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Brews & Bastards Demo Impressions – Dungeon Crawler

Brews & Bastards is a co-op dungeon crawler in-development by Mune Studio in New Zealand. There will be a playable demo available in the February Steam Next Fest and I have gone hands-on this week with this highly entertaining and humourous game of dungeon crawling mixed with all sorts of beer brewing names and paraphernalia.

Deep below the Muneshine Tavern lies an impossibly large brewery, decrepit cellars, machine-filled distilleries, and ancient depths that have yet to be discovered. Since those demon bastards stole the Brew Stone the place has become twisted and corrupt, altering certain encounters, rooms and rewards each time you descend.

The game can only be played using a controller and you start by picking from three class-based champions, each with their own distinct play styles and abilities. There’s Rhine who has a rifle, Oak that has a flamethrower fueled by a beer keg strapped to her back, and the third character is the one I chose to play as, Mugg who is a plump fellow with a long beaker that shoots ranged sticky bombs.

You can play Brews & Bastards single player or up to 4-players local co-op or with Steam Remote Play. Even though there’s only three playable characters, you can have any combination of those in your 4-player team. The diversity of combat comes in the form of varying brews and artifacts that you can pickup and utilise along the way.

These powerful items have a wide range of effects, from simple throwable flaming cocktails and giant ballistic champaign corks to the devastating explosive copper mule or bizarre fruit punch fist. While you can just pick one up and throw it to see what the effect is, and some of the icons are self-explanatory, it would be good to have an artifact and brew key somewhere, just giving a one-name or one line description of what they do. Sometimes I held onto them waiting for a big fight, and I finished the room without using it, passing a heap of others along the way.

As you clear a room in Brews & Bastards, you will get a big message pop up saying, “Bastards Defeated”, and then you will have several rewards kegs at the end of the room. I absolutely love the sound of cracking a beer can as they open, revealing brews and artifacts to pick up. Be warned though, I learned the hard way that while all monsters might be dead and your reward kegs have dropped, traps are still active and can kill you if you don’t move past the checkpoint.

I had a literal blast playing Brews & Bastards, though I struggled hard on the final boss of the demo. You’re essentially playing a game of beer pong against a knight in not-so-shining armour. You need to pick up balls and shoot them across to try land in his cup, while he’s lobbing balls at yours. However, monsters will randomly spawn, so you’ll have to defend yourself. If you land one in his, half the floor will glow red and blow up after a timer, killing any monsters that are in its path too. If the boss lands a ball in one of your cups, stronger monsters will spawn that you’ll have to deal with.

The final boss has multiple phases. Once you hit all four of his cups, he’ll collapse forward where you need to try do as much damage as you can before he respawns. The next set of cups will rotate a bit quicker and spin faster, making them harder to hit. Having to also defend yourself against monsters on your side, and limited health meant for some frustrating attempts. Eventually I took him down and that was the end of the demo.

So far, Brews & Bastards is fantastic and a heap of fun, particularly if you like your beer and can resonate with some of the brews, artifacts and general humourous nods to drinking and brewing beer. Obviously not aimed at kids, and if you don’t drink beer, I think it’s still a fun game but some of the humour may get lost. I’m excited to watch this game develop and hope we can play more levels down the development path.

This demo preview utilised keys provided by Stride PR and Brews & Bastards is currently in development with a demo available as part of the February Steam Next Fest.


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