll progress through area after area of this world, slaying monsters and gathering ingredients from them.

The tutorial is brief, but tells you pretty much everything you need to know. You have a primary and a secondary weapon slot - which can also hold a gun or a shield instead. You’ll quickly gain access to a Double Jump, but you only have it as long as you leave a particular meal in your bag. That’s one thing that makes the gameplay very interesting.

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As you progress through the game, you kill monsters and unlock more recipes. You can hold a set amount of food items in your plastic bag in Dungeon Munchies. Each food grants specific abilities. Some give your swords new attacks, others make your weapons bigger. You can gain more maximum HP, regeneration, poison strikes, and so much more.

Watch: Doing some shrimping.

The trick is to figure out what you need for each situation in Dungeon Munchies and equip these accordingly. Eventually, you’ll start unlocking permanent upgrades too - Double Jump, Wall Climb/Jumping, permanent Air Dash, and other useful powers. These trickle in slowly, and the game will teach you how to use them via gameplay.


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Cooking and crafting is key to exploring and fighting in Dungeon Munchies

One of the biggest parts of the game is cooking, though. While the areas you play through in Dungeon Munchies are primarily linear, there are side areas where secrets lie. You can find things like extra recipes if you explore enough.

Virtually every enemy drops something useful, to craft with, or cook. It’s incredibly easy to craft and cook in Dungeon Munchies, though. When you come to a base camp, you can head to the crafting or cooking station. When you create a meal, it shows up in the bottom of your bag on a hotbar.

If you decide you want to replace one, it’s a simple matter of highlighting it and pressing the cross button to eat it and cook something else in its stead. The same goes for primary and secondary weapons.

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Watch: Cooking and crafting is quite easy.

You’ll craft the weapon or shield from the list, and it will replace whatever you had before. However, this is where one of the biggest problems in the game comes from. I just don’t feel like the buttons are organized well for Dungeon Munchies. Square is your primary weapon, and R2 is your secondary/shield.

In addition, you also have to use the left stick to aim your weapon. This isn’t terrible on some weapons, but it’s especially bad on ranged options like bows. The game was designed for a mouse and it thus feels awkward and clunky on console.

Watch: Mysterious autofire/platforming.

Having to run and aim, while also jumping and striking can feel very weird. I had a strange experience that I can’t explain on one of my playthroughs - for some reason, one of my files automatically attacked. It started happening a few hours in, and while it doesn’t make the game harder - it made things much easier really - I can’t explain why it started happening.

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I say “one of my files” for a reason. The game crashed and ate my save file after losing a fight. I was defeated by an early boss, and instead of kicking me back to one of the save points (recycling bin), the game went dark. When I finally got it to load again, my save file was gone, as was all of my progress.

That aside, I really enjoyed playing Dungeon Munchies. It is simple and easy to get into but has plenty of mechanics and ways to play that can make the gameplay much easier or harder, depending on what you prefer.

Watch: Combat can get pretty intense.

Each enemy has its own attacks to be aware of, and you can see clearly when they’re preparing an AoE move. If you perfectly time your dodge though, the game will slow down briefly, like a Matrix dodge. It’s a very cool concept, and you can dodge-roll through enemies, and can even do it in mid-air. The movement tech is very sharp in Dungeon Munchies, I’ll say that for sure.

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This is especially great because the boss fights are pretty intense. They often have phases where they cannot be targeted, and the game becomes a bullet hell. You have to avoid lengthy waves of varied energy attacks.

Combat is fun, and it is a matter of learning patterns and surviving, but it doesn’t feel unfair or too terribly brutal. It’s a delicate balance of challenge and fun.


How is the level design and aesthetic of Dungeon Munchies?

I love the art style of Dungeon Munchies. It’s a visually appealing game - I’m a big fan of the pixel art. I love the character designs, and the writing is sharp and clever. The background sounds and music are enjoyable as well. The problem I have with it overall is the level design.

Watch: Heading to a major boss battle.

It doesn’t feel especially inspired. The stages you go through all kind of feel the same when it comes to exploration. Lots of areas to wall jump up, and lots of areas to air dash across once these features are unlocked. It’s a fun indie game, but the stages felt very similar to one another. It’s not the worst thing to see, though. The design is still sharp and it feels good to explore the world.

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In conclusion

Dungeon Munchies is a game that I feel maybe needs more work, but that said, I still had a lot of fun playing it. It’s a simple, fun concept, with very sharp writing. The gameplay is good, and while the title itself is on the short side, I feel like it has some replayability in the weapons and abilities you can play with.

Watch: Boss battles can be intense.

The ranged gameplay doesn't feel good on PlayStation 5, though. The controls are responsive, but it will take some time to get used to the clunkiness here. I imagine it's a completely different story for PC users, though, as it was designed for a mouse.

Once you have a handle on it, though, the exploration and fighting will become significantly easier to play. Overall, it’s a fun, cute indie action-platformer, though it needs a bit more work.


Dungeon Munchies

While clunky to control, Dungeon Munchies is still a ton of fun (Image via Sportskeeda)
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Reviewed on: PlayStation 5 (Code provided by Chorus Worldwide)

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Android, Windows, MacOS

Developer: maJAJa

Publishers: maJAJa, Chorus Worldwide, Serenity Forge

Release Date: January 13, 2023 (Initial release date: June 5, 2019)

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Edited by
Abu Amjad Khan
 
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