Dungeons Of Hinterberg Is A Cozy Fantasy For These Trying Times

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Dungeons Of Hinterberg Is A Cozy Fantasy For These Trying Times

Dungeons of Hinterberg begins in an awfully familiar place: burnout. Luisa, the heroine of this adventure, is actually anything but. She’s a hard-working junior at a law firm who hits the books all day and rots all weekend. By the time she’s en route to the Austrian Alps to vacation, Luisa’s feeling pretty empty inside and hoping that a quick trip to the mountains will rekindle the magic in her life, and she does mean that quite literally.

You see, in Dungeons of Hinterberg, magic has quite literally invaded the Alps. Humanity has managed to corral (and even commodify) said magic, but it’s still there and it’s pretty wondrous. Luisa hasn’t booked a stay out there to just sit amongst the trees; instead she’s gone out there to become a part-time slayer. In Hinterberg, pharmacies sell healing potions and people from around the world become revelrous adventurers with a zeal for life that they might not otherwise be able to cultivate in their day-to-day. In Hinterberg, goo-like monsters assume the shape of creatures from local folklore and do battle with vacationing slayers who buy equipment with a made-up currency used expressly for magical items. In Hinterberg, 25 magical dungeons have appeared and Luisa believes that tackling them will fix her ills. And it’s here that our journey begins.

Recently, developer Microbird released a preview of the game, encompassing the first two days and dungeons of the game. Though I expected to like it, as I’ve enjoyed simply looking at the game for years, I was surprised by what a pleasant adventuring experience Dungeons of Hinterberg provided.

Everything about Dungeons of Hinterberg is comforting. It is the latest in a line of games whose visuals suggest the work of artist and cartoonist Moebius, like Sable or Bomb Rush Cyberfunk, and much like the former, Dungeons of Hinterberg feels floaty. Luisa runs, but her movement feels closer to a seamless glide. In combat, her dodge roll and swipes feel more elegant and less labored than something like Dark Souls. As she runs toward a chasm, Luisa jumps of her own accord and satisfyingly latches onto clingable surfaces. The score is as serene as the luscious, pop-filtered visuals of the alpine landscape, and the people you meet are all charming characters that feel freshly ripped from the pages of a children’s book. At just about every point in my demo, the NPCs I interacted with felt like they’d bandage me up if I got a boo-boo or regale me with the simplistic morals of the fables I was treated to in grade school. And though I’ve never been one for games that err towards coddling me, I couldn’t help but want to be swaddled by Dungeons of Hinterberg.

All the while, the titular dungeons present breezy environmental puzzles and encounters to work through. Dungeons of Hinterberg rarely felt challenging in these opening two hours, though glimpses at future dungeons do lead me to believe that matters will definitely escalate. For now, I actually relished seeing a puzzle, like a minecart and a series of switchable tracks in the second dungeon, and simply being able to piece it together with minimal friction. Sometimes, it is wonderful to just feel like you’re on the same page as a game, and less like it’s bumping up against you, and Dungeons of Hinterberg absolutely felt like the former in my brief time with it.

When Luisa isn’t cosplaying as a dungeoneer, she’s back in Hinterberg resting up and forging new bonds. I didn’t realize that Dungeons of Hinterberg also housed a social and calendar system a la Persona, which breaks up the action with moments of tenderness and reflection. After a tough first outing in which the tutorial dungeon uncharacteristically begins to collapse on Luisa, she befriends a more experienced slayer named Alex, who eventually unlocks a social menu for you. This allows players to see characters they have and haven’t met, and offers a preview of the rewards for interacting with them, such as a boost to your MP or an unlockable photo mode. Spending time with them will pass a certain chunk of the day, meaning that folks will have to ration their time wisely.

The blend of these systems with Dungeons of Hinterberg’s otherwise cozy visuals and tone make the game feel oddly healing. Luisa is desperately in need of this reprieve from work and the obligations of her real life in the big city, and something about that resonates with me. I too want to run away to the woods, find magic, and get back in touch with my inner child after all. But even outside of that resonating chord, Dungeons of Hinterberg just strikes me as a break from the cacophony of boisterous blockbuster games and off-kilter indie oddities. It is, instead, this comforting and soft middle ground that I feel so rarely comes along, and I want to jump into it and just drown out the noise of everything else. In Hinterberg, at least, that feels entirely feasible.

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Article source https://kotaku.com/dungeons-of-hinterberg-cozy-rpg-xbox-1851497857

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