super cool kids

Indie Game Alert: Super Cool Kids: Dungeon Dash

Survive as long as you can. Escape is just out of reach. Rescue all the cute kittens. These are your only instructions. Who is this character? How did he get stuck in a dungeon? Why did he go into a dungeon? None of these questions will be answered and they won’t matter when the lava and water are catching up to you. Super Cool Kids: Dungeon Dash is a simple, pixel-art game, but it will provide you with hours of fun frustration (i.e. me screaming at my computer screen and jamming on the directional buttons).

You control a little boy (or maybe a man) who is trapped in a dungeon filled with pools of lava and water. To reach the exit, you must dig through dirt and rock. There are two different types of rock you must break through: a soft rock, which doesn’t take much effort to break through, and a harder, gold-speckled rock, which takes an extra two seconds to break through. Avoid the pools of lava and water; digging too close will release a flood into the path you’ve created. You will have little time to react and dig in a different direction, but if you stop it’s game over—one life, no extra chances. Every few seconds, an earthquake rattles the dungeon, which breaks up some of the dirt and rock. This can be a good thing (one less block to break) or a bad thing (lava and water have more space to flood). The farther you advance, the faster the earthquakes occur. The intervals start off every 10 seconds, then 5 seconds, then 2 seconds.

Along with the kittens, there are also coins, mushrooms, and butterflies trapped in the dungeon with you. Collecting these items increases your score; however, it will take some planning and strategy to reach them then the exit. You can always leave them and save yourself, and you will. When the quakes happen every two seconds, I don’t care about kittens or coins; the floods close in on me and I panic. Your only saving grace is when the water and lava meet; it creates blue platforms you can walk on and the floods have no affect on them.

Because each room is randomly generated, sometimes the game will spawn you in an area that immediately floods and you die. The same thing can happen to kittens and the other items. This can be annoying—especially when you’re really far into the game and have become a kitten-rescuing pro—but it doesn’t happen too often. There are also some small glitches like being able to walk on lava and water for a split second (which is more of an advantage than a problem) and sometimes a block of lava or water will flow into the exit, but it wont keep you from escaping.

This game makes me feel like a kid again: playing Gauntlet 2 for hours, moving through infinite rooms, looking for the final door to let me out. I really like this game because it is so simple—straight to the point without any unnecessary gimmicks. It may be difficult or even impossible, but I would love to see a leaderboard for the game. It would really add to the fun and challenge players to really take a risk when collecting items. I can’t wait to see more from Super Cool Kids. Play the game on the Super Cool Kids website and see for yourself.