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A character boards in Dungeons of Hinterberg.

Welcome to Hinterberg! Hit the slopes and hit some enemies as you explore this resort town in the mountains of Austria in Dungeons of Hinterberg. Meet charming friends and support small local businesses with some shopping. Enjoy food from the local eateries and get involved with restaurant drama. See what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps. Get lost in a dungeon. It’s a slayer’s vacation, so have some fun your way. 

Dungeons of Hinterberg may be the closest you can get to a tourism video in video game form. Though I doubt visiting the real city of Hinterberg involves fighting enemies as much as I did in the recent demo on Steam as part of Summer Game Fest, I’d like to imagine the snow hoverboard RPG gameplay isn’t that far off. This is an action RPG in the way of Zelda if Link were ever to vacation at an alpine ski resort. Luisa, a slayer, is on vacation and, being an extreme adventurist, is looking for the best dungeons to do some slaying between enjoying a cup of tea and making friends around town. 

Combat in Dungeons of Hinterberg with the player character swinging their weapon on an icy field full of enemies.
They’re not interrupting your vacation; this is playtime.

Dungeons of Hinterberg goes all in on the feel of a winter resort town when you’re out to explore. I wanted to hitch a ride on a helicopter to who knows where, but I needed to show off my skills because it requires a referral. I was barred from the lift because I had to prove that I had some experience running through dungeons before I could get to higher-level ones. But at least I could take my hoverboard on the beginner hills to show I wouldn’t fall off my board at the first sign of trouble. Magic is at work here, but it’s uncertain why or where it comes from. What I do know is skill spots give me the ability to use my magic hoverboard to grind the weird pink rails that are all over the park. I also could fire a magic beam that came in handy to slow down enemies and hit targets to help solve puzzles.  

Though the beginner area is the only part open so far, there was plenty to whet my appetite for more. In the first dungeon, I had to run around spherical areas connected by the magical grind rails, and riding the rails took me soaring to another part of the dungeon, Super Mario Galaxy style. The puzzles aren’t too complicated (so far), but getting to the next area forced me to put my newfound magic skills to use. Based on video previews of Dungeons of Hinterberg, it appears the dungeons do a lot of different things, drawing inspiration from other games; I’m looking forward to seeing what else the developers have cooked up. 

Two characters have a conversation in Dungeons of Hinterberg, with the protagonist choosing a response to "When you're on vacation--you the type who keeps her stuff in the suitcase, or do you unpack and put it in your room's drawers?"
It’s vacation, so do it your way! But you gotta make friends if you wanna make the most of it.

Combat is action-oriented, though unlike Zelda, it’s not as open. Entering certain areas triggers scripted battles where you get to slay. Being able to zip around on a hoverboard makes the fighting more lively, and special skills offer some variety to the hack ‘n’ slash style of combat. There’s also the promise that more special skills become available as you play, so that’s something to look forward to as well. 

Staying at a winter resort isn’t only about risking life and limb having fun on the slopes, it’s also about exploring the charming town and making new friends. I was surprised to see there’s a whole Persona-like system of working on your relationships with a variety of townspeople, which isn’t as simple as talking to them a few times to get what they have to offer. There’s drama going on with these folks, and you have to help them out with their personal dilemmas if you want the bonuses they offer as you level up your friendships, like the girl running the ice cream stand with overbearing customers and an overbearing boss. Hey, rewards don’t come for free. You gotta put in the labor, even if it’s of the emotional variety. 

The cel-shaded look of Dungeons of Hinterberg sets it apart from the pack, especially with the cozy feel of a snowboarding trip based in a quaint resort town. Maybe Luisa in her turquoise jacket doesn’t conjure the image of a typical RPG heroine, but this is a vacation, so do it in style. The sole dungeon is a wild, disorienting ride of color and speed. As this is only the beginner dungeon, I can’t imagine the places Dungeons of Hinterberg will take slayers in the future. 

A goat man speaks and lets you know about Hinterbucks in Dungeons of Hinterberg.
Is this just what people are like in Hinterberg?

I’ve never been to Austria, but I’m gonna assume this is exactly what it would feel like to visit. I’m not sure that this pseudo-tourism video will succeed in getting me to visit the country, but I’d happily return to Dungeons of Hinterberg when it’s released for a virtual vacation. It should happen soon, as the game releases July 18th. PC players may also check out the demo for themselves on Steam, and Dungeons of Hinterberg will also eventually be available on Xbox Series X and S, too. Happy slaying! 

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Abraham Kobylanski

Abraham Kobylanski

Abe's love for RPGs began when picked up Earthbound for the SNES in 1995, and it hasn't gone out since. He grew up with the classic 16-bit RPGs, like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasies, though he's gravitated more toward Western and Strategy RPGs lately. His passion for the genre was especially reinvigorated in the past few years with amazing games like FFVII:R, Persona 5 and Yakuza: LAD. He's always on the hunt for cool, smaller obscure games as well.

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