We were really excited to review De Mambo as we’ve seen it at a number of events but haven’t had the chance to actually play it. The game’s vivid art style and catchy music immediately draws players in, but is it enough to make them stay?
De Mambo revolves around the idea of pushing other players out of the screen with attacks. Your character has three attacks, all mapped to the same button. Tapping the attack button will perform a poke, holding the button down a little longer will cause your character to spin, and holding it for even longer will enable you to fire four projectiles across the screen.
The Dangerous Kitchen’s main focus for De Mambo is the multiplayer. The game supports up to four players and encourages them to engage in chaotic battle on a single screen until one person remains. However, the other players won’t be the only thing you’ll have to worry about as the stage also breaks apart making it more challenging to survive.
Unfortunately, we don’t understand the appeal of the multiplayer at all. It’s supposed to be, in the developer’s own words, “Minimal Smash Bros”, but at no point did we ever understand that reference. You’d expect the gameplay to become more calculated when playing with only two players, however, we found that these matches were drawn out and soon felt boring. It is possible that the game works best with four players as you need a certain level of chaos to make it more enjoyable, though we don’t consider this to be a good thing. Mindless and frantic fighting gets old really quickly.
De Mambo displays its true potential when it moves away from the Smash Bros. formula and tries to do its own thing. The Solo mode features three different worlds: Planet Pretty Easy, Planet Nicely Medium and Planet Kinda Hard. Each planet gives players a set number of lives as they make their way through a number of challenges. While there are some challenges that do feel like a waste of time, there are a few variations that use De Mambo’s mechanics in a clever and interesting way. In these types of levels, you are forced to make your way to the end by performing specific attacks. These kind of challenges encourage players to plan a route instead of rushing in without thinking. Our other favourite type of level was the Endless Runner style challenge, which is almost so good that you could make a game based off that idea alone. Not only is the single player decent, but the accompanying music is fantastic. As we mentioned before, the music and art is something that The Dangerous Kitchen got right with De Mambo, so it’s no surprise that these are our favourite parts of the game.
There’s also Survival mode which is, well, disappointing. We get it, it’s supposed to be like Space Invaders, except it’s not as fun. You can play with up to four players as you fight against enemies in order to stay alive. Regardless of whether you are playing on your own or with other people, this mode isn’t great. It feels like it is only in the game to say it’s in the game, like another feature to add to the box.
One of our biggest problems with the game overall is that it is so difficult to control. If the controls felt better, there is a chance the multiplayer component would be more enjoyable. The character you control feels floaty, to the point where it seems like you barely have any real control over what is happening. We are also unsure why jump is assigned to both a button and Up, this makes it extremely awkward to play when using an analogue stick. You can perform a dash by pressing either left or right twice, though chances are you’ll end up performing this dash accidentally. Most of the time you will find yourself trying to stop your character from sliding all over the place, only to have it dash off the platform you are standing on.
At £10 you may able to forgive some of the problems with De Mambo, but as it’s a game that is being marketed as a multiplayer game, the fact that part of the game is so weak is concerning. Would we spend £10 on this game purely for the single player? No. Maybe wait for a sale if you are still interested in the game as it probably won’t hold your attention for longer than a few days at best.