Review – Dungeon Munchies

The latter half of December 2021 saw the release of a somewhat uneventful Nintendo Direct aimed exclusively at upcoming indie releases for the Switch. One of the titles announced in said show was Dungeon Munchies, a game that caught my attention not because of its visuals (which, granted, are bland), but due to a neat mechanic presented in its trailer. It involves cooking body parts collected from fallen enemies, eating them, and acquiring their abilities. Essentially, a more morbid (and hilarious) take on Monster Hunter‘s main gameplay loop. I wanted to give it a try and see if its premise paid off. It was not.

Dungeon Munchies Zombie

Assigning the left analog stick to both aiming and moving wasn’t the best of ideas.

This isn’t a very interesting game, but I feel like I should point out two positive highlights before I proceed talking about how bland it actually is. The aforementioned “ingestion” system is pretty fun to tinker with. I loved getting mosquito wings after cooking and ingesting their corpses, for instance. There is a limited amount of power-up “slots” you can mess with during a run, but the amount of options at your disposal is huge, allowing you to set up your build the way you prefer. Even though most power-ups account for passive boosts and stat upgrades, the vast majority of them physically alter your character’s looks, so there’s still fun to be had with this system.

I also need to point out that Dungeon Munchies is indeed a funny game. It’s well-written, with lots of smart takes on corporatism and game clich├ęs. The characters are somewhat likeable and memorable as well. There is no voice acting in Dungeon Munchies, and the soundtrack is beyond bland, but the funny lines of dialogue more or less made up for this setback. Sadly, this is where I stop praising the game. Good ideas only get you so far if the rest of your work is average at best, uninspired as hell at worst.

Dungeon Munchies Humor

It might be very flawed, but I have to give credit where credit is due. I loved Dungeon Munchies’ sense of humor.

Sure, tinkering your zombie with body parts from fallen enemies is amusing, but the problem lies in what you do with your build once you’re all powered up. You’re thrown into an ugly-looking 2D platforming world, where you’re supposed to move along and kill everything in sight for the sake of it. The level design is pretty underwhelming, being mostly comprised of simplistic platforming puzzles and block-like structures, with the occasional background change to wake you up from boredom.

Evil Pan

I don’t know why, but the fact that you cook your enemies’ corpses on an evil pan with an evil face made me chuckle each and every single time.

The combat is comprised of pure button mashing combined with a bizarre aiming system whenever you use your ranged side weapons. The aiming reticule is tied to the left analog stick, the same one used for general movement. As a result, you never feel like you have full control of your character’s abilities; aiming and shooting quickly turn into a nuisance, resulting in you giving up on using a secondary weapon in favor of even less thoughtful combat strategies. Run, kill enemies, dodge whenever needed, and repeat. The level of challenge in Dungeon Munchies is uninspired at best, and enemies can all be defeated with the simplest of strategies. Everyone is as brain-dead as the zombie you’re controlling.

Animations

Character animations? You won’t get ’em here.

Dungeon Munchies has one really clever idea, which, sadly, doesn’t make up for how mundane the rest of its gameplay and presentation are. The novelty of cooking parts of your fallen enemies and acquiring their powers wears off quickly once you realize the rest of the game is still an ugly platformer with really simplistic combat. In a console absolutely saturated with pixel art platformers and roguelites, Dungeon Munchies simply doesn’t have what it takes to stand out from the rest of the crowd.

 

Graphics: 5.5

Dungeon Munchies looks really bland. The only moment where it manages to shine a bit is when character portraits appear onscreen.

Gameplay: 6.5

I love this game’s power-up system. Sadly, it is just one really clever idea attached to a very basic side-scrolling action platforming control scheme that doesn’t excite for long.

Sound: 5.0

There might be one or two good songs in this entire soundtrack. The rest of it is beyond forgettable and the same can be said about the underwhelming sound effects.

Fun Factor: 6.0

There are a few excellent ideas in Dungeon Munchies, but they don’t exactly make up for how mundane and uninspiring its gameplay is.

Final Verdict: 6.0

Dungeon Munchies is available now on PC and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Dungeon Munchies was provided by the publisher.