I dig dungeon crawlers when they’re not copying off what the last one did. Seriously, I’ve played far too many in my time to see the same tropes being carried over with a new splash of paint on the side. So I do my best to look for ones that try something a little different or make the experience feel better than the rest. Kitsune Games just released MidBoss on PC, so I gave the game a spin to see what this crawler felt like.
MidBoss has some interesting twists on the genre as you play as a an imp (the weakest monster in the entire game) who has a small fireball-like friend called Mid. The two are in a rivalry of sorts with Zombie, who as you may guess, is a zombie. As well as a skeleton who acts more like an annoying jerk than anything else. After a bit of arguing, Mid convinces you to start possessing things in the dungeon, which is inevitably what your power is in the game. Every enemy you kill gives you new powers and abilities to master and use on other bosses throughout the dungeon so you become better.
The game is based in a lot of trial-and-error—there’s no right way to do things from the start, you just have to dive in and figure it out. You’ll have to learn through experience what enemies are weak to and how to best vanquish them. You’ll find potions throughout the dungeon, but sometimes you won’t be sure what they do until you drink them. Can you possess this monster? Give it a shot and see what happens! Possession will bail you out of a lot of bad situations as taking control of a monster will restore your health. If you’re in combat, you can gain a little back by doing a quick unposession/repossession.
MidBoss feels like a dungeon crawler, but it certain doesn’t play like one. There are a lot of weird and “zany” moments to it that remind you how funny the situation is. Think about it: you’re a monster possessing other monsters to defeat more monsters. You’re basically doing the would-be hero’s job for him without a sword and armor. Throughout the dungeons you’ll collect yarn balls, of all things, which can be used to exchange for merch and items. Whatever you end up possessing can equip armor and weapons just like a regular hero, but with the added caveat that you’re fighting as that creature and not yourself, so the bonuses are hit and miss.
Another element to keep the game alive are grave goods and death cards. The death cards look like Magic: The Gathering cards in a way, showing you where you died and other info to share online. But, the cards also allow you to start from that same place in a new game, so they act like a save system. The grave goods are the materials that you racked up in that life and come with the card, so all of the stuff you collected is still yours to be used right away. It adds a new element of strategy for when you do eventually die (and you will die a few times) and have a plan of action moving forward.
MidBoss has a lot of cool elements going for it, but is also plagued with issues in the menu system that sometimes handles poorly, and an art design that has a lot to be desired. Aesthetically it feels rushed in design, and you could chalk it up to making it look and feel like an older dungeon crawler. But considering the tech, graphics, and just simple fonts you can get in Photoshop these days—it all kinda feels lackluster. It’s a fine game with visual issues, so if you don’t mind the the coat of paint and retooled engine, this may be with your time.
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