Ever since Super Mario Maker, gamers have been salivating for a Zelda dungeon Maker. Honestly, it seemed like a no-brainer that we’d get that type of game sooner rather than later. It’s 2023 now and we are still waiting for Nintendo to give us that desired game. Meanwhile, the Developers of Firechick decided that they’d take a crack at it. So how’d they do and does Super Dungeon Maker fulfill that desire?
Let’s dive into it.
Super Dungeon Maker was released on February 15th, 2022 for the Switch and PC. I was provided a review code.
In Super Dungeon Maker, you play as a chicken named Fink. Unfortunately, that’s all the narrative this game has to offer. I get that this game is about creating and exploring Zelda-like dungeons, but it feels like a mess that there’s no story here. A story probably would have helped the game stand out on its own.
Super Dungeon Maker gameplay is a hybrid just like Super Mario Makers is. Half of the game is creating the dungeons using the vast amount of creation tools available. I like the layout of the community creations menu. Its easy to search and find concepts and highly rated dungeons to try out. On the creation side, you can create most of what you image out of a Gameboy/SNES styled map.
The other half of the game is you playing and exploring the dungeons. This is where Super Dungeon Maker showcases its gameplay which feels like a mirror image of the SNES and Game Boy-era of Zelda games. In fact, pretty much the entire arsenal from the game’s are here, like the sword, bomb, Hookshot, and shield. If you enjoy these eras of Zelda games I can’t imagine you disliking the gameplay here because it feels like the same thing. You use these tools and progress through each dungeon in order to get to the Golden Egg at the end.
One of the game’s best features of the game is that you can play online dungeons that others have created. The created dungeons are fun and creative. I came across some recreations of Zelda Dungeons that were extremely well done and entertaining. There’s a vast amount of community-created dungeons to explore so the game has immense replayability. The quality of the created dungeons varies of course. Some offer some brilliant and unique ideas and concepts and others feel like the creators were trying to come up with janky ways to make you want to pull your hair out.
The pixel artsyle that the game displays are charming and colorful. The chicken, Fink is charming to look at even though he doesn’t have a personality or any narrative to make you care about him.
The game doesn’t have a good tutorial system at all. I was 30 minutes in before I realized that I could dodge roll. An action that opened up a sizeable list of new places that I could explore. If you are the type of game that values some instruction on how to properly play the game then this is going to be a massive hurdle to get over.
Another con is that this feels like a game that is still in the development process. In fact in the game’s title screen, there is a disclaimer message that states that the game is still in development. There is shockingly few amounts of items that are available for you to use in your journey. More items at your disposal would have added more replayability and made the dungeons feel more varied. Instead regardless of the design you quickly come to terms with the fact that you’re exploring every dungeon with the same 5 tools.
The lack of a narrative is strongly felt. There’s no connection to any characters, there are no stakes, and there’s nothing besides the gameplay that’s motivating you to keep playing the game. Without the story element, I fear that many will quickly lose interest.
Overall/Should You Play Super Dungeon Maker:
Honestly, the only gamers that I’d recommend this to are retro Zelda dungeon fans or those that extremely enjoy games with creation elements like fans of Super Mario Maker. For everyone else, there are too many issues that will likely turn you off of the game like its lack of a narrative, and its unfinished state.
Unfortunately, Super Dungeon Marker feels like chicken that was taken out of the oven too soon. Perhaps with additional updates to this game, it could be something special. In the meanwhile it would seem that gamers salivating for this type of game sadly will still have to wait for Nintendo to do an official Zelda Dungeon Maker game.
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