With every Nintendo Indie World Showcase, there can be a surprise or two, and Dungeon Munchies ended up being one in the December 2021 showcase. An action game with Metroidvania qualities, you cook your upgrades. A lot of it feels like it is designed to be fresh fare. However, in some ways it feels like it needed more time to cook.
Dungeon Munchies stars a zombie newly risen from the dead. Who are you? What happened? Doesn’t matter! You’re now one of Chef Simmer’s employees. She’s a Necrochef who raises the dead, then makes them into her cooks. But what do you cook in a dungeon? Monsters! Each monster’s drops, as well as some environmental items, act as ingredients. These can be turned into food or equipment. You can eat up to seven at a time. Every one of them offers a buff or ability. So you might get a double jump or health that regenerates. You can wield two weapons at once as well.
That concept works really well! There’s dark humor there. Respawn points are dumpsters. Zombies who didn’t make the cut offer tips. Your frying pan seems to be an anthropomorphic entity. Simmer is fun, while also a bit unnerving and exploitative. There’s some goofy commentary here. The character designs for notable characters, certain NPCs, and bosses are also quite fun. Those can be full of personality.
The thing about it is, Dungeon Munchies doesn’t feel entirely fresh even with all that. The areas to traverse aren’t exactly exciting. There aren’t many hazards ahead of you. Also while there is quite a bit of cooking and the promise of certain upgrades, you get a pretty good idea of which ones you need. So yes, you’ll have different builds for your zombie. Which you’ll need, since the difficulty is turned up for every boss. But bosses aside, it doesn’t really make you think.
It also felt repetitive, even though I never really needed to grind. There aren’t a wide array of enemies available. If you’re not facing a boss, there’s not a lot of strategy needed. It isn’t like Hollow Knight. I felt I was button-mashing my way through its general encounters. There would be a lot of times when I’d see the same foes and recipes I’d already unlocked. I suppose I expected more courses. Which, considering I played the Switch version of Dungeon Munchies and it is in Early Access on Steam, means perhaps more to come.
Dungeon Munchies feels like a good idea. There are elements of it I really enjoy. The premise is fun. The thought of eating to develop adaptations is entertaining. The issue is that at the moment, it feels like it needs more time to cook. The only challenges come from the boss fights. Which can then feel out of place compared to the encounters between them. It feels like there perhaps should be more there. But also, given its state, we could eventually see the Switch and PC versions of Dungeon Munchies develop into a full meal.
Dungeon Munchies is available on the Nintendo Switch and PC.