When a review is marked as ‘in progress’, it is done on the basis that enough time has been invested to obtain solid impressions even though we have been unable to beat it. This may be down to an extreme length or brutal difficulty, but either way it is a title that has overcome us… at least for a period of time.
Games marked as such will receive the usual review treatment, plus some additional footage to help give you a general idea of what to expect. These games will likely be finished at some point, and the review will be updated accordingly. As such, keep checking back if you want to keep a track of our full final thoughts when we have them!
Many thanks to Rokaplay for the review code
Ever since Nintendo graced us with the surprise hit that was Super Mario Maker, the community suddenly started wondering: ‘what if we got one for other Nintendo properties?’. Of course the big one that was on people’s mind was The Legend of Zelda, and we almost got one in the remake of Link’s Awakening… except its extreme limitations and lack of sharing made it little more than a vacuous diversion.
In steps Fink, the feathered hero of Super Dungeon Maker, who basically tries to fulfil our desires but with a copyright-avoiding coat of paint. Certainly an exciting prospect if pulled off well, but can it succeed?
The game opens up with Fink awakening inside a forest-themed dungeon. As you proceed, new mechanics come at you thick and fast: torches ignite as you pass, buttons that spawn enemies, keys inside chests, pits, moveable objects, and so on. There’s a real nice pace to everything as the game throws as much as it can at you in such a short space of time.
It’s all there to serve the purpose of showing you how the game works, and also how much it resembles that of the Zelda franchise. Every piece of equipment found should be familiar to Zelda series veterans, even if not everything is here.
Upon exiting, you’ll find yourself in the main town. It’s not overly big, but it’s purpose here is as a hub world that allows you to access the game’s content. There are a few other pre-made dungeons for you to try out and gain some general ideas about how things work, a tutorial playground that teaches you the very basics of creation, the creator itself, and a place to browse the creations of others.
Aside from these, the town is surprisingly barren; there are lots of NPCs standing about with meaningless dialogue, and houses there that you’re unable to enter. It would have been nice if there was a little bit more here and some secrets to find (perhaps to unlock alternative character skins or decorative items to use), but it serves its purpose well enough as a hub area.
SUPER ZELDA MAKER
Of course, the main reason why you’re here is because of the level creator and the level sharing, and I’m happy to say that my experience with it thus far has been rather positive. Flicking the minus button switches between test mode and creator mode, with the latter allowing you to move around and place objects using a combination of the stick and the A button. There’s a nice snapping to the tiles too allowing for easy placement, which is handy as the game lacks the handheld functionality that made Super Mario Maker such a breeze,
The lack of touch functionality is only really felt when navigating the menus. It’s quite simple for the most part, using the left trigger to switch between tiles and objects, and the dpad to select what you require. Highlighting the object with the cursor will allow you to see what an item does, but in reality there are only a handful of items that need such an explanation. The cursor can be used also to adjust the dungeon brightness or select a theming for the dungeon, but otherwise it’s primary use is for placing selected objects. Everything works well for a controller based system (and they’re even adding remapping in the next update!), but I couldn’t help shake the desire to touch the items I wanted to place.
Regardless, it’s a very user-friendly system that makes building dungeons a breeze. Whilst it does lack the ability to select multiple objects and copy them elsewhere, it’s still simple enough to be accessible to pretty much everyone. Expert creators, on the other hand, may be a little let down by the limitations that the game currently has. Enemies are unable to drop items nor activate objects, and there doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of stuff to select from either. It’s worth noting that the game is in-progress and they plan to support it post-release, but as to what that actually entails is currently unknown.
Aside from building, you’ll no doubt want to share your creations with others, and also see what the community has to offer – and Super Dungeon Maker thankfully takes a leaf out of Super Mario Maker’s book. There’s a tab for hot levels, top rated, and new stages for you to browse. There’s not a huge amount of stages at the moment (as we were playing pre-release), but it all seems to be working rather well. Hopefully the community grows and offers plenty of new stages to choose from. There’s some great ones at the moment, and you’re able to download any notable ones in order to either play them offline or simply just return to them with ease.
Aside from browsing, you’re also able to look for levels via the search functionality. It’s not quite perfect as it requires you to search for dungeons by name (rather than the designated number, making it far harder to locate specific levels) and then scroll through the search results. Already there are countless ‘Unnamed dungeons’, and no doubt other generic names like ‘The Legend of Fink’ will also yield a ridiculous amount of results post-release. The worst crime of all is that you’re unable to save creators, nor access their profile to see other stages that they’ve made. It’s a huge oversight that hopefully gets rectified in a future update.
Super Dungeon Maker plays almost exactly like the Zelda Maker I had imagined, albeit with no touch screen support. That being said, they’ve made a great effort to make a decent creator with an easy way to find user creations. Hopefully the game continues to get support (even in the form of paid DLC) to expand what is there and allow for a wider variety of creations.