Dungeon Escape: One Jump At A Time

A very, very simple indie platformer in the style of Super Meat Boy on the surface, but under the hood, Dungeon Escape is a brutal, yet satisfying experience.

Do we have another Super Meat Boy beater/clone in Dungeon Escape? Let me make it clear that old Meats can feel confident on his throne for now, but based on this game, he should at least be adjusting his pants.

A new title from Eastasiasoft and Roenko GamesDungeon Escape is an often hard-as-nails platformer with instadeath tattooed on its forehead. This game is tough and will have the timidest people telling that little old lady next door to eat shit.

Yes, I’m pretty reserved and far from vocal, but there were many gasps and pre-watershed terms thrown at the TV during this sadistic run of levels. There’s no story to go through here, so let’s be done with that and talk gameplay.

Dungeon Escape Review – PS4/PS5

Dungeon Escape is very cute, that is, until you experience your first death. The premise is straightforward: escape a dungeon. To do this, you have to locate a key then find the way out.

Dungeon Escape Review - Platform shoes
Platform shoes. Source: Eastasiasoft

This is all done with one screen at a time so that you can see everything on the screen. The visuals are relatively small, but the danger is massive. That’s a bad phrase, but buyer’s beware: this one will have you clenching.

There aren’t any complicated moves or abilities to learn, such as in Super Meat Boy Forever, or the excellent Sockventure

All that’s on offer is jump and double jump. Fortunately, you can jump on most of the enemies like that plumber bloke, but it’s a one-hit kill for you too, and should you walk into an enemy or viciously sharp object, you’ll explode in digital confetti.

There’s something immensely satisfying in these death scenes, but it’s not such a jolly experience when you’re on the receiving end and have to repeat the same thing with precision.

Pixel Perfect

Your character is an oversized yellow pixel with an infectious smile. There’s no floatiness with jumping here; it’s as razor-sharp as the environmental hazards presented to you. On that basis, the controls are incredibly satisfying for something so basic.

Dungeon Escape Review - Meat
Meat(s)? Source: Eastasiasoft

So what’s the compromise? The difficulty. There are zero settings, so it’s a case of grabbing the key and getting to the next of some 50-odd levels. As is the way, the earlier levels can sometimes be harder than later levels, and aside from a dozen or so deaths, I was getting the hang of Dungeon Escape.

Then level 15 hit me. There were only three levels until another trophy, but this thing was determined to undo my hard work and good mood. It’s worth noting that Dungeon Escape is a borderline rage game. The rewards are much more frequent than similar titles, but that doesn’t mean there will be levels that make you lose the will to live.

But once the frustration dissipates, you soon realise just how good Dungeon Escape is. There’s no dressing this up as anything other than a simple platformer with devilishly designed stages that will test more than the casual gamer. Don’t be fooled by the entry-level price – this is a ride that gives back ten-fold.

Dungeon Escape Review Summary

Pros

  • Highly accurate jumping/landing.
  • Infuriating, but well-built levels.
  • More than enough levels to die in.
  • Minimalist approach works wonders.

Cons

  • One hit kills mean hair-pulling (if you have it).
  • Music is mildly annoying.

One of the shorter reviews I’ve done, but not in a negative sense. I recommend this platformer if you’re a fan of Super Meat Boy but want something a little slower. Slower doesn’t mean easier; it’s just that you won’t be doing wall jumps, just dying.