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Everything we learned about Dungeons of Hinterberg, Xbox showcase’s most eye-catching reveal

Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

Whenever a show as big as this year’s Xbox Games Showcase happens, I’m always left wanting more details on some of its most left-field standouts. This year, it was a little indie called Dungeons of Hinterberg. The colorful game made a memorable first impression thanks to its bright art style and Austrian Alps setting. I was dying to know more, and luckily I’d get a chance to dive deeper during a press session after the stream.

Dungeons of Hinterberg - Announce Trailer

Developed by Microbird Games, Dungeons of Hinterberg is a unique genre hybrid that draws from Alpine mythology. It’s an action RPG where a protagonist uses magic to fight through bright dungeons, but also a social simulator where players spend time wandering around a quaint village nestled in the mountains. After a 30-minute session, I have a very firm grasp of how those two disparate halves neatly fit together.

What we learned about Dungeons of Hinterberg

The general premise is that players have to find and complete different dungeons hidden throughout various Alpine biomes. Each takes about 30 minutes to complete and features unique handcrafted challenges. Exploration seems a little reminiscent of the ways shrines work in the past two The Legend of Zelda games. Players can freely explore the world to find and complete them in any order. Some are hiding in plain sight, while others are hidden behind a puzzle. One I saw, for instance, required players to spin a windmill to open a locked gate.

Each dungeon is entirely distinct, featuring combat encounters with Alpine creatures (including Krampus) and puzzle-solving. The battle system seems simple enough, with some basic slashing attacks and dodging. On top of that, though, there’s a layer of magic, as players get spells that they can mix and match. Each biome enables different area-specific magic too. In one zone, the character gains Earth magic that lets them shoot a rocky projectile or summon a tornado that can carry them over thorns.

The player summons a tornado in Dungeons of Hinterberg.
Curve Games

In one dungeon, I saw the game’s hero sailing around an open-ended area on a magic skateboard, grinding up rails to find enemy areas. Another was much more puzzle-focused, tasking them with using their Earth magic to toss bomb plants and ride their tornado over obstacles. It’s another area where those Zelda shrines come to mind, as dungeons test different skills and powers just as Tears of the Kingdom’s shrines find new ways for Link to use his tools.

Time spent outside of dungeons is much different, though. In between battles and puzzles, players are free to wander around an idyllic overworld, spend time at cafes, and chat with the inhabitants. Taking some cues from Persona’s social links, players can form bonds with different characters by spending time with them. When those bonds level up, players will unlock new powers. One level-up I saw granted the demo player a powerful meteor shower attack that could be slotted into their combat loadout. It’s a charming little system that lets players chill out and enjoy small-town life in the Alps for a bit.

The player summons meteors in Dungeons of Hinterberg.
Curve Games

While I was already sold on the game’s colorful art style, I’m much more intrigued knowing how its genre-hybrid gameplay works. I can see shades of other games in its design, but Dungeons of Hinterberg seems like the kind of entirely inventive project I’m always eager to try out. Even with its action-RPG component, it’s looking like a relaxing Alpine vacation in video game form.

Dungeons of Hinterberg is scheduled to launch in 2024 for Xbox Series X/S and PC.

Giovanni Colantonio
Giovanni is a writer and video producer focusing on happenings in the video game industry. He has contributed stories to…
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