April 17, 2014 8:30 AM | Anthony Swinnich
When a game has a name like Dudebro™ -- My Shit Is Fucked Up So I Got to Shoot/Slice You II: It's Straight-Up Dawg Time, you realize pretty quickly that the developers have their tongue planted so firmly in their cheek that it's threatening to burst through the flesh like a baby alien. Still, this build shows that the development team takes the quality of their product seriously, even if the subject matter is a laugh-riot.
Dudebro II was born from a meltdown on the popular message board NeoGAF in 2009. A user defended his choice to play Imagine: Fashion Babyz by attacking the shooter genre with what would become the game's title. Laughs were had, photoshops were made, and a joke about making into an actual game snowballed into an actual attempt to make it a reality.
It was decided early on that the game would be entirely free and any money made would go to charity. Voice work for the titular Dudebro character was done pro bono by Jon St. John, the voice of Duke Nukem. Development started strong but things eventually slowed down. The development team was massive, but people started to drop off leaving behind a small but dedicated core. It was clear that the project was doomed unless something changed. It did, and the project was reborn. The Dudebro we have now is a different Dudebro when compared to the start, but that's not a bad thing.
The game began as top-down 3D shooter but is now a 2D action platformer. You're still in control of the tough-as-nails gravelly-voiced Dudebro, he's just more Mega Man than, well, what it was. I can't speak to the difficulty of the game as God-mode was enabled in the build I played, but I can say that the running feels like it's the right speed and the jumping has an admirably good feeling. The guns are satisfying to fire as well. Whether I was firing a triple blast of bees or powerful rounds from a shotgun, the resulting destruction was satisfying.
While the running and shooting feels good, one of the most intriguing elements the game has going for it is the ability to pick up boxes and other items in the vein of the Capcom NES classic Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers. This allows you to reach areas you might not otherwise be able to reach and adds some much needed variety to what would otherwise be just running and gunning. The writing is pretty funny as well, if you're into laughing at that tough guy macho gamer image in a self-aware kind of way.
Grimore Assembly Forge does not yet have a release date set aside for the game. It's being built in XNA, so it's coming to Windows, though a Monogame port is something they're looking into, which should open the door for more platforms. For now, you'll have to settle for bi-weekly updates at the Dudebro II website.