Dreamhack Atlanta 2019: Dungeon Munchies Cooks Up A Roguelike Eating Platformer

Posted on November 21, 2019 by Nick Moreno

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The concept surrounding food is a necessity in everyday life: made into three core meals a day, we tend to take advantage of what we have in today’s society with how accessible meal prep is currently. But what would happen if majority of the human race died off from the face of the Earth? How would we feed our hunger for sustenance or nourishment if such a pandemic were to happen? We would resort to our primal instincts to figure out the problem, of course.

More specifically, we would hunt and consume the game that we search out for. In MaJAja’s Dungeon Munchies, this goes into practice as players will face a range of diverse enemies and other monstrosities which are then collected to create different foods & weapons throughout the course of the game. You play as a resurrected zombie who instantly inherits an apprenticeship under necromancer/culinary buff Simmer.

Deciphering what exactly the world for Dungeon Munchies is, I asked studio co-founder Ian Lee to give a little more insight for the game’s setting. He shares that, like what I disclosed before, that the humans have been killed off due to uncertain elements and those who survived live among the cast of life forms of this new world. Being a zombie apprentice for Simmer, she dictates for the player to collect different ingredients to create an onslaught of dishes throughout your progression of the story.

During my demo of the game at Dreamhack Atlanta this past weekend, I was overwhelmed with anticipation for more on how the concept actually unravels in the current build of the game. Unlike standard and repetitious cooking games that cloaks the chore of actually cooking with minigames, Dungeon Munchies turns it into an roguelike adventure platformer. At the start of my hands-on with the title, you might think less of the game seeing the static protagonist and seemingly of par environment for the game.

However, that swiftly changes once the game actually begins as you are introduced to the game’s unearthly elements as you fight oversized toxic frogs, nimble-footed shrimp, and laser-precise fireflies. Slaying the slew of these beasts will provide you with unique pieces which you can use to brew an specialized meal; eating said creation will then grant you a new ability alongside adding some sort of appendage to your character’s sprite. You can kill some mosquitoes and ingest the power to double jump or earn the fins of fish to swim faster to name a few off hand.

This left me intrigued as to why MaJAja chose to make each enemy edible in the game. Lee explains that the team of three absolutely loves food, so they wanted a game surrounding the concept of eating. “We all love eating – so we wanted to make a game about cooking stuff. We originally wanted to make a cooking game, but most of the time those games aren’t as fun.” He adds on that the studio took some inspiration from Monster Hunter and wanted to incorporate that into a roguelike platformer.

The combat on the other hand varies as well offering not only standard attacks, but the player is also equipped with a secondary in which only creates another layer of depth for the project’s involvement with hostile foes. You can duel wield swords, axes, or play it safe with a shield by your side. Upon discussing the game’s world, Lee denounces the post-apocalyptic assumption for the title’s setting as he clarifies that the game is more of a fantasy. Supporting that, players will also have the option for secondary weapons with status effects, as you would associate with casting spells using magic.

Players are able to equip up to seven different dishes and two weapons of their choice when playing. Precisely how many combinations would need a little math: Lee says there about 20 different weapons and 50 upgrades through eating, so he calculated roughly over 100 different ways to customize your character. Additionally he reveals that are about 10 different playstyle builds that you will generally work towards throughout the compiled ways to decorate your loadout when playing.

The game’s control scheme, at least when using a gamepad, does feel refined for the most part. However, it is evident that there are some hurdles still to be surpassed as the game plays as if it is still a PC title, which it currently is. One nuisance being that the movement stick is also the one used to aim, along with some latency when using traditional attacks or simply jumping. Not entirely game breaking, but is noticeable after time.

Following my time with the demo, I questioned Lee what the team has planned for the game’s roadmap seeing that the project is an Early Access title. He shares that there are plenty of bug fixes upon other issues to resolve atop of adding the next batch of story chapters to the game. Lee acknowledges the issues with the controller integration and says that there is also plans to completely remap the control scheme which should undo the damage from my listed problems. As for additional content, Lee says that the team has thought of creating a hardcore mode for the title following the full release which would remove the game’s HUD and mute the hitbox notification. New Game Plus is was also brought up, but that is thinking too far ahead of where the project currently stands.

Finishing off our discussion, I asked Lee what his own combined arsenal would look like for the game for those not sure where to start. He suggests in using fast melee weapons and status effect poison for the first few segments of the story. But later on tells that he switches to depending on support characters you unlock later in the game or a ‘Guns Ho’ playstyle where you go complete berserk mode on everything in your path.

Admittedly, Dungeon Munchies is the first show floor project that resorted with me having to return to a previous segment of the game to progress in the build. I spent nearly 45 minutes of my time playing until facing the second boss of the game where Lee reveals that the demo available is the Early Access build: I reached nearly halfway through what is already developed for the game. And I’m interested to see how the remainder of the game plays out leading up to the game’s release.

Those interested to play Dungeon Munchies now can do so by purchasing the Early Access version on the game’s Steam page here.

Dungeon Munchies is scheduled to be finished sometime in 2020 for PC.

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