There’s no denying the inspiration for Dead Dungeon. It’s there in the hard-as-nails, precise platforming, the speedy, floaty jump, and even some cheeky nods in the enemy design. Living up to the magnificence of Super Meat Boy is no easy task though (much like the games themselves); in a lot of ways Dead Dungeon gets very close. It’s a pretty good alternative, though not without its faults.
The all important thing here is the feel of controlling our character; they move quickly under the thumb, reacting to sudden movements well. At times perhaps a little too well, but when I dived face first into the wall of spikes again, it was generally on my twitchy reactions. I did feel that the hit detection was perhaps a bit too tricky sometimes though, with even a glance in the general direction of an obstacle would see our hapless hero explode. We’re also equipped with a double jump around which a lot of the levels are designed, though strangely not a wall jump.
It’s a straightforward approach to gameplay then, but man, it is not easy. As mentioned the hit boxes punish even the slightest of mistimed jumps, while a lot of stage have several hazards to dodge in and around each other. It’s definitely a good game for the rage-quitting YouTuber’s out there, or those of us who like a challenge. Thankfully restarts are instant, and the levels are generally short enough to be beaten in under 30 seconds once we’re good enough to do so. There are also collectables to hoover up should you fancy an extra challenge, though these are often in hard to reach places and offer no reward other than the satisfaction of getting them.
The level design is pretty decent though, making smart use of limited assets in constantly new layouts. Enemies can be beaten by a jump on the head, though we’re even more vulnerable as one hit from any danger is enough to require a retry. With around 40 levels there’s more than enough to keep players going for a few evenings, though there doesn’t seem to be much replayability other than aiming for a better time or finding the collectables.
While it lasts though Dead Dungeon is a fun, challenging platforming title that will have you pulling your hair out as you press the retry button for the hundredth time. It’s not up to Super Meat Boy’s superlative design, but it’s a decent alternative and well worth a look.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by the publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.