This is Beatdown Dungeon, it's a brand new indie game that attempts to merge dungeon crawling with traditional 2D fighting. It's like a Final Fantasy fighting game. This unique new adventure game is hitting PC in the distant future, but there's a brand new demo that's worth checking out. I know you have a lot of questions, so let's crib this.
So it's like Dissidia?
Yeah, I guess that Final Fantasy fighting game I mentioned already exists. This isn't anything like Dissidia, it's a lot more straight forward when it comes to both the dungeon crawling and the 2D fighting. The accurate analogy is Final Lap Twin, a mostly forgotten TurboGrafx-16 racing game that played out exactly like an old school 8-bit role-playing game. It was a baffling mash-up at the time, but it actually worked. You wandered around an overhead map and got into random battles, which were played out through a series of fast-paced races.
Beatdown Dungeon takes the exact same approach. You play one of several heroes who ventures into a dungeon to collect treasure and defeat evil monsters. But instead of getting into long and drawn-out turn-based fights like every other retro RPG, these random battles shoot our hero into a straight-forward 2D fighting game. It's not exactly Street Fighter V, but there are a few special moves and the characters are responsive.
And what about the dungeon crawling?
Based on the demo I played, the dungeon crawling is no deeper than the fighting. In fact, it's quite a bit more unpolished. We're told to explore ten floors of bad guys and treasure, but there aren't very many of either in this dungeon. Most of the rooms are empty and there are basically only two items to pick up. There's a shop keeper that will offer various upgrades, but I found I didn't really need them. There are more than enough health items to collect and I never once came close to dying.
What would you add?
Beatdown Dungeon has a solid foundation, so let's start with that. Going forward, they really need to focus on expanding the dungeon crawling elements. There should be random loot that changes how you perform in battle. Perhaps include weapons that have unique special moves or hinder our fighter in noticeable ways. Or maybe you can collect the enemies you defeat and use them in subsequent playthroughs. Sort of like what Tobal 2 did a couple decades ago. In fact, just copy what Tobal 2 did and you should be golden.
The current demo may be bite-sized, but it shows a lot of potential. I have to imagine that the developers are busy implementing a lot of new ideas that will flesh out both the dungeon crawling and the fighting. The demo is worth downloading just to tinker around with the four fighters, but don't expect a lot. On the other hand, it's currently free, so you have nothing to lose. Color me intrigued by Beatdown Dungeon.