PEGBRJE: Plunge and
Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!”
Dungeons and Detectives ♪
Plunge is a dungeon crawling adventure made by SpookyBunsGames, a collection of indie devs that were able to show this game off at PAX. Players are Billie, in a world containing a massive prison in which they are somehow the billionth (which sounds really weird to say out loud) one to be locked up. Unlike others who have attempted to escape, however, Billie decides that up isn’t working; it’s time to go into the prison even further.
In a style similar to previous dungeon crawlers in the bundle, Plunge is actually a turn based roguelike with every action players input acting as the ‘turn’ and enemies following shortly afterwards. Each level contains a key that players need to acquire so they can unlock the latch and continue onward, along with possible items that may be lingering. Enemies don’t have to be killed to move on from a level, but they do have the possibility of grabbing any items that may be lingering on the ground meaning violence might be necessary. So how exactly does one attack in this turn-based adventure?
Remember those ice puzzles from Pokemon? That’s right, we sliding.
There are no attacks in Plunge, only movement involving the graceful sliding across the entire map. Players input a direction, and won’t stop until they either hit an enemy (which is considered an attack), a wall, or the edge of the map. I never thought I’d be excited to see sliding puzzles return, but the combination of utilizing slides to attack and navigate is actually fantastic. Spatial awareness is crucial between sliding onto buttons to activate traps, narrowly avoiding attacks and spikes and deliver finishing blows without getting surrounded. Enemy attacks are generally quite easy to dodge thanks to them giving a turn before they do, indicated by a pink/purple targetter on the floor and an exclamation mark being present. This doesn’t make the game easy, however, as the combination of sliding movement, restricted terrain and traps can lead to bizarre situations where players can find themselves boxed in or caught in a loop.
Add in dozens of power ups, unlockable characters, bosses that royally kicked me out of existence numerous times and a cartoony punk artstyle and Plunge has been crafted with all of it’s glory. I had done at least 3 runs through before realizing it, and would gladly do so again; as long as I can figure out a better strategy to beating that giant cupheaded boss. I’m still stuck on that one. Regardless to those that love roguelikes with some flair and a different approach to combat, this is definitely a title to try out during your spare time.
Dominique Pamplemousse in “It’s All Over Once The Fat Lady Sings!” is the lengthy title of the musical experience by Squinky, the solo dev responsible for ‘weird’ titles. If this name sounds familiar, it would be thanks to the sequel appearing earlier in the bundle, so I’m 100% playing this out of order. For those unaware, players follow Dominique in their quest to solve the mysterious disappearance of popstar Casey Byngham in the hopes of not only solving the case, but also being able to pay rent.
Unlike the sequel, Dominique is attempting to solve the disappearance of an individual rather than the disappearance of a linear timeline, and the plot follows as such. Dominique interacts with different individuals to gain information while travelling between key locations to find clues about Casey. It’s more in line with traditional detective work, where players need to reference their evidence to figure out what questions to ask — unless they get a little lost to which they can just ‘brute force’ it by asking every question until the option becomes greyed out. While not as fun, gaining knowledge and information is never a bad thing, and coupled with the cheeky writing it makes for entertaining conversations.
Speaking of which, the fun self-awareness that I came to enjoy from the sequel is still on display, with dozens of little references to real world problems and sayings. Dom is still dealing with people not following their preferred pronouns, still struggling to make ends meet and still asking the tough questions like ‘why are bathroom signs so difficult’ and ‘why are teenagers the way they are’. The interactions get the musical treatment as well, as many of the initial information speeches or introductions get a sweet musical number to go along with them.
I’ve somewhat spoiled myself by playing in the wrong order, but I really do think that Dominique Pamplemousse is a good game on it’s own; it brings the music and dialogue that I came to enjoy sprinkled with some investigation. It’s hard to delve deeply into it thanks to being spoiled by what happens in the second title which I consider the ‘better’ of the two, but I gained a better appreciation for the sequel with the context of this title. \
Sorry if it sounds like a mild ramble, but this is what happens when you play games in the incorrect order; for your sake, if you enjoy musicals and narrative experiences I hope you play this one before starting the sequel.
It's time to take the Plunge! Enter the adventure of Billie, the billionth prisoner of a wacky medieval mega-prison…