Continuing their trend of releasing adorably cute short-burst arcade style games, Sometimes You has released Dungeons & Bombs, a puzzle game that seems to run on the Explosive Jake engine. Although it might look like a Bomberman clone from screenshots, this is a trial and error puzzle game through and through.
Playing as a knight trying to save a bearded princess that looks like a creepy dude in drag, the goal is to reach the princess using a very limited number of moves from a top down tile based grid. Getting hit and dropping bombs to clear obstacles removes one point from the move counter so figuring out the most efficient way to the goal is always easier said than done. If you know how to beat a level, it can literally take just a few seconds to finish. However, completing stages requires a lot of trial and error though as there is usually only one very specific solution.
There is nothing wrong with this style of gameplay but it has been implemented with some tedium. Taking damage or anything that reduces the move counter yields no visual or audio cues. As there isn’t a tutorial, I didn’t understand why I was failing and why it seemed like I never had enough moves – it was because I was taking damage and didn’t realize it. Floor spikes, for example, reduce the move counter by two as taking a step counts as one and taking damage counts as one. Each time you fail, the princess dude in the lower corner literally ridicules you every time with a text quip. The game itself is pretty brutal with its difficulty but then it hits another mark when it makes fun of you for doing so. The bearded princess is also super creepy and can give a grown man nightmares. There is also no hint system which is a bummer as I got stuck on Level 8. This sucks because there is no option to skip it and move onto the next stage so I will never see Level 9 and beyond unless I watch a guide.
Just like Explosive Jake, completing each stage yields an Achievement so Achievement hunters might want to take note.
Dungeons & Bombs only costs a few bucks but found the trial and error gameplay to be a little more frustrating than satisfying. It might not be Sometimes You’s best work but it definitely contains their signature style of gameplay.
Also available on PS4, PS5, and Switch.