Dungeons of Hinterberg PAX West Impression
This is because Dungeons of Hinterberg already showcases its lovely cel-shaded visuals to make it an easy world to get lost in, after all how often do players get to go sightseeing and dungeon diving in the Austrian alps.
Who doesn’t want to go to the Alps to slay some monsters and dig into some dungeons? If nothing else, it offers the opportunity to visit a colourful town full of characters and some vistas full of creatures to take down. Developer Microbird has that all covered with action RPG Dungeons of Hinterberg, offering a cheerfully bright backdrop full of dungeons to explore and people to help. RPGamer got to see if the gameplay loop holds up as well as the fun premise and delightful artwork through a demo at PAX West.
Players control Laisa, a woman who went to the Austrian alps after suffering from burnout to unwind from her day-to-day life. While there, Laisa bites off more than she bargained for, finding puzzle-filled dungeons in every corner of the region. With magic in the air, Laisa can explore multiple parts of the alps; be it forest, mountain, or swamp, there’s always somewhere to check out, though the demo focused on the mountainous region with muted yellows and greens, and artistically created rock faces to see. As one takes in the sights, the dungeon layout stays the same so seeing everything is easy, though if there is something blocking a way forward a trip back to town might be needed to help get past it. There’s a day/night cycle for going out in the day and spending the nightlife with locals. These chats can not only build relationships with the NPCs, but also unlock new quests, rare equipment, and provide stat boosts. This focus on socializing is important as it leads to multiple choices for the story and give boosts to stats for Laisa.
These boosts are the best for Laisa to improve her abilities. Everything inside the dungeons is preset so the layouts remain the same, making overcoming the puzzles a big focus for progress. Based on the demo, the environments are important to pay attention to as they hides clues and hidden areas that can be returned to on a second run through the dungeon. Magical skills are used to solve puzzles and will often be used numerous times to progress, including a grappling hook-like ability that attaches to slime to create paths, or putting a bomb in a cart and lifting it up to blow a path open.
The demo was rather short, focusing mostly on the surroundings, solving a few puzzles, and the breezy combat situations. The magic used to solve puzzles can chain together to help Laisa’s sword skills and dodging abilities as even the combat has a sense of whimsy around it. It’s particularly notable when using an ability that guides Laisa around the battlefield riding on a cyclone, but even the basic slashing and dodging had a sense of adventure to it. There were some aspects shown in additional trailers that appear interesting, like the transition to a different visual style; everything was in an over the shoulder third-person view, and seeing how smoothly it is integrated is something to keep an eye on.
It remains to be seen how well its puzzles and combat holds up, but Dungeons of Hinterberg definitely showcases lovely cel-shaded visuals and make it an easy world to get willingly lost in. Its distinct setting generates plenty of interest; after all, how often do players get to go sightseeing and dungeon diving somewhere like the Austrian Alps? There’s plenty of chances to get bigger, bolder, brighter, and more swashbuckling as Dungeons of Hinterberg releases in 2024 on PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.