PAX East 2017: Hands-on with Dunk Lords from Story Fort

Are games getting you down because they’re too serious these days? Have you felt for awhile that maybe the fun has been missing? Well, if you agree, Story Fort have heard those cries and are working on releasing a two-on-two basketball beat ’em up called Dunk Lords.

Ya know, PAX East has a lot of things going for it. But in my opinion, one thing it sorely lacks is sports related video games. I can probably count on one hand the number times I’ve seen a sports game represented at PAX. For this alone, I applaud Story Fort for bringing Dunk Lords to the show floor at PAX East.

Now when speaking to Dunk Lords’ programmer Andy Hull (programmer for Spelunky) he was very open that his game was inspired by such franchises as NBA Jam and NBA Street. How could it not be, right? I mean at it’s heart this game is 2-on-2 basketball. Sure, the NBA players are not present, but maybe that’s what will set this apart from past franchises. There has to be a glut of people out there who’d be interested in lacing them up without all the formality of a traditional game.

From what I gathered at our brief meeting is that there are two game modes in Dunk Lords. There is the traditional arcade mode, which lets 1-4 players play pickup games. Currently, this mode is only couch co-op, but with some luck maybe this game will get the Rocket League treatment. The other mode is story based, which can also be played with a friend. You’ll be charged with guiding Slice and his friends, as they burn up some hardwood on their way to becoming Dunk Lords.

Currently, the plan is to have eight available characters in Arcade mode. As you progress through Story mode, you can unlock another eight additional characters. This, of course, provides incentive for players to play through the campaign. While some characters are humans, many others are not. If my memory serves me correct, other characters included animals, fruits, and robots.

So by now, you’ve realized that Dunk Lords will not be a basketball game with standard rules and regulations. Quite the opposite actually. From the “hazard-filled” courts to the players, the game is dripping with an over the top vibe. As you progress through a game of Dunk Lords, players will unleash “over-the-top special moves, devastating dunks, and game-changing equipment.” An interesting mechanic in the game revolves around the game changing equipment.

Let me humble brag for a moment, as I took down my opponent something like 56-24 and as each quarter ended, we noticed that my opponent was gaining more money than me. Andy told us that this was by design so the losing player would not only have an incentive to keep playing but also be provided with the necessary gear to mount a comeback. While in theory this sounds ideal, I was still way too much for my foe to handle. Ok, so maybe not such a humble brag.

Dunk Lords had a great spot on the floor, as it was close to an escalator leading to the food court. Many times after my interview, I would walk by and see crowds of players enjoying the over-the-top, in-your-face fun that is essential to 2-on-2 basketball games. Mark it down in your calendars, when Dunk Lords unleashes in early 2018, this will be a title to break out when friends are over the house. Dunk Lords is currently slated to be released on Steam, with the possibility of a console release as well.