DIngeons of Hinterberg Hero Image

Dungeons of Hinterberg Captures True Vacation Vibes (With Added Monster Slaying)

The classic vacation dilemma – do we go out, experience this new place, and find activities to do; or do we just sit down and relax? When I started playing the first 5 hours of Dungeons of Hinterberg, I wasn’t expecting a video game to so perfectly capture a feeling I’ve had on every real-life trip I’ve taken. And yet, through a clever melding of action-puzzling and Persona-like social statistics, that’s exactly what I found myself thinking in this game’s early stages.

Dungeons of Hinterberg has a curious, unique set-up – it’s set in our world, but for that fact that, three years ago, mysterious dungeons popped up around the globe, packed with folklore-inspired monsters, and offering magical powers to those that travel there. We take on the role of Luisa, a disillusioned lawyer who’s travelled to Hinterberg – a picturesque Austrian resort town that’s made a tourist industry out of its 25 new dungeons – for a vacation.

Dungeons of Hinterberg Screenshot

While it could be simple story set-up, that vacation forms the entire structure of the game. Each day in Hinterberg is split up into Morning (usually accompanied by a story sequence), Noon (where you can decide to explore the game’s 4 biomes and tackle dungeons – or simply relax for stat boosts), Evening (where you can meet other characters in the town for various benefits), and Night (where you can either head to bed, or add more to your stat boosts for the day, with a penalty for staying up late).

It makes for a cycle that constantly has you assessing and reassessing what’s best for Luisa, not to mention your own curiosity. The overall structure here has the feel of a Persona game – you only get limited numbers of actions per day, and there are many characters to meet and social stats to level up, which come with their own benefits.

Dungeons of Hinterberg Screenshot

You may just want to look around for a while – Hinterberg and its surroundings are beautiful, rendered in a thin-lined comic book style and bold colors, a literal picture-postcard look – but who you choose to meet around the town comes with meaningful consequences. Entire mechanical systems are gated behind their friendship, and it’s a constant compulsion to work out what you want next. Do I want to hang out with abrasive journalist Travis, who unlocks a photo mode, or embittered blacksmith Hannah, who can help me improve my equipment in new ways?

But the other half of Dungeons of Hinterberg holds an entirely different experience. The overworld hubs hide secrets to discover and monsters to take down, while the titular dungeons held within them are tightly wound action-puzzle experiences in and of themselves, bringing to mind the likes of Zelda, Tomb Raider, even occasionally Mario levels.

Dungeons of Hinterberg Screenshot

I won’t go into too much detail here for fear of spoilers – discovering the dungeons’ tricks is a huge part of the game’s charm – but you’ll quickly realize that each new test can be extremely varied. Some are combat gauntlets, others filled with mechanical puzzles, and some bring entire perspective shifts, briefly turning the game into a side-scroller or an isometric adventure. This variety is helped along by the game’s magic system – each biome offers new spells, but they can only be used in that biome, meaning you’re effectively relearning how to use your abilities in each new place, and allowing Microbird to create fresh experiences in each location. That each spell can be used for exploration and combat only adds to the pleasure.

Combat is snappy and action-oriented, offering you a variety of moves, unlockable abilities, and a precious dodge roll, and you’ll quickly help Luisa turn from a tourist into a bona fide slayer. Couple that with RPG-inspired gear systems, and a web of mechanics created and expanded in an order that you help choose, and you have a truly compulsive cocktail.

Dungeons of Hinterberg Screenshot

But holding it altogether is that lazy vacation vibe – this never feels like a stressful game, like you’re being pushed from story beat to story beat. Instead, I’ve been choosing to spend some days exploring, and others relaxing, knowing that I’m always building my stats in some way, free to explore this strange destination at my leisure. It’s a truly unusual feeling for an action game to get across – and one I’m sure I’ll be thinking about well beyond my stay.

Dungeons of Hinterberg arrives for Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Windows PC, and Cloud on July 18. Play it day one with Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass.

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Dungeons Of Hinterberg

Curve Games

Welcome to Hinterberg, a new tourist hotspot in the idyllic Austrian Alps! You play as Luisa, a burnt-out law trainee taking a break from her fast-paced corporate life to conquer the Dungeons of Hinterberg. There are plenty of dungeons to find and adventures to be had in Hinterberg – will Luisa be sent packing on her first day, or remain to become a Master Slayer? Only one way to find out… Snowboard down a glacier, zipline through the forest, climb a mountain, or have a coffee by the lake… There’s no shortage of places to discover while you’re out looking for your next dungeon! Monsters lurk around every corner in Hinterberg, and your sword and magic skills are essential for keeping them at bay. Harness the wind, conjure a snowboard out of thin air, or freeze your enemies in a jelly block! Braving a dungeon requires more than just cutting-edge sports gear and a good sword arm: Hinterberg’s dungeons are full of puzzles that will surprise and challenge you. Use your head, your magic skills, and every trick in the book to solve them! Spend your nights forging friendships with the locals and other adventurers! Some of them will help you get stronger or teach you new tricks, others are just here for excitement and selfies… But good relationships don't just make your stay more memorable – they're the key to becoming a better slayer!