Part platformer, part RPG, part hack ‘n’ slash, part cooking simulator… Dungeon Munchies tries to set itself apart from its contenders by throwing many things into the game. But, unfortunately, much like a soup, tossing in more ingredients doesn’t always make for a great experience. Dungeon Munchies has its moments, but overall, the game feels undercooked.
Yes, I threw a lot of food puns into that introduction. Still, it feels appropriate, considering Dungeon Munchies’s main gimmick is cooking food and using the food to give your character abilities. You play as a zombie brought back to life by Simmer, a necromancer spirit that has taken up cooking and raising the dead. As you can imagine, the story is quirky, and I laughed a few times at the puns and jokes made throughout the game.
Instead of leveling your character like in a traditional RPG, you cook food, utilizing the ingredients you get from the enemies you kill. Once you complete the dish, you can equip it. Each meal gives you different abilities, and your character can equip up to seven entrées. Calling this title a cooking simulator, though, is generous. Throughout the game, you’ll find cooking stations that will allow you to take the items you find and combine them to make different foods. Unfortunately, there’s no experimentation allowed; you have a cookbook showing the recipes and parts needed to make the dish. It’s a shame because there could be more depth to the cooking aspect of the game; instead, it feels lackluster.
Besides cooking, you also craft weapons. Weapon crafting is similar, combining ingredients you find from enemy drops and making new weapons. But, again, the system railroads you into creating weapons based on specific items you have; you can’t be creative and try combining random things.
All the criticism above could be forgiven if it weren’t for the off-putting combat. You can wield two different items. To hit enemies, you’ll use the right analog stick to aim your weapon and then the A button to do damage. This feels like a carryover from the PC port and doesn’t work well on consoles. The melee weapons work ok, as you can mash the buttons. However, ranged items are more challenging because you have to target the opponent with the right stick. Often, the targeting doesn’t seem to work as intended, and my attacks didn’t always hit. I ended up sticking with swords and axes instead.
Also underbaked is the level design. All levels have the same look and feel to them. This area of gameplay could have spent more time in the oven. The only unique aspect is the enemy design. And the bosses are also well-created. It’s too bad because you can tell a lot of time when designing the baddies, but nothing is memorable without better-designed levels.
Review: Dungeon Munchies (Nintendo Switch)
I went into Dungeon Munchies with high hopes. But unfortunately, it left me with a sour taste in my mouth. The base is there for an interesting experience, but it needs polish. The cooking feature doesn’t allow for experimenting, and the level design lacks creativity, but the combat hurts the game the most. Maybe it’s because too many things are going on in the game instead of focusing on one or two features and making them work well.